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How to create and customize LibGuides groups (CMS only)

Groups are a CMS-only feature that allow you to organize related guides. Each group has its own homepage, look & feel options, and friendly URL. You can also restrict access to a group, as well, allowing you to create private or internal groups of guides. Not only can you control who can view guides, but also who can edit them, as well.

There are a lot of different ways you can use groups:

  • If you're using LibGuides as your library website, you could organize your subject guides in their own group. This would allow you to link to the group from your homepage, giving patrons an easy way to browse and search those guides.
  • If you have multiple branches, campus libraries, or schools sharing a single LibGuides system, you could create a group for each one. This would allow everyone to more easily manage their guides independently, while also making it easier for their patrons to search and browse the content specific to their branch, campus, or school.
  • You could create groups of guides for different collections or departments, such as local history, archives, or special collections.
  • You could also create groups of guides for different services, such as reference & research, geneaology, writing & citation help, or instruction.
  • If you would like to restrict certain guides to authenticated users, consider creating a restricted group. You could then apply either an IP-address or LibAuth authentication rule to restrict access to onsite or affiliated users, respectively.
  • You could use an internal group as a staff intranet space for sharing internal policies and information.

The By Group guide list on the homepage, expanded to show guides in a group 

Creating and managing groups

Only Admin users can create a new group. However, once created, they can elevate individual Regular users as group Admins. This will allow them to both add content to the group as well as manage its settings and look & feel. (Note: a Regular user must still have the Edit All Guides permission in order to edit guides they do not own.) This can be helpful, for instance, if you want to allow individual departments, branches, campuses, or schools to have more autonomy over a group's customizations without giving users full system-level Admin permissions.

There are three types of groups that you can create:

  • Public: Indexed; available to all.
    This group type is just as it says: all published content is available to anyone & everyone visiting your site. All published content is indexed and will appear in search results. 
    • Use when: you want your content to be easily accessible & searchable.
  • Restricted: Indexed; available if in the right IP range, authenticated via LibAuth, and/or with the password.
    This group type is almost like Public, except that anyone visiting your site has to have the right access permissions in order to see the content. This means being in the IP range(s) set for the group, authenticating with the LibAuth authentication rule set for the group, or having the password. All content is indexed, so it will appear in search results -- but only if the user is within the accepted IP range(s). To view content in a restricted group, the user must similarly be within the accepted IP range(s), authenticated with LibAuth, and/or have the password.
    • Use when: you want to limit access to the content of your group.
  • Internal: Not indexed; available to account holders.
    The type of group is the most restrictive. In order to even view content in an internal group, a user must both be logged into LibApps and have at least Read-Only permissions in the group's User Access settings. When a logged-in user has access to an internal group, its guides will still display throughout your LibGuides site in guide lists and search results. If a user is not logged in or does not have access to the group, they will not see any of the group's content.
    • Use when: you only want account holders to have access to the published content.

User access

Each group has its own separate set of permissions, allowing you to give certain levels of access to different users. For example, you could give a Regular user access to one group but not another. Combined with a user's LibGuides account level, group permissions determine just what a user can and cannot do in a group.

LibGuides Account Level Group Access Level Add guides to the group? Edit guides in the group? View guides? Customize group settings?
Admin Admin Yes Yes, all guides Yes Yes
Regular (w/ Edit All Guides permission) Admin Yes Yes, all guides Yes Yes
Regular (w/ Edit All Guides permission) Regular Yes Yes, all guides Yes No
Regular Admin Yes Only the guides they own or to which they've been assigned as editors Yes Yes
Regular Regular Yes Only the guides they own or to which they've been assigned as editors Yes No
Editor or Contributor Regular No Only those to which they've been assigned as editors Yes No
Regular, Regular (w/ Edit All Guides permission), Editor, or Contributor Read-only (only applies to Internal groups) No No, not even guides they own Yes, but only via the public pages No
Regular, Regular (w/ Edit All Guides permission), Editor, or Contributor None No No, not even guides they own Yes, except for:
  • Restricted groups, if they are outside of the allowed IP range or LibAuth rules
  • Internal groups
Please note that Admin users automatically have Admin access to all groups in your system. It is not possible to remove an Admin user's access to a group; however, if a group is Restricted with IP-address access rules, you can prevent an Admin from viewing and editing the group's guide's if their IP does not fall within the allowed range(s). Keep in mind, however, that Admins can always edit or remove these IP access rules at any time. If you have confidential information or documents you do not want all Admin users to see, therefore, consider uploading the files to a platform like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive, which have more restrictive file sharing controls. You could then link to those files or folders from a guide in your Internal group. 

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Customizing a group's look & feel

By default, a group will simply inherit the look & feel settings from Admin > Look & Feel. However, you can completely customize each group individually -- whether it's adding onto your system-level styles, or giving the site a completely unique design. Each group has it's own header or banner image; footer; tab & box options; custom JS/CSS code; homepage layout; default guide layout; and language options. Whether or not you choose to include or exclude your system-level settings is entirely up to you. This can be really helpful if you want a group to have its own branding or identity -- even if it's just a different banner image. 

Plus, the changes you make to one group will not affect any other groups or your system-level settings. This means if you ever need to experiment with a new look and feel for the rest of your site, you could create an Internal group to use as a sandbox. That way, you can mockup a new header, try out some new CSS code, or test out changes to a brand new guide template -- all without affecting your public pages.

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Assigning a guide to a group

A guide can be assigned to a group either when creating the guide, or at any time by editing the guide. In order for a user to assign a guide to a group, they must have either Regular or Admin permissions to that group. These can be assigned in both the group's User Access settings, as well as an individual user's LibGuides account settings.

In addition, if an Admin or guide owner is adding a Regular, Editor, or Contributor user as an editor to a guide, and the guide belongs to a group to which the user does not have access, that user will be given Regular-level group access automatically. This will allow them to edit the guide right away.

Because Admin users have access to all groups, they can also assign a guide to any group in the system. Please be careful when doing this, as the guide owner will be unable to edit their guide if they do not also have Regular or Admin access to the group.

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