Lucian WordPress Plugins

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Plugins are used to extend the core functionality of WordPress in a myriad of different directions. Currently over 6,800 plugins are registered on the main WordPress site. We've pre-selected a handful of the most widely used and useful plugins in the WordPress community below. Please feel free to take a look and try them out on your site. If you see an interesting feature on a blog that you'd like to reproduce on your own site please let us know. We may already have installed a plugin for it.

To use the plugins below you will need to be the administrator for your site. After you have logged in, go to the "Plugins" tab in your Dashboard. This will show you a list of all currently available Active and Inactive plugins. To activate a new plugin, click on the "Activate" link next to its name.

Most plugins come with their own settings/option page. This will usually appear in the "Settings" tab in your Dashboard after the plugin is activated or in a separate section at the bottom of all your Dashboard tabs.

Site-wide Plugins

The plugins listed below have already been pre-activated across all blogs. My Page Order in particular is useful for manually setting the order in which pages appear on horizontal menus and in the sidebar. You can access it in the "Pages" tab on your Dashboard. 

  • Akismet - Automatically blocks 99% of all comment and trackback spam.
  • Admin Bar - Adds an admin bar to the top of your site for logged in users (i.e. you) for quick access to the contents of your Dashboard. If your browser window is small/narrow you won't be able to see all of the menu items at the same time - some will break onto a new line. Just widen your browser window as needed to correct this or turn off seldom used menus in the Admin Bar settings.
  • My Page Order - Gives you manual control over the order of appearance of your pages and sub-pages in menus and sidebar widgets.
  • My Link Order - Gives you manual control over the order of appearance of your links and link categories.
  • Video QuickTags - Use this to easily embed video already available on the web (e.g. from Vimeo or YouTube ) into a post or a page.
  • Broken Link Checker - Automatically checks your posts (and pages), looking for broken links, and let you know in the Dashboard if any are found.

Image, Map and Gallery Plugins

The plugins below offer different ways to integrate your own and images and maps from the web in your blog. If all you need is a very simple image gallery you can use the Gallery plugin bundled with WordPress. To use it, first upload a series of images then type the [gallery] shortcode into the body of the same post or page. 

  • Fidgetr - Displays the latest photos from your Flickr photostream in a Sidebar widget in an attractive manner. It features support for various display options along with very simple setup and broad compatibility.
  • Galleria WP (Humanities modded) - Loads images attached to your page or post into an attractive Media Gallery.
  • Geo Mashup - Lets you include Google maps (including custom My Maps and imported KML files) in posts and pages, and map posts and pages onto global maps.
  • NextGEN Gallery - A sophisticated and highly customizable image gallery plugin.

Calendaring and Events Plugins

Blogs whose sponsoring departments or faculty are based in the Humanities Division can integrate the Trumba calendar of their affiliated department(s) into their website using the bundled RSS sidebar widget (please contact us for details). Here are few examples of Humanities Trumba calendars: All Humanities Division EventsDepartment of Music, Open Practice Committee and Philosophy Department. If you are outside of the Humanities Division you can still use the Calendar plugin below to create an interactive view of current and upcoming events in your Sidebar. Note however that these events can't be shared (i.e. also displayed on) the Humanities or the university calendar.

  • Calendar - A simple but effective plugin that lets you create and manage events and display them in a custom widget on your sidebar.

Appearance, Navigation and Content Plugins

The Footnotes plugin and Popular Posts/PostViews plugins are likely to be of interest to owners of graduate student workshop blogs. The various links and page plugins will become more useful once your site grows to include a lot of content. The Mobile Pack plugin is a little different from the others in that it triggers a special, no frills theme suited to mobile devices whenever your site is viewed from a cellphone or smartphone. 

  • Collapsing Links - A collapsable set of links in the sidebar for your links (blogroll) collection.
  • Collapsing Pages - A collapsable set of links in the sidebar for your pages (useful if you employ sub-pages).
  • FD Footnotes - An easy, and attractive way to add footnotes to your posts and pages.
  • Flexi Pages - A highly configurable sidebar widget for chaging the appearance of your pages and sub-pages. Its settings are in the Links tab.
  • List Authors - Lists all the registered authors of your blog in a sidebar widget.
  • My Page Order - Gives you manual control over the order of appearance of your pages and sub-pages in menus and sidebar widgets. This plugin has already been activated for all blogs. Its settings are in the Page tab.
  • My Link Order - Gives you manual control over the order of appearance of your links and link categories. Enabled by default.
  • WordPress Mobile Pack - Automatically displays a custom version of your blog designed for mobile device when viewed from a cellphone.
  • WP-PostViews - Displays how many times a post/page had been viewed at the bottom of a post/page (rather than in a sidebar)
  • WordPress.com Popular Posts - Displays how many times a post/page has been in a sidebar (rather than at the bottom of a post or page).
  • WP-Table Reloaded - Allows you to create, edit and manage tables and tabular data and include these in your posts, pages or sidebar.
  • EG Attachments - lists attached files at the bottom of a post
  • My Category Order - sets the order in which categories appear in a siderbar widget

Video and Audio Plugins

Uploading video and audio to a blog is in-and-of-itself not difficult but can become very complicated once you factor in the wide range of available media formats, software for playing and viewing your content as well as browser and operating system incompatibilities.. then add to this that a video recording of an hour long lecture is likely going to produce a file that is much too large to upload to your site. For these reasons we ask that you please contact us if you'd like to display any kind of timebased- or multi-media on your blog. We'll show you the best way to proceed. For video and audio hosted at the UofC the best way to proceed will likely be by using Podcast Producer.

If you are interested in recording a screencast of a presentation please take a look at our Podcast Producer service.  

Search Engine, Webstats, RSS and SEO Plugins

Once you've got your site setup and filled with a few posts and pages you'll want to increase its ranking in web search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. The first three plugins listed here (in particular the easy to use All in One SEO Pack and Google XML Sitemap) can help with that. Google Analyticator is used to insert a special, invisible code into each page on your blog to enable Google Analytics web statistics and tracking.

Web Form Plugins

Web forms provide visitors with a simple and familiar way to get in touch with you via email. Beyond this, these plugins can also be used to capture more extensive kinds of information, for example an online conference registration form or a user survey.

  • Contact Form 7 - Allows you to easily, and flexibly design web based forms.
  • cForms - A powerful and feature rich web forms plugin for advanced tasks such as multi-part forms and content validation.

Social Networking and Communication Plugins

The group of plugins can be used to make it easier for you and/or your visitors to share content on your blog with various social networking sites or via  email updates. The OpenBook plugin is a little different in that it lets you easily link a book cover back to an online vendor or library catalog.

  • Add to Any: Share/Bookmark/Email Button - Helps your visitors share, save and subscribe to your content via services such as LinkedIn or FaceBook.
  • OpenBook - Place a book cover and other book data, as well as links to library catalogs and vendors on a WordPress website.
  • Subscribe2 - Allows you to send out email notifications about new content on your site.
  • Twitter Tools - Integrates your WordPress blog and your Twitter account.
  • WordBook - Allows you to cross-post to your Facebook account directly from your WordPress blog.
  • FT-FacePress - post blog post titles to Facebook status
  • FollowMe - adds a Twitter "follow me" page to the side of your blog

Administrative Plugins

The Broken Link Checker plugin is particularly useful for blogs with links to many external sites. Humanities Computing already backs-up all blogs several times a day so you won't need to use the WordPress Database backup plugin unless you want to export the content of your site for use elsewhere (e.g. for a WordPress installation managed by someone other than the Humanities Division).

  • WordPress Database Backup - Creates on-demand backups of your WordPress content (note: not plugins and widgets).
  • Broken Link Checker - Automatically checks your posts (and pages), looking for broken links, and let you know in the Dashboard if any are found. Enabled by default.
  • Maintenance Mode - let your readers know that you've temporarily shut down access to your site

Miscellaneous and Special Purpose Plugins

These plugins are only installed on the main Humanities blog site (lucian.uchicago.edu/blogs/) in support of a small number of highly customized sites. You're unlikely to need these on your own website - for this reason we've not described them further here.

  • Category Icons
  • Latest Posts by Category Archive
  • Thumbnail for Excerpts
  • WP Post Columns
  • WP-PageNavi
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