Checklist now available on OpenEdition Books!

Checklist, a plug-in that verifies blog post metadata and content structure before publication, was introduced to OpenEdition Journals in 2020. Now it is available on OpenEdition Books. Development of the plug-in was funded by OpenEdition. The software code is open source to allow the OpenEdition community to modify it. We spoke with Amandine Texier, project manager and editorial officer at OpenEdition Books, and Thomas Brouard, an external collaborator and the plug-in’s developer, about what is new and improved in Checklist v2.

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  • Checklist is now available on OpenEdition Books, but Version Two also offers new features for OpenEdition Journals. Are the same features available on both platforms?

Thomas: Journals and books have different traits and needs. Checklist takes into account their different formats, metadata structure, and editorial team structure. Otherwise, the features are the same across both platforms.

Amandine: For the past few years, we have been trying to make posting requirements and quality criteria consistent between OpenEdition Journals and OpenEdition Books. Checklist has benefited from that work. Whenever possible and appropriate, it performs the same verifications.

  • Checklist v1 underwent extensive testing by journal editorial teams, users, and OpenEdition’s editorial officers. What did that collaboration look like this time for the new version?

Amandine: After Thomas finished each improvement, I tested it to make sure it worked properly. Of course, that alone wasn’t enough, so once the entire upgrade was complete, we sent the plug-in to the editorial officers to test for any bugs we may have missed. Then Thomas fixed them. There were also a number of exchanges with OpenEdition’s IT department, which is responsible for rolling out the plug-in on the website.
Checklist was already being used on OpenEdition Journals, but the upgrade and roll-out on OpenEdition Books was a whole different beast with different challenges and bugs. So, this time we didn’t involve the editorial teams or users in the testing phase. Of course, we still want feedback on any problems that come up!

  • What challenges did you encounter?

Thomas: Technically speaking, Version Two has new features (AJAX requests optimization, improved browser data caches) whose existing code we consolidated. We also created new views, including a way to display all volumes on the website, which required us to design new interfaces. Finally, when adapting the software to OpenEdition Books, we encountered a few general architectural issues. Overall, it was a substantial upgrade, but the work went smoothly thanks to the design of the previous version, which was created with the idea that such updates might be made later.

  • Checklist was intended as a convenience for Lodel users. Do you think anything similar will be created for other OpenEdition platforms?

Thomas: Checklist is the successor to Screlo, which was initially designed to make life easier for OpenEdition teams and developed to address a clearly identified need. I think the plug-ins are successful because they solve problems that users encounter in their work. It would only make sense to adapt Checklist to other OpenEdition platforms if those platform users have the same needs.

Amandine: When we developed the first version of Checklist, we spoke with Céline Guilleux, scientific validation officer for Calenda and Hypotheses, about using it on Calenda. We never really considered using it on Hypotheses because it uses WordPress, a completely different system that doesn’t allow content to be structured as granularly as Lodel. As for Calenda, it seems that those users have very different needs than users of OpenEdition Journals or OpenEdition Books, so it doesn’t make sense to adapt Checklist for Calenda.

  • Will the editorial teams have a say in how the plug-in evolves in the future? Will other features be added?

Thomas: Developing and maintaining software without user participation is rarely a good idea. I believe it is essential that we receive feedback and suggestions from editorial teams for Checklist to evolve, especially as we map out its future. We should also note that Checklist is free, open-source software that by definition thrives on contributions from the public.

Amandine: To add to what Thomas said, while Checklist is now available in English, it would be easy to make it available in other languages as well. If any editorial teams would like to help, they should feel free to contact us.

  • Can Checklist be used on other websites or platforms besides OpenEdition Journals and Books?

Thomas: Yes. Checklist is distributed under a General Public License and is also compatible with Lodel templates developed by Edinum, a collective I belong to. Many incubators in the REPÈRES network are already using Checklist or are setting it up now. Most websites that run on Lodel 1 should be compatible with Checklist, as long as they meet OpenEdition standards.


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