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We're excited to announce that you can now search the 800+ awards listed in the Financial Assistance for Library & Information Studies (FALIS) Directory in the Opportunities Exchange in ALA Connect.

Meeting requests are like Doodle polls that let you figure out the best time for everyone in your group to meet. Connect meeting requests also have the added feature of letting you automatically create a Connect calendar event based on the times of your poll. And as always, email notifications are automatic so you don't have to go through the separate steps of emailing everyone a link to the form or the event.

Here's a walkthrough of the process.

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Discussion Revealing the "About this group" Information

by David Vess on Sun, Dec 15, 2013 at 06:40 pm

I can't get the "About this group" link to work.  http://connect.ala.org/node/153255  I have info about this group, like their charge, etc but I can't see it unless I go in to edit the group's info.  Thanks!

Discussion When should I post something as a Discussion/Online Doc/File or something else?

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 01:59 pm

 

Keep in mind that there's no one "right" way to use the tools in Connect. That said, here are some guidelines we've heard work well for groups.

 


 

 

Keep in mind that there's no one "right" way to use the tools in Connect. That said, here are some guidelines we've heard work well for groups.

 


 

 Discussions - Are you posting something to get feedback about an idea? Do you have some news to share or some other item that others might want to ask a question about? If yes, post a Discussion Thread in a Discussion Forum. If you're not sure which Group Heading to use, put it in "General News & Discussion" or click on the "Add Heading" link in the list of Group Headings in the left-hand column to create an appropriate subject heading for your content.

Start a Discussion thread when you want to:

  • Get feedback about something
  • Post some news that others might want to comment on or ask questions about
  • Brainstorm ideas

 

Online Docs - Think of these as wiki pages or Google Docs. This is the only type of content everyone in the group can edit directly on the screen without first downloading a file, making changes, and then re-uploading a new version. You can even see revisions ("track changes") to see what changed from version to version. Another good name for these might be "collaborative documents."

Use an Online Doc when you want to:

  • Post an agenda or minutes that anyone in the group can edit right on the screen
  • Collaobratively work on a report or other document
  • Track the revision history of changes made to a document the group is working on

 

 Files - Just want to upload a PDF, Excel spreadsheet, or Word document? Use the "Files" tool to organize those files into folders, just like you would on your computer. File size is limited to 20MB, but you can add almost any type of file.

 

Use Files when you want to:

  • Upload a single file, such as a PDF, Excel spreadsheet, Powerpoint presentation, etc.

 


 

 Polls - Use this when you want to ask the group a single question with multiple choices. Group members will be able to vote to select one of the options from your list of choices. A good way to use polls is to take official board votes because you can see the final outcome and how each person voted. Note that polls aren't like surveys, so there's no fill-in-the-blank or ranking option.

Use a Poll when you want to:

  • Take a board vote on a particular proposal or issue
  • Let group members indicate a single choice from a list of options
  • Ask group members to vote for their favorite choice

 


 

 Events - Each of your groups has its own calendar where any group member can add an event such as a meeting or deadline. You can also download Connect calendar events to your Outlook/Google/ics-based calendar.

 

Create an Event when you want to:

  • Put something on the group's calendar
  • Let group members download the event to their Outlook/Google/iCal calendars

 

 Pictures - Formerly known as "images," pictures are a good way to display an individual picture. Think of your "Pictures" area as an image gallery. If you just have a logo you want group members to be able to download, you might want to upload it as a "File" instead. If you want someone to be able to see the image itself on the page, upload it as a "Picture."

Post a Picture when you want to:

  • Publish an image that you want group members to see on the screen, rather than asking them to download it first.

 


 

 

 Chats - There's nothing fancy about chats, but that's one of their selling points. Your group's chat rooms allow for synchronous, text-based chat to discuss whatever you want to discuss. There's no video, no extra software to download, no audio to set up ahead of time, but you do get an automatic transcript you can archive for future reference. Only your group's members can join in the chat.

Start a Chat session when you want to:

  • Get everybody together at the same time in a chat room to have a meeting
  • Let group members take advantage of "office hours" or community time to ask questions or discuss specific topics

 

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Discussion How to Delete Content from a Connect Group

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 01:25 pm

In general, to delete something you posted in Connect, you can just go to the "Edit" tab on the item, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on the "delete" button. Group admins are the only ones who can delete content other group members have posted.

We know this is a time-consuming process for those admins who need to delete some or all of the content in a group when the roster flips over and new committee members come on board. This issue usually comes up with groups that post confidential information, such as award juries and nomination committees.

In general, to delete something you posted in Connect, you can just go to the "Edit" tab on the item, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on the "delete" button. Group admins are the only ones who can delete content other group members have posted.

We know this is a time-consuming process for those admins who need to delete some or all of the content in a group when the roster flips over and new committee members come on board. This issue usually comes up with groups that post confidential information, such as award juries and nomination committees.

To make this process easier, we've implemented a bulk delete option for group admins. Before I describe the process, though, I want to stress the fact that once you delete content using this process, we cannot get it back. With great power comes great responsibility, so please use this feature wisely.

With that out of the way, here's how you can delete multiple items at once in a group. If you're an admin, you'll see a new link labeled "Delete multiple items from this group" in the left-hand column on your group's pages.

Click on that link, and you'll be taken to a screen where you can start checking boxes to identify the items you want to delete. To delete everything listed on this page, check the box at the top to the left of the word "Type".

Then select "Delete item" from the list of Operations, take a deep breath, make sure you're deleting content you really want to delete, and click on the "Execute" button.

We'll ask you once if you're sure you want to do this, because remember that we can't get back any content you're deleting. To continue, click on the "Confirm" button.

That's it - the content is now gone from the group. Note that you can also use the "Type" box to filter the content list if you just want to see just discussions, files, events, etc. Also, to bulk delete content, you can change how many items appear on the page or click on the button that appears when you select all of the content on the first page.

Hopefully this functionality will make it easier for admins to re-use the same group spaces each year. Let us know how this works for you, especially if you run into any issues.

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Discussion Chat FAQ

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 01:29 pm
  1. How do I join a chat my group has scheduled?
  2. How many people can be in a chat session at once?
  3. Who can create a chat session?
  4. How do I start a chat session?
  5. Any advice for how to name our chat sessions?
  6. Can I create the chat session before a scheduled chat starts?
  7. Will Connect save a transcript of our chat?
  8. How do I archive a chat?
  9. How do I delete a chat?
  10. Is Connect's chat feature ADA-compliant?
  11. Help - our chat room disappeared!
  12. Don't see your question listed here? Leave a comment or use the contact us form.

  1. How do I join a chat my group has scheduled?
    Find your group's home page, and look in the right-hand column for the "Chats" link. Once you get to the chats page, you should see an open chat you can join by just clicking on its name. If you don't see one listed, it may be that no one has created the chat yet. If you'd like to be the person to do that, see #4.
  2. How many people can be in a chat session at once?
    There isn't a specific known limit, but Connect chats aren't designed for large-scale sessions. You're probably pretty good up to around 25-30 participants.
  3. Who can create a chat session?
    Any member of the group/community can create a chat session. Just click on the "chats" link in the tools list in the right-hand sidebar of your group's home page, and enter a chat name in the box. This will create the chat and make it visible to other members in the group.
  4. How do I start a chat session?
    Any member of the group can start a chat session by clicking on the "chats" link in the right-hand sidebar. This will take you to the chats home page, where you'll see a box asking for a "chat name." Simply enter a unique name and click on the "create chat" button.

    Your chat should now be listed under "Open chats in this room." To enter the chat, just click on its name. Others coming to the chat page will be able to see the chat and click on it, as well.

  5. Any advice for how to name our chats?
    It's best to use a distinctive name that helps others find the right chat room. Try giving it a date ("January 27, 2014 chat"), using a subject heading ("Advocacy chat"), or combining the two ("January 2014 Advocacy chat").
  6. Can I create the chat session before a scheduled chat starts?
    Yes, you can create a chat room anytime. If you do it ahead of time, you'll be able to direct participants to the exact URL of the chat room.
  7. Will Connect save a transcript of our chat?
    Yes, Connect will automatically save a record of your session by default, and that transcript will remain until someone in the group manually deletes it. Just go back to a specific chat session in order to view the transcript. If you want to make the content public, you'll need to copy the text and paste it into a post or discussion that you can make public.
  8. How do I archive a chat?
    Your chats will remain open until you archive them, so once a chat is over, you should go through this process to close them.
    1. Find the chat you want to archive and click on its name.
    2. Click on the "View old messages" link at the top of the page.
    3. Click on the "Archive this chat" button.

    Now your chat will be closed but available for the group's members to view in the "archived chat rooms" section of your chats page.

  9. How do I delete a chat?
    A chat can only be deleted once it is archived. After you've gone through the steps in #6 to archive the chat, find the session and click on its name. At the bottom of the screen, you should see a "Delete this chat" button.

  10. Is Connect's chat feature ADA-compliant?
    We believe so, yes. We specifically don't use any fancy AJAX chat modules in order to make sure this feature works for everyone. If you run into any problems using the chat function, please don't hesitate to contact us.
  11. Help - our chat room disappeared!
    This can happen a group admin accidentally deletes the whole chat room instead of an individual chat session. Admins see an "edit" tab for the whole chat room, and that page includes a delete button. Don't use that delete button, or you'll remove the entire chat room for the group, including any archived chats.

    To delete a chat session, make sure you archive and then delete the individual session instead. If you accidentally delete the whole chat room, contact us and we'll restore it for you. Unfortunately, we won't be able to restore your archived chats, but we can get you your chat room back.

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Discussion Member Chair FAQ

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 11:47 am

 

As the member chair of an ALA group, you have more privileges than regular members of the group. This FAQ explains some issues you need to consider, as well as what you can do with those extra privileges.

 

As the member chair of an ALA group, you have more privileges than regular members of the group. This FAQ explains some issues you need to consider, as well as what you can do with those extra privileges.

Things you should consider doing in Connect

  • Upload a picture to your profile (it can be a picture of anything).
  • Add some details to your profile so that other ALA members can learn more about you.
  • Turn on email notifications from Connect (either "all" in your profile or on a group-by-group basis). See http://connect.ala.org/email-help for more information about this.

Group properties

Note that you must be an admin for the group in order to “edit” its properties. If you are not an admin for a group in Connect but believe you should be, your group’s staff liaison must designate you as the chair or co-chair in ALA’s membership database. There is no way to make yourself or anyone else an admin via Connect for an official working group (eg, committees, task forces, etc.). All admin rights for committees synchronize directly from our member database.

You can tell you're an admin if you see the "edit" tab in the left-hand column on the group's home page or if it says "(admin)" after your name on the group's roster.

As an admin, you can edit the following group properties.

  • The mission/charge for your group
  • The logo
  • You can add an external RSS feed that will display headlines in the left-hand column (eg, your blog's headlines).

Special Admin Privileges

  • Only admins can delete comments.
  • Only admins can make a piece of content "sticky" so that it stays at the top of a group's home page.
  • Only admins can edit anyone else's content within the group.
  • Only admins can "promote" a piece of content to display as an announcement at the top of a group's home page. Look in the "Publishing Options" when creating or editing content to find this option.

FAQs

  1. Which members of my group are admins?
    Anyone designated as the "member chair" or "member co-chair" in our member database (called "iMIS") is automatically a member admin for the group by default. Your staff liaison(s) will also be listed as an admin.
  2. Someone who is on my committee is not appearing on the roster in Connect. How do I add them there?
    You can't add them to the committee in Connect, because the site synchronizes directly with ALA's membership database so they have to be added there first. Once your group's staff liaison does that, they'll begin appearing as part of the group the next day, after the overnight synchronization.

    The exception to this is if the person has chosen to exclude themselves from appearing in Connect, in which case they won’t appear anywhere on the site and won’t be able to log in. The member needs to change that option on their ALA website profile in order to begin appearing in Connect, gain access to it, and appear on a roster.

  3. How do I add a non-ALA member to an official ALA group?
    The non-ALA member needs to have an account in Connect, so ask them create the account and send you their username. Once their account has been approved, send their username to the ALAConnect Helpdesk so that we can add them to your roster. Please include your group's Connect URL in the request.
     
  4. Can I make a non-ALA member an admin for an official ALA group?
    Yes, you can send a message to the ALAConnect Helpdesk or use the Contact Us form to submit a request for us to add a non-member to your group. Start with question #3 if the person is not yet a member of the group.  
  5. How do I create subject headings for my group's content?To do this, just click on "Add a heading" in the left-hand column on your group's home page and follow the directions in this help document. Once you start categorizing items in these subject headings, they'll begin appearing in the left-hand column (see the Help community for an example of what they look like and how they work).
  6. How secure is my group's content in Connect?By default, content added to your group is "protected" so that only the group's members can see it. When adding content, you must manually check the "public" box to make it viewable by anyone outside of the group. Once content is made "public," anyone can comment on it but only the group's members can modify it. See http://connect.ala.org/node/72947 for more information about this.

Note:  Please consider making non-confidential content "public" so that ALA members can see all of the good work your group is doing. This will also make your content appear on the Connect home page, which will help promote future participation in your group. It also lets anyone "following" your group receive email notifications of the public content only. This is especially important for boards and other governance groups.

We also encourage you to publicly list your meetings on your group calendar as one way to align with ALA’s meeting notice policy.

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Discussion Creating a List of Conference Sessions You Attended

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 02:08 pm

Once conference is over, you might want to go back in to your schedule to mark the sessions that you attended so that you’ll always be able to find them again as a handy list. You could also use this as an easy-to-produce handout in a report or for your supervisor. Since the conference schedulers will remain online, the list will also help you find that one session you know you attended on Saturday two years ago for which you can’t remember the name of the presenter or the group that sponsored it.

To create your list of attended sessions, just do the following:

Once conference is over, you might want to go back in to your schedule to mark the sessions that you attended so that you’ll always be able to find them again as a handy list. You could also use this as an easy-to-produce handout in a report or for your supervisor. Since the conference schedulers will remain online, the list will also help you find that one session you know you attended on Saturday two years ago for which you can’t remember the name of the presenter or the group that sponsored it.

To create your list of attended sessions, just do the following:

  1. Go to the Conference Scheduler for the event.
  2. Go to “My Schedule.”
  3. Visit the individual record for each session you attended. Towards the top of the record, you’ll see an option for “I attended this session.” If the circle with the checkmark is gray, it’s not marked as attended.
  4. To mark it as attended, click ont he gray circle to turn it green.

  5. Once you’ve marked all of your sessions as attended, go to the “Attended Sessions” link in the right-hand column. You’ll always be able to refer back to this page, but you can also use your browser’s print button if you need to make a paper copy of it.

Use the links in the upper right-hand corner to print the full view of your attended sessions or to download a PDF version.

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Discussion What's Changed in the Redesigned ALA Connect

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 08:06 pm

Or, A New Look for ALA Connect!

As part of the 2012 redesign of the ALA Connect interface, we've moved some things around, added shortcuts to make it faster to get places, and changed some labels to make it easier to figure out where to start.

Here's a summary of some of the biggest improvements:

Or, A New Look for ALA Connect!

As part of the 2012 redesign of the ALA Connect interface, we've moved some things around, added shortcuts to make it faster to get places, and changed some labels to make it easier to figure out where to start.

Here's a summary of some of the biggest improvements:

  • The first change you'll probably notice is the navigation. The list of your groups is now on the left, instead of at the top, and there are only two columns on the site instead of three. Hopefully this will make the screen less cluttered and easier to read.

  • We also merged all of your group news into a single stream on the home page, so when you're logged in, you now start with a single view of everything from your groups that you haven't read yet. In other words, the "my unread items" screen is now your home page once you're logged in.

  • Even better, you can now filter that single stream of home page content by type by clicking on the icons in the new toolbar. If you want to find just the latest files added to your groups or jump into discussions, you can easily see just those by clicking on the "Files" icon. You can even use the "Show" options above the toolbar to view just those items you haven't read yet. The toolbar on your group's home page works the same way.


     

  • You can also filter your group's home page by subject heading, too, because you now have one set of subject headings that work across all content types (except chats, which will come later).


     

  • Overall, we suggest that the bulk of your content be added as "Discussions" so that you can organize them into different discussion forums. Use "Online Docs" when you want to collaboratively edit a document on the screen and "Files" when you want to share a specific file type with everyone.

    You'll also notice that the "posts" tool has disappeared. We heard from many of you that it was confusing to know when to use a post versus an online doc or a file or a discussion, so we've reduced the choice overload. Don't worry, though - all of your old posts are still live; they're just in the "General News & Discussion" forum in your Discussions area. You can read a little more about this in Where Did All My/Our Posts Go?

  • Looking for your profile or a way to quickly edit the list of groups sending you email notifications? Find those links by clicking on your name in the upper right-hand corner of any page.

  • It's also easier to tell right away if you've enabled email notifications from a particular group. Just go to the group's home page and look for the setting in the left-hand column. If the box is checked, you should be receiving emails. If it isn't, just check the box to enable them - much easier!

There are lots of other tweaks we've added, and we'll be doing more work in a second phase of improvements in early 2013. For this first round, we concentrated on making it easier to get around, find things, and add content, so we're excited to hear your feedback. Don't be shy - let us know what you think about the new design.

Additional redesign help documents:

 

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Discussion URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT: New Chats Will Be Disabled on Dec 7

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Mon, Dec 6, 2010 at 01:48 pm

We're very sorry to report that the chat module is causing problems on the Connect server again, to the point where it can crash the site. We've therefore decided to disable the creation of new chat rooms in order to maintain the stability of Connect itself. Beginning Tuesday, December 7, 2010, groups will no longer be able to create new chats, although all past chats and archives will remain available.

We're very sorry to report that the chat module is causing problems on the Connect server again, to the point where it can crash the site. We've therefore decided to disable the creation of new chat rooms in order to maintain the stability of Connect itself. Beginning Tuesday, December 7, 2010, groups will no longer be able to create new chats, although all past chats and archives will remain available.

This isn't an action we're taking lightly, because we know several groups have depended on Connect chat as a simple, ADA-compliant resource that works without requiring users to install special plugins. We wouldn't be taking this step if we had other options, but we spent the past summer researching alternatives and couldn't find any that met our needs. Now that the current Drupal Chat Room module is causing the site to actually go down, we need to take action.

This issue just resurfaced in earnest the week of November 29, which is the first day the site crashed because of this problem. Unfortunately, just adding more RAM to the server will only postpone the issue temporarily, if at all. With the new conference event planner opening in Connect this week, we don't want to chance the site going down for general users or conference attendees.

If you've followed the chat updates, you know we've spent a lot of time trying to make this feature work, but we're going to have to try to find an alternative solution. We'll keep you posted on our progress, and we gladly welcome suggestions.

Please ask questions in the comments. Sorry about this.

Jenny

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Discussion New Features: Font and Background Colors, Email Enhancements, Non-members in Networks, and More

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 03:13 pm

Here's a quick summary of several minor enhancements we've introduced during the last six weeks, along with a short timeline of exciting things to come in April.

Here's a quick summary of several minor enhancements we've introduced during the last six weeks, along with a short timeline of exciting things to come in April.

  1. Based on a past suggestion, ALA members can now add non-ALA members to their networks. This remains a member perk, so non-ALA members still can't have their own networks. This will be important in the future when your network will become another filter for finding relevant and interesting pieces of ALA and what's happening around the Association. We're also planning to implement the second piece of the suggestion, a "poll your network" feature.
  2. We've also made several improvements to online docs to make collaboration easier.
     
    • The WYSIWYG editor now lets you change font color and background so that you can indicate something that's changed or emphasize specific text in a different way. These color changes will also come through in the email notifications.
       
    • You can see the name of the person who last updated the online doc on both Connect and in the email notification.
       
    • When you're editing an online doc, there's a box called "revision information" where you can provide a summary of what you changed. Few people have been using this, but we've added the text you put in that box to the email notification in the hope that it will make it easier to tell what's going on without having to go look at the site. So as you edit an online doc, be sure to put a phrase or sentence in that "revision information" box to help your colleagues understand the changes you made.


       

  3. Also, whenever you post content to Connect now (not just for online docs), you'll get the exact same email notification that everyone else in the group is receiving. That way, you know the message went out and you can see what they see.

These changes have been well-received so far, so please let us know if they help improve how you interact with Connect. These are the visible changes you can see from the last two months, but there's been a lot more "behind-the-scenes" stuff going on to get ready for April, which is turning into a big month for us. Here's a quick run-down of some big projects we'll be unveiling in the next 30 days (no fooling).

  1. We're migrating the site to a new enterprise-level hosting environment so that we can restore chat and prepare for the onslaught of users we know will hit the site for Annual Conference. Uptime and speed for the win!
  2. After the dust from the migration has settled, the group-based file repositories will finally make their debut. They're oh-so-close to being ready, and I think you'll really like this new feature.
  3. We'll also be introducing a new "follow a group" feature that lets you subscribe to email notifications of public content from groups you're not a member of. More on that when it's ready.
  4. We've already started on the next phase of enhancements for the Conference Scheduler for the 2011 Annual Conference. New features will include file attachments with each session so that you can get all a program's materials in one place, seeing who's planning to attend a session (with folks from your network listed first), user-generated session tags, the ability to get email updates when a session's information changes, and more.

Yes, it's a very busy time for Connect right now, with still more to come. If you're interested in next steps, you can view the timeline for the rest of this fiscal year. We'll also be releasing our 2012 Roadmap in the near future.

Questions? Suggestions? Leave 'em in the comments.

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Discussion Help - I Can't Log in!

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 08:50 pm

Here's a checklist of reasons why your login might not be working if you're an ALA member. If you're not an ALA member, you should try resetting your password

Here's a checklist of reasons why your login might not be working if you're an ALA member. If you're not an ALA member, you should try resetting your password

  1. You need to be a current ALA member to log in with an existing ALA account. If your membership has expired, your ALA login won't work until you renew your membership. If you're not an ALA member and you haven't created an account on Connect before, you'll need to register first.

     

  2. If you checked the preference in your member profile on the ALA website to not appear in the member directory/Connect, you don't appear at all here on this site, because it serves as our new version of the directory. That also means you don't have access to Connect, though, because we can't hide you while also letting you participate.

    If you want to log in here, you'll need to log in to the ALA website, update your profile, and select the option to include yourself in Connect. Once you've saved this new preference, you should be able to log in to Connect using your ALA member information.

     

  3. The username and password you're using may be incorrect. To double-check that you're using the right ones, you can recover your login information on the ALA website.

     

  4. Please also note that you cannot use an organization's member login to access Connect, because the site is designed to run off individual accounts. This is because organizations can't join a committee, fill out a person's profile, participate in a discussion, join MentorConnect, etc. We welcome folks at institutions that are organizational members of ALA to create non-member accounts on the site in order to still participate in discussions.

     

  5. If you're still experiencing problems logging in, please use the contact us form or get help directly from our Customer Service department.
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