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OCLC’s CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software is the result of years of development and collaboration with staff from libraries and other cultural heritage organizations. A flexible, multifunction software package, CONTENTdm provides tools for all aspects of digital collection management.

Why do more than 2,000 organizations use CONTENTdm?

A complete solution for digital collections

CONTENTdm meets all your digital collection needs. It is the only solution of its kind to offer all you need to share your collections on the Web. With a full range of integrated tools, —CONTENTdm is one of the most flexible digital collection management systems available.

CONTENTdm also can serve as your institutional repository. PDF documents, theses, dissertations and reports all can be easily stored and managed in CONTENTdm. Scholars, archivists, researchers and end users can readily discover, cite and use the intellectual capital of your organization.

Easy to use

Easy to use, CONTENTdm lets you focus on planning and building collections. Although the software can be installed locally, CONTENTdm Hosting Services makes it even easier by offering operational support and reliability at an affordable price. Hosting Services eliminates the need for hardware and system administration, including system upgrades, security and backups.

Optimized for customization, CONTENTdm also makes it easy to design your own website and make it look the way you want, —whether or not you have programming skills. With the Website Configuration Tool, you can quickly create a branded look and feel for your collection website.

Flexible and fully customizable

CONTENTdm gives you full control over all digital resources, their descriptions, access and display. You can fully customize metadata fields and create predefined queries. You also can customize all Web interfaces to present your digital collections the way you’d like.

Additionally, you can store any type of file—, from multiple-page documents, PDF files, EAD Finding Aids and large maps to audio and video files with their transcripts.

To support multiple workflows and collection building with groups, CONTENTdm includes tools such as remote Project Clients, Web-based import through a simple Web form and digital import through the OCLC Connexion client.

The flexibility of CONTENTdm has fueled creative implementations among users. Many have formed partnerships so that the independent online collections of multiple organizations can be simultaneously searched and viewed through one seamless CONTENTdm web interface.


CONTENTdm grows with your projects. It provides a complete solution that seamlessly grows with projects, eliminating the need to purchase and support multiple software packages for different digital collections. You can upgrade and increase capacity without new software installations. Institutions with small, unique collections to statewide groups with hundreds of collections have selected CONTENTdm for their projects.

Open, extensible and interoperable

CONTENTdm accommodates institutions that want to make more advanced customizations. Advanced customizations can be made using the CONTENTdm API (application programming interface) and custom scripts to alter and extend website functionality, such as adding Google Analytics or shopping carts.

Additionally, records in existing databases can be easily imported into CONTENTdm, while exporting metadata is simple using the XML export function. Import and export capabilities are compatible with legacy, local, regional and national systems. CONTENTdm also fully supports the OAI-PMH protocol for harvesting metadata from your digital collections into other systems such as your integrated library system.

CONTENTdm runs on multiple platforms and the Windows desktop client can be installed on standard Windows versions. For more details, see the complete system requirements.


OCLC’'s adherence to commonly accepted standards allows CONTENTdm to be open and extensible, as well as provide functionality that meets a wide range of needs. CONTENTdm supports numerous industry standards including Unicode, Z39.50, Qualified Dublin Core, VRA, XML, JPEG2000, OAI-PMH and METS/ALTO.

  • Unicode—CONTENTdm fully supports Unicode, an industry standard that allows computers to represent and manipulate text in most of the world's non-Western languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Greek and Hebrew, among others.
  • Z39.50—CONTENTdm is Z39.50 compatible through a free open source software application called ZContent developed by the University of Utah Marriott Library. ZContent provides access to digital collections on CONTENTdm servers from library portals and local catalogs and can be downloaded for free from the CONTENTdm User Support Center.
  • Dublin Core and VRA Core—Use of the Dublin Core and VRA (the Visual Resource Association) Core within CONTENTdm allows for a common language when describing media and searching across collections. Collection Administrators also can apply their own field descriptions and map back to the Dublin Core standard to provide flexible searching.
  • OAI-PMH—CONTENTdm Servers support OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting) by functioning as OAI repositories for those who wish to make their metadata available for harvesting.
  • XML—XML is used for all internal metadata and structure description. CONTENTdm also offers custom XML export of metadata that supports user-defined fields and formats for greater compatibility with local catalog systems and other applications.
  • METS/ALTO—The import of XML data in the METS/ALTO format is supported for NDNP newspapers, CCS newspapers, and CCS monographs and ebooks.

Discovery through WorldCat

The WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway makes your digital collections more visible and discoverable by providing you with a self-service tool to upload your CONTENTdm collection metadata to WorldCat, —the premier database of library content.

The WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway facilitates synchronization of metadata with WorldCat from all OAI-compliant repositories, including CONTENTdm. End users are able to search, discover and retrieve your digital items through, WorldCat Local and search engines —like Google and Yahoo! Search, —and then view them in the CONTENTdm collection. With WorldCat, your digital collections will have maximum visibility on the Web.

Unequaled range of options

CONTENTdm offers flexible workflow options and a variety of productivity tools. To support multiple workflows and collection building, digital items can be added from anywhere using the CONTENTdm Project Client, through the OCLC Connexion client or through a Web browser using a simple Web form.

Choose from license levels that match your needs and collection size. Choose to install the software locally on a Windows or Linux server or select the cost-effective CONTENTdm Hosting Services. If you need to generate full-text transcripts, an OCR (optical character recognition) extension supporting 184 languages is available.

Additionally, there are a variety of services to help you get started, such as data migration, software installation and collection building services, as well as custom training.

World-class support and documentation

OCLC offers world-class support services via phone and e-mail. Additionally, comprehensive documentation is available online —through the CONTENTdm User Support Center. The User Support Center includes help files, tutorials, a knowledgebase and other tools.

You also can attend Web training, workshops and regular user meetings, which are held at ALA conferences and regionally.

Vibrant, global user community

When you choose CONTENTdm, you become part of an active user community of over 2,000 organizations worldwide. Users freely share best practices and locally-developed extensions through the CONTENTdm Forums and User Support Center, regional user groups and other collaborations.

Many advanced users often help new users get started by answering questions online, providing examples or offering one-on-one assistance.


Offering item- and collection-level security, CONTENTdm can ensure your resources are available only to specified users or IP addresses. Within a single collection, you can decide to make the metadata accessible to all, while requiring a password to view the actual file, or restrict access to both the items and metadata. And CONTENTdm’'s Image Rights tools provide flexible options for identifying ownership of items in digital collections.

Contact us with your questions, or if you haven’t tried CONTENTdm for yourself, request a free software evaluation or request a Web information session for your organization.

“We selected CONTENTdm because it allowed us a lot of flexibility and agility with our digital collections.”

Michele Reilly, Digital Projects Program Director
The University of Houston Libraries' Digital Library

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