LSBU AtoM / WordPress Hybrid Website with Calm Migration

Published: 17/09/2021

DRYAD: AtoM / WordPress Hybrid Website with Calm Migration

The website Max created for London South Bank University, represents a successful coming together of two technologies. The first of these is WordPress, a tried and tested open source content management system, used in close to half a billion websites worldwide. Famous names who use WordPress include the New York Times, Microsoft, Sony and many others. WordPress is hugely popular amongst small to medium sized enterprises as well as large organisations with global reach and is the ideal platform for creating archival websites. WordPress's flexibility and ease-of-use mean that the basic tasks associated with maintaining a website such as adding and deleting pages, editing content like text and images, adding new menu items and keeping the site up-to-date and secure can be taken on by individuals with little or no coding experience with minimal training.

The second technology used is AtoM - an ISADG standards-compliant, open source Archive Management System created by Artefactual Systems. AtoM is user friendly and easily navigable and its General Public License means that any data stored within the system will never be 'locked in' as can be the case with proprietary commercial Archive Management Systems. Max have a wealth of experience developing bespoke installations of AtoM for a wide range of customers with differing requirements and this was applied when bringing together these two technologies.

LSBU wanted to make their archive more accessible, not only to researchers and students but also to the general public. Whilst AtoM in and of itself is highly flexible system and allows for the development of a sophisticated and user friendly user interface, it was felt that embedding AtoM within a WordPress installation would open up the potential of the site to include news pages, blogs and other features not normally associated with an Archive Management System.

Max started by creating a branded WordPress installation for LSBU. The installation included a news section with a landing page including a paginated list of post excerpts with links to individual articles. At the same time, a similarly structured section celebrating the Centenary of Women in Engineering in the LSBU was created, allowing the head Archivist, Ruth MacLeod, to add new posts on an ongoing basis. Additional pages were created to provide context to the archive, including a detailed explanation of how to use AtoM to perform archival searches. Finally, a secure contact form was created to allow archive specific enquiries to be made.

The AtoM installation was carried out by Max's experienced team and involved migrating LSBU's existing 18 collections from a Calm database into AtoM in EAD/XML format. Max also exported LSBU's collection of authority records.

The final piece in the jigsaw was to correctly embed the AtoM installation within the framework provided by WordPress. This involved allowing programming the two systems to send and receive information to and from each other to ensure that the hybrid system worked correctly. This was carried out in good time by Max's technical team and after a period of rigorous testing along with training for LSBU staff, the site was put live.

Please click on the screenshots to see larger images. Alternatively, to get more 'hands on' with the system, please visit the site at:

To discuss DRYAD or any of Max's services please use the buttons below or call us on 020 8309 5445 or to contact us via our contact page.