How to organsie documents in WordPress with search and filtering capabilities.

Why do you need a document library on your website?

Having a document library in WordPress can offer several benefits,. A document library allows you to organize and share information in a structured manner. Users can easily access and download documents, such as PDFs, manuals, guides, videos or any other relevant files. If you have multiple documents you need to display on your website then a document library is essential for categorising and managing those documents both front-end and back-end.

Why Document Library Pro from Barn2?

Barn2’s Documument library pro is a valuable plugin for such a task. The primary benefit for me as a developer is that the plugn allows really easy back end upload of various files or links. What this means is that once set up, the client can manage all the content so you don’t have to get involved in fiddly uploads of documents. If the documents are categorised and tagged well, you can pull out information into multiple tables and also display extensive lists that allow the user to search and filter.

Examples

The 61508 Organisation

This is a website dedicated to the functional safety standard 61508 and as you can imaging comes with a plethora of documents relating to this standard. The client needed a way to display all these documents in a variety of categories and sub categories, and search within them for keywords.

What we love :

  • to display documents in folders for neat navigation and ease of use
  • to search within those categories for specific terms with the seach function
  • to allow a user to select multiple documents to download as a zip file rather than indivudla downloads
  • preview documents before downloading
  • Easily see which category the documents fell into

In addition to the main downloads area, the careful categorisation allowed us to present specific documents on specific pages such as the CASS area. What it also means is that as the client adds more documentation to a category such as CASS those documents will dynamically appear on the correct pages without intevention from the development team.

Bollington United Football Club

Bollington United football club needed an area on the website to display club documents. However they required that documents had different access levels. For example, some documents were public, some were available to team managers, other to the committee and team managers and some only to admin and no one else. What we did ws implement document library pro with password protected categories. We set up document categories, public, team manager, committee and admin. Each category was then protected by user role. So each user was given a corresponding user role. Team Managers could access documents in the Team Manager category. Categories also had multiple access so whilst team managers could only access their specific documents, admins could see everything.

What we love :

  • To use of password protected categories to limit access to documents based on a user role

Making Spaces

Making Spaces is a research project based at UCL. Working with makerspaces in five countries, the project identifies and shares equitable practice to support diverse young people’s engagement with STEM. What they needed was to share academic research easily on the website in 4 different languages. With this in mind we used DOcument Library Pro and the PODS admin plugin to create a custom taxonomy of language for each document. Because Document Library Pro integrates with custom taxonomies easily this meant we could pull out documents based on language and also allow users to filter by language as well as category. So a user could now search for a specific type of report in a specific language. The final part of this puzzle was that the MakingSpaces project funding had come to an end so the research was complete. The team needed to have a way to get the research online and easily add documents to the site without any additional funding requirements. The document library pro allows the UCL team to quickly add documents to the site with minimal effort and allow them to be automatically dislayed on the correct page.

What we love :

  • Ability to use custom taxonomies with the document library

Yestem

This again was an academic initiative from UCL. YESTEM offer resources to support informal STEM learning professionals to reflect on and develop equitable practice. They had a myriad of resources from the research project which they wanted to make available to the public and educators going forward. These resources were divided into multiple categories which needed displaying in a eye cathcing manner, so we opted for the grid layout allowing featured images for all the documents.

What we love :

  • Grid layout
  • Featured images specific per document

NHS North West Operational Delivery Network

The North West Operational Delivery Network (NW PCC SiC LTV ODN) aims to provide impartial clinical advice and expertise to all providers and commissioners across the North West of England. It is split into 3 areas, Paediatric Critical Care, Surgery in Children, Long Term Ventilation. The documentation which is providing this support and expertise is categorised by area and also type. So a document might be meeting miuntes for Long Term Ventilation, or a guideline for Critical Care or something that spans all 3 areas.

What we love :

  • The ability to user links to external documents or website
  • extensive search and filtering of docuemnts in a table layout
  • The ability to pull out category specific and tag specific documents into tables for ease of use

Conclusion

There are other docuement library plugins on the market but what you need to look at when you have multiple documents is how easy it is for a user to search for these documents and filter. I can’t find another plugin which deals with this aspect of functionality as well as document library pro. Some of my clients have in excess of 100 documents on the site and a simple list just isn’t user friendly. Also the back end is so simple to use even clients can’t really get it wrong. This is key if you want the client, or perhaps more importantly the client requires, the ability to upload and manage documents themselves.

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