Cover Images


Cover images

In this section, learn about:

  • Sources for cover images
  • Uploading a new cover image
  • Changing cover images
  • Defining covers in MARC


Whether you subscribe to a paid service or not, Aspen's got you covered! Aspen Discovery automatically sources cover images from free open source databases. However, if you subscribe to a paid service (Content Cafe or Syndetics), Aspen works seamlessly with these vendors to prioritize the enrichment you've paid for. In addition, you have the ability to manually add new cover images or change the images as you please.



Where Do Cover Images Come From?

Sources for Cover Images

Cover images can be pulled into Aspen from various outlets. Administrators can use free resources such as a COCE server for book images and OMDb for movies, or connect to third party services like Syndetics or Content Cafe.

Free Services:

  • COCE Server -  is a remote image URL cache. With this option, cover images are not fetched directly from Amazon, Google, and Open Library. Their URLs are requested via a web service to Coce which manages a cache of URLs.
    • Coce currently will check Amazon Web Services, Google Books or Open Library.
  • OMDb (Open Movie Database) - The OMDb is a web service to obtain movie information where all content and images on the site are contributed and maintained by OMDb users. These are pulled in by release year (lives in publication date field, 260/264) and title, but if we don't get anything with the release date, we try to pull it off title.

Paid Services:

  • Syndetics or Syndetics Unbound (ProQuest)
  • Content Cafe (Baker & Taylor)

Note: We grab book/magazine/etc. covers with UPC (024) or ISBN (020). We do not currently use ISSN (022) but vendors like Syndetics do.

How to Set Up Third Party Enrichment

How to Set Up Third Party Enrichment

During implementation, an Aspen team member will request credentials to set up any credentials you have for third party vendors. If you need to remove or add an account, you can access them under Aspen Administration > Third Party Enrichment

  • Coce Server Settings - This URL will be set up by the Aspen implementation team (free)
  • ContentCafe Settings - Will need the Content Cafe Id and profile password (requires paid subscription)
  • OMDB Settings - The Aspen team will set this up with our API key (free)
  • Syndetics Settings - Will need Syndetics Key. If you have Unbound, you need the Unbound Client Code. (requires paid subscription)

Click Here to learn how to set up Syndetics/Syndetics Unbound.

Click Here to learn how to set up Content Cafe.

Manually Upload Cover Images

When a title has no cover image or the cover image is incorrect, you have the ability to manually update the cover image. To do this, staff must have an admin role with the Upload Covers permission included. The cover image doesn't need to be missing or wrong to use this feature, though -- uploading your own cover images can also be a great way to draw attention to special collections that your library might have, such as museum passes or Library of Things collections.


Upload Cover from Computer

  1. In the detailed record for a title, scroll down to Staff View and click Upload Cover from Computer.
  2. Once you've uploaded an image, you will get a success message. You can click Reload Cover or do a hard refresh to update the cover image in your image cache. To perform a hard rerefesh on Mac: Command + Shift + 'R' key; on a PC: Shift + F5. Or, hold the shift key while clicking the "Reload" button on your browser.


Upload Cover by URL

In Staff View, select Upload Cover by URL. Paste in the URL of an image hosted on an external website, and Aspen will download the image from its source and load it into Aspen for you. The URL is only needed once, so if the URL ever changes or is taken down, this will not affect the cover image in Aspen.

When changing cover images, there is browser cacheing at play. If you want to test changes, try opening a new browser (exp: Chrome vs. Firefox) and seeing if they show in another browser. You can also try clearing your cache and reloading.

Changing A Cover Image

How to Browse Cover Images and Change a Cover Image


In a grouped work with a lot of formats from different vendors, you will get a list of all the cover images available in the record under Grouped Records. Type will describe where the cover image is coming from, such as the ILS, cloud_library, overdrive, or hoopla.



You can browse the images by clicking on Preview Cover. While you are browsing, you can click on Use Cover when you select a cover you'd like to use. 



Under Book Cover Information, you can see the Image Source of the current cover.



Once you change the image, you will see a Reset button appear in your Grouped Records list. This will show what the last cover image was and you can reset back to it by clicking on that. 



When changing cover images, there is browser cacheing at play. If you want to test changes, try opening a new browser (exp: Chrome vs. Firefox) and seeing if they show in another browser. You can also try clearing your cache and reloading.

Defining Covers in MARC

Defining Covers in MARC

If you want to use the same cover for a large number of records in the ILS, it can be easier to set the cover for all of the records using an 856 link within the MARC record.

To use this method, you will first need to make sure that the cover is available to Aspen. This can be done by either uploading it to the Aspen server using Web Builder functionality (in the Images section) or by adding it to one of your own content servers.

After the cover has been uploaded, you will add an 856 field with the following subfields:

  1. Subfield 2 = Aspen
  2. Subfield 3 = CoverImage
  3. Subfield u = {Full image URL}

Note: For the cover to show properly, you may need to click the Reload Cover button within Staff View of the record.

Change the Cover Image Style

To adjust the cover image layout of cover images, go to Aspen Administration > Themes & Layout > Themes > Cover Image Style.

You can select from:

  • Border/Picture Frame
  • Shadow/Floating

Border/Picture Frame


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