Getting Started
using the new Amherst College Website


What is new about the Amherst Website?

The college is implementing a new way of publishing and managing content on its Website. This new system (called a Content Management System) allows you to interact with and publish content on the Amherst College Website without needing to know any code. By logging into the Amherst College Website, you can add comments to articles and blogs (what is a blog?), and create your own pages, blogs and RSS feeds (what is RSS?).

The Amherst Website is being moved into the new system in sections. The first to move was the Alumni & Parents section, in January of 2007. Over 2007 and 2008, most or all of the Amherst site will be moved into the new system. This guide shows how to use the parts of the site that have been moved into the new system.

How do I access these new features and publish content?

When you visit the Amherst College Website through your browser (Firefox or Internet Explorer), you'll see that some sections have a "Log in" link in the right-hand column. Log in, then click on one of the left-hand links to go to a page that you want to edit. If the page is in the new system, and you have permission to edit that page, a toolbar will appear on the webpage, with tabs for "content" and "settings." Under these tabs, and under the items on the page, you will see links to edit and add content.

What's what in the new site? (Show me what all these things are!)

screenshot of Amherst CMS webpage wih features labeled.

What's the difference between “my portal” and “my homepage”?

Your portal is the first page you see after you've logged in with your password. This page is for you to look at and read—you can add to your portal any news feeds you're interested in reading regularly. For instance, if you're a sports fan, you could add the Athletics feed to your portal; then, whenever you log in, you'd see the latest Athletics headlines.

Your homepage is a page you create for other people to see, to read about you. You might post pictures of yourself, and post articles about your interests and what you've been up to lately.

How do I create an article?

  1. After logging in and navigating to the page where you wish to add an article, click the "add" link under the "contents" tab.
  2. You will be asked to choose the type of content you wish to create. Click on "article."
  3. Enter a title for your article. This will be the headline at the top of your article.
    CMS text editor
  4. Type or paste your text into the "Contents" area. Use the icons to bold or italicize text, make lists, align your text to the left, center, or right, and to add links. (If you know HTML, you may also use some code if you wish.)
  5. Add some "Tags" to help people find your page (what are tags?).
  6. At the bottom of the page, click the "Submit" button. This saves your article. By default, your article appears on the page where you originally clicked "add."

How do I create a page?

  1. After logging in and navigating to the section of the site where you wish to add a page, click the "settings" tab and "add sub-page."
  2. Under "General settings," enter a title for your page. If you want your page to be listed in the left-hand navigation menu, the title will be used for the link name, so make it brief!
  3. Enter a URL name. This is the name that will appear in your page's Web address (
  4. Click "Permissions" to choose who will be able to read and/or edit your page.
  5. Click "Appearance" to choose how the page will appear in the left-hand navigation menu. To list your page in the left-hand navigation menu, choose "use parent's location."
  6. Click the "Create sub-page" button. Your page will now be listed in alphabetical order in the left-hand navigation menu. You can now add articles and other content to your page.

What are tags?

Tags are keywords or categories that someone might use to find your page when searching. For instance, if your page is about Ulysses, you might enter the tags: Ulysses, James Joyce, Stephen Dedalus, Leopold Bloom, modernism, Dublin, June 16. The tags you create will appear under your article or other content. Clicking on a tag will take you to a list of items on the Amherst Website that have the same tag.

What is a blog?

A blog (short for "web log") is a journal where you can post an entry and other people can post comments about your entry. As the blog author, your entries will appear as the main text, while comments will appear in boxes underneath each entry. You can choose in your settings who can read your blog and who can post comments.

How do I create a blog?

You can create a blog by making a page and allowing people to comment on articles you post on the page. When creating an article, under the "content" tab scroll down to "Comments settings." Choose "Read/Write: Everyone can add comments."

Who can see my page or my blog? Can I make my content private?

You can set the permissions on your content so that it can be seen (or not seen) by anyone you wish:

After logging in, go to your article and click "edit," then the "settings" tab. Click "Permissions." You will see a range of options, including "Who can read this page." Under "Who can read this page" you can add groups, individuals, or you can simply check "Everyone."

By default, "Everyone" is checked. So if you want to keep your content private, uncheck "Everyone" and don't add any groups or individuals.

How can I control who can add comments to my article?

After logging in, go to the article for which you wish to control the commenting. Click the "edit" link, which will appear either under the "contents" tab or under the individual article if you have more than one article on your page. Scroll down the page and click on "Comments" to see your options.

How do I find people's homepages and contact information?

After logging in, either search the person's name in the "Search content" field in the right column, or click "Find alumni." You may also search the Campus Directory to find basic contact information for students, faculty and staff.

How can I add a photograph to my page?

First, you'll want to upload the photograph. After logging in, click "add" under the "contents" tab, then choose "file upload." Enter a brief title for your picture. The title of your picture won't show, but is important because it will describe the picture for people with visual impairments who can't see the picture. (If you are uploading some other kind of media file, such as an audio file, the title will appear next to the audio link.) Enter a caption if you wish. Do enter tags for your photograph, which will help people find it. Then, next to the "File to upload" box, click the "Browse" button to find the photograph file on your computer. Adjust the permissions and comment settings if you wish, then click "Submit."

Now you'll want to insert the photograph in your article. Go to your article and click "edit." In the "Contents" toolbar, click the tree icon.

Screenshot showing how to insert a picture.

After inserting your image, you can align it to the left or right to make the text wrap around it.

When you're done inserting and aligning your photograph, click "Submit."

What is RSS?

RSS stands for "really simple syndication" or "rich site summary" and is a method by which you can subscribe to a Website's news stories, blog entries, or other content. The RSS feed will appear in your browser's Bookmarks or Favorites, or on any Webpage that you add the feed to. Generally a feed consists of a list of titles, or a list of titles with brief descriptions; each title will have a link to the full story on the originating Website.

If you use the Firefox browser, anytime you come across a page with an RSS feed, you'll see this icon in your address bar: RSS You can click on the icon to subscribe to the feed. After subscribing, you'll see the site's headlines listed in your bookmarks.

In the new sections of the Amherst site, content is automatically formatted to be available as an RSS feed.

How can I add someone else's RSS feed to my page?

After logging in, go to the page you wish to add the feed to. Under the "contents" tab, click "add." Choose "RSS feed." Enter a title that describes the feed, such as "Amherst College News Releases." Then do one of the following:

How can I create my own RSS feed so that people can subscribe to my page?

Content within the new sections of the Amherst site is automatically available as RSS. If you use the Firefox browser, you'll notice the RSS icon in the address bar when viewing your page. That means that the content is available as RSS.

How can I make my article appear on more than one page?

After logging in, go to your article and click "edit." Under the "contents" tab, scroll down and click "Pages." Click the "Add" button to add the pages on which you wish your article to appear.

Are there any restrictions on what I can post?

Restrictions and guidelines are outlined in the college's Terms & Conditions of Use and Privacy Policy.