Support » Plugin: WebLibrarian » Downloadable Files

  • I would like to use the library to manage a collection of downloadable articles (and perhaps at a later point, combine this with tangible books that can be checked out). So for now, I do not wish to impose a checkout time limit for the Downloadable Articles (PDFs), when someone accesses the file. Is this possible? Currently, our library uses the OWL Intranet Engine to accomplish this, but this is not a system that is integrated into WordPress.

    Our Current Library

    The Engine

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Plugin Author Robert Heller


    So, esentially, you are ‘giving away’ the PDFs — that is, people can download them and simply keep them. I am not sure what sorts of ‘management’ of this you are looking for. I guess having a searchable database makes sense. Is there some sort of access control being imposed — that is can anyone download the files or is this restricted to only library patrons?

    There is a WP plugin, named “Download Manager” which can be used to manage downloadable files, including with access restrictions.

    The Web Librarian is specificly intended for physical items (eg books, DVDs, etc.) that can be loaned out.

    Hi Robert

    Yes, I am “giving away” pdfs. I already use the Download Manager plugin in a different context, but it would not be ideal for the “Library” use I am looking for. Although the Library is for PDFs, it needs to have the layout of a Library with the search functionality, which yours does. The only restriction I am facing with your plugin is it is forcing me to define the duration of a loan, meaning when someone checks out a collection, it would no longer be available to others until it is checked back it. This issue could be addressed by making checkout of collections optional, I would think. I am not a coder, and do not know how challenging that would be from the programming end, but from the deployment perspective, it seems that this would immediately expand the applications of your plugin. What I have described is what the Owl Intranet Engine already does (giving options to define collections as being able to be checked out or not). The only thing is, it is a standalone application and not a WordPress plugin.

    Plugin Author Robert Heller


    I think you have some confusion going on here. There are two *separate* concepts here. ‘library’ is something of an ambibious word. *Normally* (and I believe originally) there where two kinds of libraries: *lending* libraries and non-lending libraries. Both dealth with physical assets (books, scrolls, etc.). These days most libraries are lending libraries, which might also have some items that are not lendable, items that can only be used in the library, usually rare books or things like reference materials (like encylopedias).

    More modernly, people have started using the word library in a *different* sense relating to digital assets, as is a ‘library of downloadable software or documents’. This is really something different, since the assets in question can be infinitately replicated (copied), and thus the idea of lending makes no sense.

    The Web Librarian is really only meant for physical assets that can be loaned out. The download manager is not really meant as a searchable database. It sounds like what is needed is a completely different sort of plugin, something that is something of a hybrid of the two. I don’t believe such a plugin exists.


    You are correct. This plugin does not exist, hence this discussion. My point though is it seems with a few changes in the coding of your plugin, this gaping hole would be filled. So if you offered the option for a collection to be added to the library and be used as a Reference collection in a real library would, this would essentially meet my needs. Whether or not the material can be downloaded becomes a side issue. I can add a download link somewhere in the description of the collection (using download manager for example) to allow for downloads.

    Most academic libraries now offer the ability to download PDF copies of articles (from scientific journals for instance), so a patron does not have to physically walk into the library to physically collect and copy an article from the journal. So I believe there is precedence for the application I am seeking. Only issue is no plugin addresses this need for WordPress, and you are almost there with your plugin.

    Plugin Author Robert Heller


    OK, first of all a “Reference collection” is not quite the correct thing. Normally a “Reference collection” would be *physical* items that must not leave the library: things like encylopedia volumes or historical documents. At least that is the traditional meaning associated with a “Reference collection”. What you are talking about is something new. I am not sure how it would fit with Web Librarian and just what sort of accounting (if any) would be useful. It will require some thought.

    I am sure I am butchering official Librarian terminology and language, but I think you get what I am aiming for, and I appreciate you taking the time to at least discuss it and think about it. Happy 4th of July by the way.

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
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