Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked support questions.


If you're seeing something undesirable like "Islandora Repository" in your breadcrumbs, instead of your repository's name, check the various menus you have enabled -- even the ones you aren't using. The breadcrumb titles come from the menu links that are configured.

Go to Structure -> Menus and check on the links within the various menus. "Navigation" is a likely culprit here. Find any link that points at /islandora, and edit the link title.


You can use Solr fields to determine how your collections' objects are sorted.

  1. Make sure that your Collection Solution Pack is configured to use Solr for display generation (admin/islandora/solution_pack_config/basic_collection)
  2. Under “Sort field for collection query”, enter your chosen field followed by “asc” or “desc”. For dates, use the _dt version of the field. For other field types, use _ss.
    • Use "mods_titleInfo_title_ss asc” to sort by title A-Z.
    • Use “mods_originInfo_dateIssued_dt desc” to sort by date, newest to oldest.
  3. If you want to be able to configure different sort strings for individual collections, check “Allow individual sort strings per collection”
    1. Manage the collection that you want to sort differently
    2. On the Collection tab, choose Set Solr Sort String
    3. Enter a sortable string (ends with _ss) followed by "asc" or "desc" to use for sorting this collection.
  4. If you want to use the Islandora Sort block to allow multiple sort fields, enable it at Structure -> Blocks. Choose the sort fields under "Sort Settings" in the Solr configuration screen (admin/islandora/search/islandora_solr/settings).


If you're making changes to you Citation or Thesis objects' metadata display profiles (at Islandora -> Solr Index -> Metadata display), check our Scholar configuration.

Go to Islandora -> Solution Pack Configuration -> Scholar. Scroll down to find the option "Use Standard Metadata Display". Make sure it is checked.

Scholar defaults to its own metadata display, COinS. This display is not configurable, and so is probably not the best choice for objects in Arca. 


When viewing an object, one or more of the metadata display fields shows several values in it, from several different elements that were added separately to the ingest form. How can I display one specific value?

Your metadata display profile (or Solr search result field, or wherever you're using a Solr field) is probalby using the Dublin Core Solr field (dc.description, dc.identifier, etc.) rather than the more granular MODS Solr field. Dublin Core is not as precise as MODS, and many DC elements combine different MODS elements into one.

For example, dc.description will combine MODS abstract, and all MODS note elements. If you want to display just one of these, choose the MODS field that contains the specific piece of metadata you require.



Your ingest form is probably fine. Solr generates many fields based on the metadata you ingest via the form, and your object's content model metadata display profile is only configured to display a certain selection of those. You can configure the fields used in your Solr Metadata Display at in admin/islandora/search/islandora_solr/metadata. 

For detailed assistance with this, including ways to find out which fields you should be using, review the Metadata Display Arca Hour.




While some Islandora content models provide a download link on the object view page, others do not. This requires one or more extra steps.

First, enable the Islandora Downloadable Datastreams module, and configure it under Islandora -> Islandora Utility Modules -> Islandora Downloadable Datastreams. You will need to select the types of objects for which to generate a download link.

Then, enable the Download block and place it in the appropriate page area (Structure -> Blocks).

If your object still does not have a download link, check to make sure that the appropriate datastream is actually present (Manage -> Datastreams).

For Book and Newspaper Issue objects, you will need to generate a PDF datastream first. Manage the object. Find the "Create PDF" button: For Books, it's under the Book tab. For Newspaper Issues, it's under the "Issue" tab.

When the PDF datastream has been created, the download block will appear when you view the object.


If I ingest a Citation or Thesis object but I don't have a PDF that I can include, how can I direct users to access a fulltext version of the article?

If your objects contain a DOI in a MODS Identifier field <identifier type = "doi">, several options become possible. The DOI itself can be linked to externally-hosted articles, but often those articles are behind paywalls - even when open-access versions exist.

To get around this, the Islandora Badges module has a submodule called Islandora oaDOI.

Islandora oaDOI queries the service, which provides links to free, open-access fulltext versions of articles with DOIs, if they exist. The module creates a block which appears on any objects that (a) do not have a PDF datastrea, and (b) do have a free fulltext link available through, and offers a link for the user to access the fulltext externally.

To use Islandora oaDOI: 

  1. Go to Modules (admin/modules), and enable (1) Islandora Badges, and (2) Islandora oaDOI. 
  2. Configure Islandora Badges (under Islandora Utility modules, or admin/islandora/tools/badges), and make sure that the Thesis and Citation content models are selected.
  3. In the Blocks menu (admin/structure/block), find the block titled "Islandora oaDOI Link" and add it to the region of your choice. (Recommended: Content or Sidebar Second.)
  4. Use CSS Injector to style the block as you desire.


An SSL certificate is a prerequisite for LDAP integration, and there may be a cost to implement and maintain it. Let the Admin Centre know if you are interested in an LDAP integration and we’ll talk next steps.


Managing objects

To batch export datastreams for newspaper issues, use the Islandora Datastreams I/O (information in this Arca Minute). Select the Solr Query option and enter the following text: RELS_EXT_isMemberOf_uri_mt:"PID" (replacing "PID" with the PID for the newspaper collection). This will export all of the child objects for that newspaper. For example, to make batch metadata edits, select the MODS datastream.

When managing a collection, the options on the Collection tab let you manage multiple objects at once. These views by default only shows 10 objects at a time. For 1,000+ objects, this means a lot of screens and a lot of clicking.

But the number of objects that appear on this screen can be configured. Just go to the Collection Solution Pack config page: admin/islandora/solution_pack_config/basic_collection

Under the field “Objects per page during collection management”, just change the number. 

By default, the Book Viewer makes several assumptions about Book objects:

  • That you want to display two pages side by side (or whatever default you set in the general Book configuration)
  • That your book has a cover, and so presents the first page alone and subsequent pages side by side
  • That your pages were ingested in the correct order
  • That your book reads right-to-left

Each of these things can be configured by Managing the book and clicking to the Book tab.

  • Page Progression: choose between right-to-left and left-to-right
  • Page Display Mode: choose to display pages one at a time, or two side by side
  • Book Cover?: Indicate whether your book has a cover. This toggles whether Page 1 is shown alone or beside Page 2.
  • Reorder Pages: Rearrange individual pages.
  • Delete pages: Delete individual pages.

There are two ways to delete objects. The preferred method is by managing the object itself. The less-preferred method is to do so by managing the object's parent collection (or parent newspaper/book).

Preferred method

  1. Manage the object (navigate to the object and click the Manage tab)
  2. Go to Properties
  3. Click "Permanently remove [this object] from repository"
    • If the object is a collection, it will instead say "Delete collection".

The object and any of its children (if applicable) will be removed.

Less preferred method

Another way to delete an object is to do so via the Collection tab when managing its parent collection. If the object you're deleting has children (e.g. if it is a newspaper issue, book, compound object, collection, etc.), those children will not be deleted.

  1. Manage the parent collection/newspaper issue/etc.
  2. Click the Collection tab if you are managing a collection, or the relevant tab for the content model you are working in
  3. Click the "Delete members" section
  4. Check off the objects you want to delete, and click "Delete selected"
  5. If the objects deleted had any children, check the Orphaned Objects page (Islandora -> Islandora Utility Modules -> Orphaned Objects) to view and delete any orphans you may have created.

Deleting newspapers

We recently discovered a bug in Islandora's handling of newspapers: even if you delete the Newspaper via its Properties screen, the Pages of its Issues will become orphans. Please use the Islandora Orphaned Objects module to purge any orphans you might have created after deleting a newspaper.


There are several ways, depending on what you need.

  • For a complete picture of your visitors' usage, ask the Admin Centre for a Piwik account. This will give you access to your own dashboard at, where you will be able to access all sorts of data and views on that data.
  • For views and downloads on any given object:
    • Enable the Islandora Usage Stats Reports module.
    • Under Structure -> Blocks, enable the Object Usage block and choose a region to display it.
    • When an object is viewed, it will now display a count of all views and all downloads since the object was ingested.
  • For a complete list of datastream downloads per object:
    • In the Modules menu, enable "Islandora Datastream Downloads Report". (You may need to flush the cache afterward.)
    • This creates a view (simply called "Downloads" in the Views menu) and a page at
    • On this page, you'll get a list of objects and a record of each download of each datastream. You can also download a CSV file of all these records, which you can manipulate in Excel to filter by date, etc.
    • Date filtering on the webpage is not working right now; this is an improvement we will work on.



While some publishers require the full URL to the DOI, citation style guides and some of the modules we use prefer just the number. One of our sites came up with the following approach, that meets both requirements.

  • In the DOI field <identifier type="DOI">, enter the DOI number - not the URL.
  • In the URI field < identifier type="URI">, enter the full URL to the DOI.

This approach works well for several reasons:

  • The citation looks cleaner, and fits the style rules
  • Most Islandora Badges require the DOI only, without the full URI
  • Crossref specifically forbids preceding the DOI URL with “doi:” - which is what the citation does


Escape XML control characters

If your MODS metadata contains XML control characters (see list here) they must be escaped - i.e. converted into alternatives that the software can process without errors. e.g. if your <abstract> element contains a line like the following:

"When exposure to helicopter activity is <1h per month…”

That needs to be changed to:

"When exposure to helicopter activity is &lt;1h per month”

You may find you have a lot of characters that need to be escaped. Consider especially things like quotation marks.

Zip file structure

For a standard batch ingest, all of your objects must meet the following criteria:

  • XML file and object file have same filename (except the extension)
  • They are all in the Zip file’s root (no directories allowed)
  • They are all going into the same collection and have the same content model (i.e. if you have both Thesis objects and Citation objects, put them into two different Zip files)

For a Newspaper batch, follow the guidelines here:

  • Multiple issues can go in one Zip file, but they must all be for the same newspaper
  • Each issue has a separate directory in the root of the Zip file
  • Each page has a subdirectory, containing the page’s TIF file. 
  • Page directories are named for their page number: 1, 2, 3, etc.
  • Page TIF files are all given the OBJ.tif filename
  • Each issue has a MODS XML file, in the issue directory

Ingest via the UI or command line

Very large batches might be difficult to execute via the user interface. If you’ve got a very large multi-gigabyte set, contact the Arca Office, and we’ll get it ingested for you via the command line. We can also help identify problems with your metadata before they end up in the repository.


We allow self-submission, but want to implement a workflow that stops the objects from being published in the repository until a librarian has looked at the object and refined the metadata. How can we do this?

Use the Simple Workflow module. Enable it under the Modules menu.

Simple Workflow sets any ingested object to "Inactive" until someone with appropriate permissions has changed it to "Active". You can see a list of all inactive objects under Islandora -> Islandora Utility Modules -> Simple Workflow Objects, where you can review them or enable them.

You can set permssions so that certain roles bypass Simple Workflow - i.e. their objects are ingested without being held as "inactive" objects.

You can also set up a Rule (enable the Rules UI module to edit/enable/disable rules) so that an administrator is notified when objects are ingested.

For details on self-submission and Simple Workflow, watch the Arca Hour on self-submission workflows:

For guidance with Drupal Rules, watch the discoverygarden webinar:



To reorder your compound object children, Manage the parent object and click the Compound tab. Under the "Reorder" section, you can drag around the children to the order you prefer.

If your ordering still isn't being respected, make sure you aren't using Solr for your ordering query:

  • Go to Islandora -> Solution pack configuration -> Compound Object Solution Pack
  • Under Compound Member Query, choose the second option — "SPARQL - Does a SPARQL query with filters"

Arca does not have Solr fields that index the compound sequence, because the use of these fields causes major memory problems when there are lots of compound objects.


Basic Solr searches default to an OR operator, meaning there is an implied OR between each of your keywords. This is why a search for John McGee will return more results than John AND McGee, which in turn has more results than "John McGee" in quotes.

However, unless you have changed the way search results are sorted (by score), the full results of an AND search will show up first in an OR search, before any results that do not contain all keywords are listed. So while an OR search turns up more results, the initial set of results are no different from doing an AND search.

Solr does this to add serendipity to searching -- including possibly-related results that do not match all keywords, to provide more paths a researcher may choose to follow.

At present there is no way to change the default operator for basic searches. Users may limit their searches by using Advanced Search, which you can encourage by adding an Advanced Search block to your search results page. You can also limit the number of results that come back by using Defined Query Fields instead of letting Solr determine relevancy.


You may create objects of externally-hosted video and audio using the Remote Media content model. To make this possible:

  • Enable the Islandora Remote Media Solution Pack in the Modules screen
  • Configure it under Islandora -> Solution Pack Configuration -> Remote Media Solution Pack
  • In the Form Builder, associate the BC ELN Video form with the Remote Media content model:
    • Next to the BC ELN Video form, click Associations
    • Start typing "remote" and select the Remote Media CModel
    • Mimic the rest of the settings from the association for the Video CModel at the top of the page

When you create a Remote Media object, fill out the form. Then you will be asked to provide embed code. Copy your embed code from the original host and paste it here.


How does Solr decide which fields provide more relevant matches?

In your Solr settings (admin/islandora/search/islandora_solr/settings), look at the Query Defaults tab.

Under Query Fields, you'll see something like: 

dc.title^5 dc.subject^2 dc.description^2 dc.creator^2 dc.contributor^1 dc.type

This is the list of fields that Solr will look at by default in a simple search, and how strongly they rate a match within each field. If your search term is in the title field, it will be ranked more highly than if your term is just in the abstract (dc.description). The higher the number beside the field, the more importance a match within that field is given.

You can adjust your weightings here by altering the numbers, and even add or remove fields. Test your weightings in your virtual machine before setting them on your production site.

For more detials, see the Solr Reference Guide.


The default Solr config uses the dc.contributor field in search results, to list all the names associated with an object. When a form saves an empty Name field with a roleTerm attached to it, these end up in the search results.


Agency costs of multiple directorships: Toronto Stock Exchange - 2007-2008


Johnson, John Nolan (author)
Donker, Han (Thesis advisor)
, (Thesis advisor)
University of Northern British Columbia (Degree granting institution)
, (Committee member) 

How do we avoid this?

Replace dc.contributor with our custom contributor field: bceln_namePart_roleTerm_merge_ms.

  1. Go to admin/islandora/search/islandora_solr/settings
  2. Under Display Fields, add bceln_namePart_roleTerm_merge_ms
  3. Save
  4. Configure the new field’s label to <none> or whatever label you prefer
  5. Remove dc.contributor
  6. Save again



This is due to caching, which happens at several levels:

  • Cloudflare, which sits between users and Arca
  • Drupal's cache
  • Islandora Imagecache, which caches thumbnails in particular (to avoid having each view request hit the Fedora server)
  • Your browser

The first three affect all users looking at your repository. The last is only visible to you -- if other people report seeing the updated thumbnail but you only see the old version, then it's your own browser caching the image, and not a problem - just clear your cache.

Cloudflare's cache is automatically purged at regular intervals. The Drupal cache and Islandora Imagecache do the same, but might occasionally need some manual nudging. Your browser's cache can only be cleared by you. In general, if you update a thumbnail and you don't see the new version appear right away, it's usually just a matter of waiting for the caches to update themselves.

To confirm that your thumbnail update went through: Manage your object, go to Datastreams, and look at the TN datastream. Click the TN link, and you should see the most recent version of the thumbnail. You can also click the number in the Versions column, to review the current and previous versions.

If your thumbnails aren't updating after a long wait: Clear the caches manually.

  • Clear the Drupal cache: In the Admin toolbar, Under the Home button, click Flush All Caches.
  • Clear Islandora Imagecache: In the Admin toolbar, go to Configuration -> Media -> Imagecache External -> Flush External Images.
  • Clear the Image Styles: Under the Home icon in the Admin toolbar, choose Flush All Image Styles.
    • If this is not available, enable the module (at admin/modules) Image Style Flush, and grant the permission "Flush image styles" to the Local Adminstrator.

After doing this, you may need to clear your own browser's cache before the updated thumbnails will be visible to you.


For reasons unknown, the root of the breadcrumbs is served from the link in the Navigation menu (admin/structure/menu/manage/navigation). Edit the link and change its name to that of your root collection, and the breadcrumbs will appear correctly.


While you might suspect it's an image quality problem, if you check the JP2 images of your pages you will likely find that they are decent quality. Instead, you need to change compression level in your BookReader configuration.

Go to Islandora -> Islandora Viewers to change the BookReader settings. Set the Compression Level at 5 (instead of the default 4). Your text should render more nicely. If it’s still blurry, set it another notch higher and see how it looks.


First, make sure that the module really is enabled.

Then, make sure you have given yourself permission to use it:

  • Go to People -> Permissions (admin/people/permissions)
  • Find the module you're working with
  • Ensure that your role (probably Local Administrator) is checked off


The Admin Toolbar has a grey shortcut bar which gets in the way. And there seems to be another toolbar hidden below it. How do I streamline it, make it look better, and get it out of the way of the work I'm doing?

Go to the Modules menu, and do the following:

  • Filter to the word "toolbar"
  • Enable "Administration menu Toolbar style"
  • Disable "Toolbar"


When viewing an object in my repository, instead of the metadata display I see the error, "Document not present in Solr". The object is also not showing up in searches.

If this is happening to one or a handful of objects, check to make sure the object is active:

  • Navigate to the object
  • Click the Manage tab
  • Click Properties
  • Check the State field

If the object is Inactive, set it to Active. Inactive objects are not indexed by Solr.

If this is happening to a large number of objects, or all objects in the repository, we may have a corrupted index. Email the Arca Office and we will investigate.



The following is a non-exhaustive list of sites that are currently harvesting Arca content: 


Configure Islandora Entities (Islandora -> Solution pack config -> Islandora Entities) and find "Solr base query for citations"

Here you can modify the query to include other content models. For example, to include both the Citation and Large Image content models, use:

+RELS_EXT_hasModel_uri_mt:("ir:citationCModel" || "islandora:sp_large_image_cmodel")

The parallel bars ("||") are the OR operator. You can add as many as you need to in order to include all the necessary content models in your search. 

A list of core Islandora content models and their PIDs can be found at For content models that come from contributed modules (such as Islandora Remote Media), see their Github repositories for the identifier.

Note that you will need to include the person’s identifier in the metadata for these other objects in the same way you include them for Citation objects.



To embed an Arca search box in your library website or elsewhere, just paste this code wherever you want to embed it, and edit MY_SITE to your domain (e.g.

<div class="front-search-box">
<form action="https://MY_SITE/islandora/search/?type=edismax" method="post" accept-charset="UTF-8"><div><div class="container-inline form-wrapper" id="edit-simple"><h1></h1><div class='front-description-wrapper'><p class='simple-search-text'>Search MY_SITE's collection</p></div><div class="form-item form-type-textfield form-item-islandora-simple-search-query">
<label class="element-invisible" for="edit-islandora-simple-search-query">Search Term </label>
<input placeholder="Search All Collections" type="text" id="edit-islandora-simple-search-query" name="islandora_simple_search_query" value="" size="15" maxlength="128" class="form-text" />
<input type="submit" id="edit-submit" name="op" value="Search" class="form-submit" /><div class='adv-search-lnk'><a href="https://MY_SITE/advanced-search" class="adv_search">Advanced Search</a></div><div class="front-menu-wrapper"></div></div>
<input type="hidden" name="form_id" value="islandora_solr_simple_search_form" />
</div></form> </div>

If you want to limit your search to a particular collection or add some other restrictions, BCRDH have come up with this additional piece that uses Javascript to insert extra parameters to the query. Place this snippet before the search box code. Edit to replace "MY_SITE" with your site's URL, SOME_SOLR_FIELD with the Solr field you want to use (e.g. RELS_EXT_isMemberOfCollection_uri_ms) and "Solr Field Content" with the value of that field, e.g. your collection's PID.

<script src=""></script>
//load search result page 
    //get search string from form         
    var searchString = $('#edit-islandora-simple-search-query').val();
    //restrict to a particular collection and open search result url
    var queryURL = "https://MY_SITE/islandora/search/" + searchString + "?type=dismax&islandora_solr_search_navigation=1&f%5B0%5D=SOME_SOLR_FIELD%3A%22Solr Field Content%22"; return false;
//end jquery Script 


Quick/automatic approach:

Enable the module "Islandora Video Embed", and in the Blocks menu (Structure -> Blocks), add the Video Embed Code block to a page region such as Sidebar Second.

Now, when you view a Video object, a block appears containing embed code you can copy and use on any website.

Manual approach:

Get the full download link from your object's Manage page, and include the video's complete filename.

For example: to embed

Example embed code:

<video width="320" height="240" controls>
  <source src="" type="video/mp4">
Your browser does not support the video tag.




The icons at come from the TN (thumbnail) datastream on each site's root collection object. If you want to change that icon, you must manage your root collection.

Go to your site's root (at /islandora/object/[yournamespace]:root) and click Manage. Then click Datastreams, and under the TN datastream, click Replace.

Upload your new thumbnail. Make sure it is a 128x128 pixel square -- if its dimensions are not square, you will need to edit the image so that they are. Otherwise it will not display attractively in the list.

If the Partner Organizations page also requires an update to the icon, please let the Admin Centre know in an email, and attach your new thumbnail.


Navigate to your collection and click Manage.

Under Datastreams, find the TN (thumbnail) datastream. Click the Replace link. (If no TN datastream is available, create a new one.)

Replace the image with your own. Make sure your new image has the right dimensions. Default is 128x128 pixels.


How do I configure my site to participate in the Library and Archives Canada ETD harvesting program?

Your Arca site automatically takes care of most of the pieces required to make your theses available to LAC. The main thing you need is your OAI-PMH feed URL, which you can access at the path [yoursite] (e.g.

Follow the guidelines provided by Theses Canada to get set up with ETD harvesting.




I want to put some files on our Arca site, and I'm not sure where they belong. How do I decide?

Not everything you put on your Arca site belongs in the repository. Some kinds of content are better suited to be hosted just on the website. See our documentation for details: Repository content vs. website content.


Make sure the content of the person's Identifier field is present on the Citation or Thesis object, under the "Qualified Name" field. (Not the Identifier field. This is unintuitive, and there is a ticket in the Islandora system to get this changed.) As long as the information is present somewhere in that field, it will be found by the Scholar Profile.

Watch the Arca Hour on Scholar Profiles for details: