A website in a modular structure?

I’m part of the team that is building the web publication Our World In Data that presents the empirical evidence on global development.

We present this evidence topic by topic – war, democracy, child mortality, higher education, corruption and so on. One reason why I wanted all of these different aspects in one publication is that they are all related: better education for women leads to lower child mortality for example.

These cross-connections are really at the heart of development: from education to democracy, from democracy to war, from war to public debt, from public debt to spending to education etc. etc.


Because development has this structure we increasingly run into a problem however. The link between education for women and child mortality should be part of both entries – the one on education for women and the one on child mortality. And currently we have a similar section in both entries.

But an ideal system for such a publication might be to write that section X which discusses the link between A and B and then this same section X is shown in both entries, entry A and entry B. These modules would be reusable blocks – we write them once and use them several times. In computer science this is referred to as transclusion.

The idea for a ‘modular structure’, as I put in the title, would be to write these bits in modules:

  • Education of women -> Child mortality
  • Education -> Democracy
  • Democracy -> Education
  • Education -> Health of children
  • Health of children -> Economic Growth
  • etc.

and then these modules are shown in the appropriate entries. Our current structure would work well since one module could always be headline-text-visualisation.

Other advantages:

– This structure would us also help to possibly solve a second problem, namely that our entries get very long and they are becoming hard to navigate. A structure that breaks them in pieces in a good way might be helpful.

– It would then be straightforward to recombine modules to other ‘articles’. Every module that is tagged ‘USA’, or ‘long-term perspective’, or ‘public good finance’ etc.


My main questions is has anyone seen some structure for a web publication like this on WordPress? Are there helpful examples that we could look at?


ADDED ON 20 FEB: In response to the request above I’ve received several very helpful emails. Many thanks for this!

One pointed to this WordPress plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/insert-pages/ which seems to do what I had in mind. But I haven’t tried that plugin myself yet.