Cornell Exhibitions


Spotlight Help

Becoming a user

To request an account, send an email to Jenn Colt (

Creating an exhibit

To create an exhibit, please email Jenn Colt ( with a title and a brief description of your exhibit.

For ideas on what your finished exhibition in Spotlight can look like, explore Cornell Online Exhibitions or Stanford Online Exhibits.

Administering your exhibit - Dashboard

To administer your exhibit, log into the Cornell Online Exhibitions. In the top navigation, click on your user name and select “Exhibit Dashboard” from the dropdown menu.

Dashboard link

When you first use Spotlight, it may be helpful to click through the items in the dashboard navigation to see what types of features and configurations are available. Below is a brief summary of each of the dashboard sections.


The dashboard home page, which displays recent exhibit-building activity.


While this is not currently configured, analytics providers can be integrated into the exhibit dashboard.



This section contains basic exhibit settings, such as:

This is also where you can choose to publish your exhibit, filter items, import and export data, and delete your exhibit.


This section is where you can set the masthead image in your exhibit’s header, an exhibit thumbnail (for display on the CUL Exhibitios home page) and set what items you would like to appear in your exhibit’s main menu.


The Users section contains a list of users configured for that particular exhibition, as well as the ability to edit or remove users.


Spotlight items come with the following default metadata fields:

In the Metadata section, you can configure whether or not these fields are displayed on an item view, or in list gallery, masonry or slideshow views.

In addition, you can add custom, exhibit-specific fields in this section.

Metadata fields for display

Metadata fields can be configured to display on List, Gallery, Masonry and Slideshow layouts. Please note that for the Masonry view, even though you can select multiple fields for display, only the Title field will actually be shown.

In the Search section, you can enable the display of a site-wide search box, as well as define what fields are searchable.



The Items section is where you upload images for use throughout your exhibition. To upload images, click the “Add items” button.

You may upload a single image or multiple images via a CSV file (a downloadable template is provided). You may also upload items via JSON or IIIF manifest.

Minimum image size

We suggest that you size your images no smaller than 400x400 pixels. Small images will be upsampled accordingly, which will degrade the quality of the image in the display.

The maximum recommended file size is 5MB. Please be sure that your files do not exceed 5MB each.


Tags can be set up within an exhibition and applied to various items. Adding tags will allow for things like creating browseable categories of images.


In the Browse section, you can set up different categories of images to be displayed within a main “Browse” link in the top navigation.

If Browse is enabled, all items will fall into a default “All Exhibit Items category.” If you have defined tags, you can also create browse categories based on those tags.

Saved Searches

If search is enabled, you can save searches when logged in. Saved searches will be available as Browse Categories in the Dashboard.

To save a search, log into Spotlight, perform a Search, and click the “Save Search” link. Add a title if it’s a new search, or update the title if it’s a previously saved search.

Feature pages

Feature pages are where you can provide narrative to your exhibition. To create a feature page, click the “Add new page” button and enter a page title.

Feature pages can be reordered and nested by hovering over the gray tab on the left side of a page and dragging and dropping it into the correct position.

You can reorder or nest feature pages

About pages

About pages can be used to describe information about the exhibition itself (such as exhibition background, credits, contact information, etc.). In this section you can also set up an exhibition contact, for display in the sidebar of About pages. About pages can also be reordered and nested, as described above in “Feature pages.”

Editing pages

There are several ways to edit a page (e.g. Home, Feature, About):

Standard widgets

Widget Description
Heading Heading, such as at the beginning of a section of text
Text Basic text block
List An unordered (bulleted) list
Quote Blockquote
Iframe Embed iframe
Video Upload and embed video - NOT RECOMMENDED**
Embed + Text Embed a web resource via URL and add text next to it
Horizontal rule Add a horizontal line to widgets items
Uploaded item row Upload a new item for display, with text; image is not zoomable

Exhibit item widgets

Widget Description
Browse categories Grid of categories; this would be “All Exhibit Items,” or tagged items that have been saved as a Browse category*
Pages Grid of feature pages
Item row An individual item with text; image is not zoomable, but if clicked displays the item with detailed metadata and a zoomable image
Item carousel Multiple items in a carousel format
Item embed An individual item with text; image is zoomable
Item slideshow Multiple items in a slideshow format
Item grid Multiple items in a grid format (thumbnails)
Search results Like browse categories, except display in a search results format (list, gallery, masonry or slideshow)

* The maximum number of browse categories is 5. If you add more than this, the categories will not wrap or align properly.

** We recommend you DO NOT use the Video widget at this time. Uploading large video files can cause a page to become unresponsive. Instead, we suggest that you upload your video to a streaming service such as YouTube or the Library’s MediaSpace, and then paste embed code into either the Iframe or Embed + Text widgets.

Text editing options

Simple formatting within text blocks can be achieved by selecting and right-clicking on text.

Text editing options

Options include bold, italics, link, un-link, H1 (heading) and blockquote.

Page options

In Edit mode, under “Options,” you can set whether or not a page is published and/or displays in the sidebar menu.

Page options includes publishing and sidebar link display


In Edit mode, under “Thumbnail,” you can configure a thumbnail for that page. This gets displayed when using the Browse pages widget. You may either use an item from the exhibition, or upload a new item. There is also a cropping tool included for specifying the square-shaped image crop.