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Using LibGuides discussion boards (CMS only)

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Discussion boards (available with LibGuides CMS) are a platform for communicating with patrons and staff within LibGuides. There are four types of discussion boards available, two that display to the public and two that are only visible to logged-in staff users.

  • Public system discussion board: this is the primary discussion board for the general public. Each CMS system has one, which you can link to via the Discussions box on the LibGuides homepage.
  • Public guide discussion boards: if you'd like to facilitate a public discussion within your guide, you can add a discussion board page. This displays in the guide navigation just like a standard page, but will display a discussion board instead of the usual columns, boxes, and content items.
  • Internal system discussion board: this is a private discussion board that can only be accessed by logged-in users under Discussions > System Discussion Board. This is a great place for general conversations among staff.
  • Internal guide discussion boards: each guide has its own private discussion board, which is a great collaboration tool when working on a guide with multiple users. Not only can you share ideas and feedback, but it also gives you an easy way to look back on prior conversations about the guide.

Example of a public discussion board 

Organizing posts with tags

Although optional, tags can help you organize your discussions by topic. Similar to subject categories assigned to guides, tags allow users to more easily filter and browse related discussions. LibGuides allows you to create two different sets of tags: one set for use in public discussion boards and the other in your internal discussion boards. In both cases, these tags are centrally managed under Discussions > Manage Tags.

Only Admin users (and Regular users with the Manage Discussions permission) can create, edit, and delete tags. However, once created, any user can assign them to their discussions. A list of tags assigned to a board's discussions will appear on its homepage in the Discussion Tags box. Clicking on a tag will filter the discussion board accordingly.

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Patron accounts and public discussion boards

In order to participate in a public discussion board, a person must have a LibGuides user account. For staff members, this means they must have either an Admin, Regular, Editor, or Collaborator account. For the general public, they must have a LibApps patron account. This is a limited account that only allows users to add and reply to discussions, as well as comment on blog posts -- they are unable to actually log into your LibGuides staff interface.

There are a few ways to create a patron account:

  • Invitations: you can invite specific people to create a patron account, either individually or in bulk. This can be done by Admin users under Admin > Accounts > Invitations, as well as by guide owners/editors from a discussion board page in their guides. When send someone an invitation, they will receive an email containing a link they can click to finish the account creation process.
  • Bulk imports: a LibApps Admin can import patron accounts in bulk outside of LibGuides, in the LibApps > Admin > Manage Patron Accounts page. Unlike invitations, bulk importing does not require users to finish the account creation process on their own.
  • Self-registration: a LibApps Admin can also allow patrons to sign up for their own accounts on the fly, as long as their email address belongs to a list of accepted domain names you provide. (You must provide at least one allowed domain name in order to enable self-registration.)

Remember: a LibGuides Admin may not necessarily be a LibApps Admin, too, as these permissions are managed separately. You can see a current list of LIbApps Admins for your system on the LibApps dashboard. To get there, click on the blue LibGuides button in the navigation bar and select LibApps from the "Spring-To" dropdown menu.

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Creating and replying to discussions

There are two types of discussions you can have on a discussion board:

  • General discussion: this is simply an open-ended discussion thread on a topic. As the discussion progresses, any users can mark a reply as helpful. This will highlight the reply in the discussion thread, making it easier for all users to find the most helpful contributions.
  • Question: unlike an open-ended discussion, question discussions will close once a reply has been marked as the best answer. This will highlight that reply in the discussion thread, allowing everyone to quickly see the most useful answer to the original question.

To help you keep up to date, you can also subscribe to email notifications for any discussion. This will allow you to receive an email notification each time a new reply is posted to that discussion. For a public discussion board page added to a guide, the guide's owner & editors, as well as any Admin users, can choose to receive notifications for all activity on the discussion board, or just when new threads are created. 

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