Public & visitor feedback
Collections (beta)

Why use Collections?

Collections can be used to help Mass.gov visitors more easily find pages, external links, or documents that are grouped together.
An ideal use for Collections would be to make the contents within a very long Curated List (say 50 or more items) searchable by title and topic. In this example, you’d unpublish the Curated List upon publishing the Collection and request a redirect.
We are also using Collections to replace the legacy WordPress blogs on blog.mass.gov, and additional configuration options (including a variety of colors) are available for this use.

Creating and editing Collections

Collections, as well as the topics and subtopics within them, are created on behalf of authors by the Mass.gov team.
Please fill out a Collection request form and then file a ServiceNow request letting us know that you’ve done so.
You should fill in the following information in the Collection request form:
  • Collection name
  • Parent page of the collection (which will be in a breadcrumb)
  • Main collection breadcrumb link (from a subtopic collection page, this will be the label for a breadcrumb link back to all items in the Collection)
  • Topics
  • Default sort order of the Collection
  • Sort options to offer on the page for visitors
  • Whether to show only future events (for Collections that contain events)
The name of your Collection will be the main heading on the listing page and your topics and subtopic names will be filters. Currently, only top-level topics will be included on the main collection page. In the future, it will be possible to expand topics to see subtopics. Currently, you can link to a page that links directly to a topic view of a collection.
The search interface for Collections can be displayed on Promotional or Organization pages (also soon on the Service page). Collections boast a keyword filter that searches based on page or document titles and short descriptions (not the full text of the content). Some simple search logic is used to account for word variations.
Example of search box embedded on a page
Example of what a Collection might look like (this was created by the Mass.gov team on a test server)

Tagging content & managing Collections

Once Collections, topics, and subtopics are published by the Mass.gov team, you can tag content to appear under any of them. The following may be included in a collection:
  • Advisory
  • Binder
  • Curated List
  • Decision
  • Documents
  • Event
  • Executive Order
  • Form
  • Guide
  • How-to
  • Information Details
  • Location
  • News
  • Regulation
  • Rules of Court
  • Service
  • Service Details
This can be done via a new Collections field in the CMS found near the bottom of the first editing tab of each content type listed above.
If you wish to add content to a Collection you must select at least 1 Collection. You also can check 1 or more topics or subtopics within that Collection.
By default, checking a topic or subtopic will select the Collection also, but an author should be sure not to inadvertently unselect the Collection.
Topics are shown when you click to expand a Collection, and subtopics are shown when you click to expand a topic.
Collections field
Note: At least initially, all Collections across Mass.gov will be shown in this field.
You can tag or remove a tag from content at any time. But if you want to make changes to the name of a Collection, topic, or subtopic after they have been created, you’ll need to file a ServiceNow request to have the Mass.gov team make the change. The same goes for changing the order of topics or subtopics, or removing or adding them.
We’ve also created a content type called External link for Collections that will let you tag external links so that they’re included in Collections. This type lets you enter a link title, URL, and description. Currently, these are only being used with Collections.

Tagging in bulk

Mass.gov pages can be tagged in bulk if you have many items to add to a Collection.
Use the “Reports” menu to find ways to add collection tagging to pages or documents in batches of 25 at a time.

Displaying your Collections

Collections can be displayed on Mass.gov in a few ways:
  1. 1.
    Displaying a Collection's search interface on an Organization or Promotional page. You can customize the headings and link text in this interface and add up to two links on the right side of the interface. as well as a link to see all contents of the Collection at once.
All text can be customized. It is required to have a “See all” link, but the secondary link is optional.
Collection search interface
2. Linking to a Collection page from anywhere on the site. Your Collection page will have a URL that you can easily see by clicking the “See all” link from the component above. The search component isn’t necessary to use a Collection. You could just link directly to a Collection. When your Collection is created, we will tell you what that link is.
3. Linking to a Collection topic page from anywhere on the site. Currently, these pages are not directly linked from the Collection page but that is in our roadmap. If you want to link to one of these pages, we will tell you the link URLs when we create your topics for you. One possible use for these for a large collection with many topics is to have a link to each topic page below the search component. Collection pages and collection topic pages show the title and description of items in the Collection. Some content types also show additional information. For example, News items will include the featured image, How-To pages will show the Quick Action links, and Events will include the date and time.
Collection pages and Collection topic pages will also include a filter to narrow down a search by topics or subtopics . The breadcrumbs above the Collection topic page title can take you back to higher-level Collection topic pages or to the main Collection page.

Sort Options

When a Collection is created, you must specify the default sort method, and optionally, other sort options for the public to see.
  • Alpha ascending
  • Alpha descending
  • Publish date ascending
  • Publish date descending
  • Event date ascending
  • Event date descending
You will only want to use or offer publish date sort for content where the publish date has been specified. Similarly, you should only use or offer event date sorting for collections that will only contain events.