Create and publish an FAQ from scratch

LibAnswers allows you to create an online knowledge base of questions and answers that your patrons can access 24/7. These questions and answers are called FAQs

Within LibAnswers, FAQs are organized in one or more groups. Each group can then be further organized by topic and keyword, which allows your patrons to more easily browse and search for the most relevant FAQs.

Every group has its own set of customizable webpages, which serves as the public interface for searching and browsing the FAQs in that group. Your LibAnswers system will have a default FAQ group, which actually serves as the homepage for your entire system. However, you can create as many groups as you like. This can help you organize your FAQs by department or service, such as:

  • General research & reference questions
  • Citation questions
  • Tech support questions
  • Library policy questions
  • Electronic resources questions & how-to's

Groups can have different access levels, too, which means you can make some FAQs public and others private. That gives you the ability to use LibAnswers as an internal staff knowledge base, with FAQs that are only accessible to logged-in staff members. This can really come in handy for things like internal policies, passwords, ready reference resources, emergency procedures, etc.

In addition, you can control which staff users can view, edit, and manage FAQs in each group. This can help you delegate the responsibility for maintaining each group to the appropriate departments or individuals.


Create a new FAQ from scratch

  1. Go to Answers > Create.
  2. On the Create page, click on the FAQ tab.
  3. Under the FAQ tab, select the Group to which you want to assign this FAQ.
  4. In the Question field, enter the text of the FAQ's question. This effectively serves as the title of your FAQ and is what users will click on to view the content of the FAQ's answer.
    1. Not sure if this question has already been answered? Use the Helpful Tools box to search your knowledge base explorer for existing FAQs.
    2. Optionally, you can use the Details field to provide more context to the question. Since the Question field is limited to 255 characters, this gives you more space to elaborate.
  5. Click the Save Question and Continue button. This will create your FAQ and take you to the FAQ editor page where you can start adding content.

Options for creating an FAQ

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Editing an FAQ's answer

After creating your FAQ, the next step is to provide an answer. You can either create an answer from scratch, or reuse an existing one. You can even created linked answers, whereby your new FAQ's answer will be mapped to another FAQ entry. That way, when the answer of the FAQ you're linking to is updated, your new FAQ's answer will also update automatically. This can be helpful if you want to answer the same question in multiple groups, or if you want to provide the same answer to different questions.

Create and edit an answer's text

  1. Under the FAQ's Answer tab, use the rich text editor to add and customize the text of your answer. 
    • This is a familiar WYSIWYG editor very much like you'd see in Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
    • You can use the text editor to apply styles, paragraph formats, and font changes. It also has the ability to insert lists, block quotes, links, images, and tables.
    • Need more space to work? Click on the Maximize () button to go full screen. Click it again to switch back to in-page mode.
    • Tip: right-click on most elements to access a Properties menu with additional features. For example, right-click on a numbered list to change the numbering style or starting number.
  2. Click the Save Answer Text button each time you want to save your changes.
    1. Changes you make to the last saved version are temporarily stored in your browser's local storage. That way, in case you accidentally leave the page without saving, your most recent changes will still be there when you go back. If you would like to clear those changes and revert to the last saved version, click the Clear Draft Text button.

The rich text editor under the Answer tab

Reusing answers from other FAQs or tickets

If a particular question has already been answered in whole or part by other FAQs or tickets, you can reuse those existing answers in your new FAQ.

  1. Click on the Reuse Answers panel to expand it.
    1. At the top, you'll find groups of recommendations based upon your question and details. Click on the Show link next to each group to view them.
      • Recommendations from your system (FAQs): this will show you the most relevant FAQs from your groups.
      • Recommendations from your system (private): this will show you the most relevant tickets from your queues.
      • Recommendations from your related institutions: if you are using shared systems, this will show you the most relevant FAQs from the systems with which you're sharing.
    2. To view an answer, click on its question link to open it in a new window.
    3. If you would like to copy the text of that answer, click on its  Copy button and it will be inserted in the rich text editor (caution: this will overwrite any text already added to the text editor).
      • In addition to the answer text, attached files, links, and/or media will also be copied.
      • Topics and keywords, however, are not copied.
    4. If you would prefer to link your answer to that of the existing FAQ, click on the  Link to button (caution: this will replace any text already added to the text editor).
      • While linked, you will not be able to customize the answer text for this FAQ. It will always display the answer text of the FAQ you're linking to.
      • However, when the answer you're linking to is updated, the answer text in your linked FAQ will be updated automatically (similar to mapped pages and boxes in LibGuides).
      • This can be helpful if you want to answer the same question in multiple groups, or if you want to provide the same answer to different questions.
    5. To revise the list of recommended answers, you can run your own search. Enter your terms in the Keyword field and click the Search button.
    6. If you already know which FAQ you want to reuse, enter its Question ID in the Copy/Link an Answer field and click the Load Answer button (caution: this will overwrite any text already added to the text editor).
      • If you want to link to that existing FAQ, select the Link Answer checkbox. Otherwise, deselect it to copy the answer text instead.
      • You can also copy answers from tickets, as well. Just enter the ticket's ID and switch the dropdown from FAQ Entry to Ticket.
  2. If you've copied an answer, you can edit the text under the Answer tab.
    • If you linked to an answer, it will appear on the page in place of the text editor.
    • A blue alert at the top of the page will let you know the answer is linked. A button in that alert will allow you to unlink the answer at any time.

The Reuse Answers options

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Add files, links, and media

Along with your answer text, you can also add related files, links, and embedded media content (e.g. videos) to your FAQ.

Attaching files

You can allow users to download files related to your FAQ, such as PDFs or Word documents. Uploaded files will display under the Links & Files section on the FAQ's public page.

  1. Click on the Files tab. (The number in parentheses will indicate how many files are currently attached.)
  2. Drag and drop the file(s) you want to upload into the gray uploader area, or click on it to browse for the file(s) on your computer (maximum size of 20 MB).
  3. Click the Upload Files button to upload them to LibAnswers and attach them to your FAQ. 
    1. Click the Reorder button to rearrange the list of attached files.
    2. Click on the edit () icon next to a file to rename the download link or replace the existing file.
    3. Click the trash can () icon next to a file to remove it.

Options under the Files tab

Adding links

You can add links to other sites, or even to other FAQs in your LibAnswers groups. Links will display on under the Links & Files section on the FAQ's public page.

  1. Click on the Links tab. (The number in parentheses will indicate how many links are currently attached.) 
    1. Click on the Add Link button to add a new link. You will be prompted to enter a name and URL for the link.
    2. Click the Add Link to FAQ button to easily add a link to another FAQ in your system. You will be prompted to search for the FAQ by keyword.
    3. Click the Reorder button to rearrange the position of the links on the page. 
    4. Click on the edit () icon next to a link to rename it or change its URL.
    5. Click the trash can () icon next to a link to remove it.

Options under the Links tab

Embedding media

You can embed media, such as YouTube or Vimeo videos, directly into your FAQ -- all you need is the HTML embed code provided by the service. Embedded content will display under the Media section on the FAQ's public page.

  1. Click on the Media tab. (The number in parentheses will indicate how many media items are currently embedded.)
  2. Click the Add Media Item button. You will be prompted to enter the title and HTML embed code for your media item.
    1. Click the Reorder button to rearrange the position of the media items on the page.
    2. Click on the edit () icon next to a media item to rename it or modify its embed code.
    3. Click the trash can () icon next to a media item to remove it.

CAUTION: do not add any <script> tags that include the jQuery javascript library (i.e. jquery.min.js). If those are present in your code, please remove them before saving.

LibAnswers already loads jQuery on every page. If it's also included in your embedded media, it will create a conflict causing the page to stop working correctly and prevent you from making edits. If this happens, please contact Springy Support.

Options under the Media tab

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Assign topics and keywords

Topics

Within each group, your FAQs can be organized by topics. When a user is viewing your group's homepage, they'll see an option to browse FAQs by topic. They'll also be able to filter search results by topic, as well. In addition, topics can also be used to create customized FAQ List widgets.

To assign topics to your FAQ:

  1. In the Topics box, click on the Select Topics to Add dropdown.
  2. Click the checkbox next to each topic you want to add.
    • Can't find the topic you want? Select the Add New Topic option.
    • Once you click the Add button, you will be prompted to enter a name for your new topic.
    • Once added, you will be able to reuse that topic with other FAQs in that same group.
  3. Click the Add button.
    1. To remove a topic from your FAQ, click on the minus () icon next to it.

Options in the Topics box

Keywords

Keywords are very similar to topics in that they help your users to find the most relevant FAQs. The big difference, however, is that your keywords run primarily behind the scenes. You will see your keywords displayed as a filter for search results, but other than there your users will not see the keywords as they navigate through your site. They are used to display the most relevant search results and for direct matching via the auto-suggest list when searching.

To assign keywords to your FAQ:

  1. In the Keywords box, begin typing your keyword in the text field.
    • As you type, a list of recommended keywords from your group will appear automatically.
    • If the keyword you want to use already exists, click on it in the list to add it to your FAQ.
  2. Once you've finished typing, click the Add button or press Enter to assign it to your FAQ.
    • To remove a keyword from your FAQ, click on the minus () icon next to it.

Options in the Keywords box

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Preview and publish your FAQ

  1. If you're ready to publish your FAQ, click on the Change Status button.
    1. Don't forget to save your answer text if you haven't already!
    2. To preview how your FAQ's public page looks at any time, click on the Preview button.
      • This will open the FAQ in a new window.
      • The FAQ will be opened in "preview mode". This means your view won't be counted towards the FAQ's public page view statistics.
  2. In the Edit Status window, use the Current Status dropdown to select a new status for the FAQ.
    • Unpublished Draft: This is the initial status of new FAQs, indicating that the answer still in progress. FAQs with this status are not visible to the public.
    • Published: FAQs with this status will appear to the public.
    • Unpublished: FAQs with this status will not appear to the public.
  3. If you would like to schedule this status change for a future date, select the Schedule a status change checkbox and select a date.
    • Otherwise, leave this checkbox empty to change the FAQ's status immediately.
  4. Click the Save button.

The Edit Status window

Sharing your FAQ on Twitter

If you've connected a Twitter account to one of your ticket queues, you can use it to also share your FAQ on Twitter.

  1. Click on the Tweet this answer panel to expand it.
  2. If only one Twitter account is connected, its handle will display. Otherwise, you will be able to select from one of the available Twitter accounts to use.
  3. Initially, only the FAQ URL will be included. Feel free to add additional text to your tweet, using the counter to keep track of how many characters you have left.
  4. Click the Tweet button. Please keep in mind that the general public will only be able to view your FAQ if:
    • The FAQ's status is Published.
    • The FAQ belongs to a group with an availability set to Public/Open or Hidden.

Tweet this Answer options

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