23 Things for Archivists

Thing 15: Widgets

By Ben Bromley

Widgets and badges are little pieces of HTML* code that you can embed into your website or blog to give your visitors access to content that you have on another site. This means that you can embed widgets from Twitter, Flickr, or Facebook into your institutional site or blog. It can be a good way to unify all of your institutional endeavors onto one page so that your users (and you) can keep track of all of them.

You can find a variety of Twitter widgets on their widgets page. The most likely one that you would want to embed on your site is the “Profile Widget,” which shows your account’s most recent updates. After you click on the “Profile Widget” button, you can customize the look and feel of the widget, such as its size and color. After testing the setting to make sure it looks how you want it to look, you can then click on “Finish and Grab Code.” You can then copy and paste the HTML into your blog or, if you have a Blogger site, you can click one button and it will add the widget to your site automatically.

For Flickr, you can create [must be logged in] either an HTML badge or a Flash badge. An HTML badge is static and only shows a few photographs at a time, but is universally supported across all browsers; a Flash badge can by dynamic and changing, but is only supported by browsers that have installed the Flash plugin. To be fair, the vast majority of web users across the world have the Flash plugin installed. After choosing the type of badge, you can choose the content that the badge will display. You can display all your content, content with particular tags, or content from a particular set. You can then chose the color and layout of your badge. Then all that’s left is to copy the code and paste it into your website.

The Facebook Widgets page is a clearinghouse for all sorts of different widgets. You can have widgets for your profile, your fan page, your photographs, and to share things on Facebook. Their interface for customizing is very simple; some options don’t have anything to customize. Then simple copy and paste the code provided into your website.

* WordPress.com will not let you have a widget that uses Javascript, but Blogger will.

Task

  1. Pick and choose a couple widgets to put onto your website. Talk about why you picked the one(s) you did.

Blog Prompts

  • Which of these widgets are most useful for your repository and why?
  • If you don’t have HTML editing powers for your website, would you ask your IT staff to put these up for you?

Resources

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  1. […] we’re talking! Widgets, as discussed in Thing 15, are little snippets of code that can be added to blogs or websites to provide various functions, […]

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