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Always Link to Public URLs in Ag CMS

When you are sharing a link to an item in your Ag CMS site, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the web address (URL) of the item as you see it when logged into Ag CMS and the URL of the item as the public sees it. The two URLs can be similar but the place each of them leads is very different.

Whenever you share a link to an item on your Ag CMS site, whether you are posting a link to Facebook, sending it by email, printing it in a newsletter or creating an external link to it on your site, your should always use the public URL, not the URL you see as a logged-in Ag CMS user.

If the URL starts with "https://" and/or has "misc-sites," "rec-sites," "county-sites" or "academic-sites" in it, it is a URL intended only for Ag CMS users, not the public. In most cases, if you share that URL with someone they will be redirected to the Ag CMS login page when they click it.

Ag CMS URLs intended for the public start with "http://" and should never contain "misc-sites," "rec-sites," "county-sites" or "academic-sites." For example, when I am logged in to Ag CMS and view the NDSU Extension website, I see it at this URL, If you click that link, you will probably be prompted for an Ag CMS username and password. When you view the NDSU Extension website, you are seeing it at the URL, At that URL, anyone will be able to see published items in the site without logging in to Ag CMS.

Always use the public URL when sharing published Ag CMS items, even if you are sharing them with other Ag CMS users. It's the best way to be sure the people you are sharing with will be able to see what you want them to see.

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

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New Feature in Ag CMS: Upload Multiple Files

so many filesThis new feature will save you time if you need to upload multiple items to Ag CMS. All you need to do is add a portlet and upload your files. Find out how to use the Quick Upload portlet.

Photo courtesy of Business Insider

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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Ag Google Custom Search Explained

The Google Custom Search box on Ag CMS and some other Ag websites searches only the Web servers that Ag Comm is aware of that host content for NDSU Agriculture and Extension. It is not a full Google function that searches the entire Web. The box is in the upper right on computers and tablets, and in the black footer on mobile devices

Here are the sites the Ag Google Custom Search now includes:

If you’re aware of sites that should be added, let Roger Egeberg know.

Search is usually a quicker way to find information than navigation. Just be sure to use words that are as specific as possible. For example, searching for “mold” in our Google Custom Search will provide results on mold in homes, white mold on vegetables and mold in stored corn. But searching for “white mold soybeans” gets you right to that information.

Also, write Web documents so keywords are in headlines and subheads and at the beginning of paragraphs. Writing for the Web is much different than writing for print, so follow these guidelines.

Another useful Google Custom Search is that searches Extension websites from around the country.

Becky Koch, Ag Communication Director, (701) 231-7875

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Easier to Categorize Content in Ag CMS

With the recent 4.1 upgrade in Ag CMS, it’s easier for you categorize or “tag” items, making it easier for your readers to get the content they’re looking for.

Why Tag Your Content?

Categorization/tags are useful in grouping entries by topic, author or date. Tag searches can get you better results than if you’re just searching for words in the title or body of an entry.

Example: a story from Food Wise magazine about the food safety of canned food is excerpted on a page on Ag CMS. Note that at the bottom of the story (whether on mobile or desktop/tablets) the “food safety” tag appears.

 Food Wise tag

When you click on the food safety tag more than 2 pages of results are displayed, so readers can get all content (videos, publications, news items, events, etc.) associated  with “food safety”.

Easy  to add tag/categories

Perhaps the hardest part of adding tags/categories is that you may forget to do it! But it’s easy to do, and you start right from the Edit menu.

Under the Edit menu is a gray banner where you can choose “Categorization”.  Just mark the box to the left of tag you want.

tags in Ag CMS
Some notes:

  • Choose as many as many as are relevant.
  • The list is compiled numerically first, alphabetically with first word capitalized, and then alphabetically with lower case.  Nine are displayed at a time.
  • There are some duplicate or similar tags. For instance, there’s “Dairy” and “dairy”. Or “Flea Beetle” and Flea Beetles”. Choose all that are relevant.
  • Your tag(s) will display to the right of the list. To remove a tag, just uncheck the box next to the tag.

If you don’t see the tag you’re looking for, you can add one in the paragraph box below the list. You can enter one tag per line. Multiple words are allowed.

Easier to add tag/categories

Before the recent 4.1 upgrade, marking categories was more tricky, having to use Ctrl + Shift keys to select multiple tags. Now you just have to check a box!

Another improvement in choosing categories is that you can jump to a selection without having to page down. Just hover over any  tag and then type the first letter you’re looking for (so “a” if you’re looking for “aphids”), and it will get you to the top of that list, starting with that letter. The new design decreases the amount of scrolling.

If you have any questions about tags/categories in Ag CMS, please contact me or Bob Bertsch/(701) 231-7381. 

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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Learning Opportunity: Twitter Cohort

Twitter logoThe Twitter Cohort is a free learning experience presented by the eXtension network Literacy Community of Practice, beginning October 21, 2013.

It is designed to help you adapt to the culture of Twitter by building a sense of social comfort,creating a community of learners to learn with and providing “guides” to help you find your way.

In the Twitter Cohort, you will learn by doing. Over the course of 4 weeks:

  • You’ll build your Twitter personal learning network centered around your interests.
  • You’ll engage in conversations with a Twitter community that starts with your fellow cohort members and reaches across the world.
  • You’ll start online relationships that will last into the future.
  • You’ll begin to see how Twitter can be used for teaching, learning, and connecting.

To find out more and register. go to

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381
Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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Facebook Changes Contest Rules

photo by the past, Facebook required businesses and organizations to use a third-party app to operate contests or promotions on their Facebook pages. If you wanted, for example, to post a trivia question to your Facebook page and ask your followers to try answer that question in the comments to the post, you were only operating within Facebook's terms of service if you did not offer any prize. If you wanted to offer any prize, no matter how small, you had to use a third-party Facebook app run your contest.

Now Facebook has changed their terms of service, so you can run a contest or promotion on your Facebook page without using a third-party app.You can now:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism

You can only do these things on a Facebook Page. Running contests on a personal Facebook profile is still prohibited. Facebook also still has some restrictions for how you run contests on your page (see their announcement for more), but it is definitely much easier to run a contest now.

If you do choose to run a contest on your Facebook page, make sure you have a good plan for how you are going to receive entries, what qualifies as an entry, how you are going to contact the winner and how you are going distribute the prize. You can really hurt your social reputation by running a contest that is disorganized or that people perceive as being unfair.

(Photo by xxrobot via Flickr)

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

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Add a Portlet to the Left Side of Your Ag CMS Site

There's a little trick you need to do when adding a portlet to the left side of your website in Ag CMS. It's a best practice to make sure the navigation is at the top of your site. To do this, you need to hide the existing navigation portlet and re-add it, along with your new portlet. Then you can go in and move the position of each portlet. See this video to learn how (4:39):


Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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Beware! Facebook Page Verification Scam

If you are a Facebook Page owner or admin, you might receive a message about the "Facebook Page Verification Program." It is touted as a new security feature, but it is NOT real. This hoax is designed to phish for your personal information.

The message will read something like:

"Dear Facebook User,

You are receiving this message to notify you about the new security feature from Facebook called "Fan Page Verification Program".

After many Fan Pages have been stolen lately leaving us no choice but Deleting them forever, we had to come up with an original solution about the Fan Page's Security..."

If you receive a message like this one, don't open any links or attachments.

Sophos has more information about this hoax in the article, Phishers try flattery with Facebook Page owners.

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

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Some Ag CMS Portlets To Be Removed

Portlets are pre-programmed, templated tools that allow you to dynamically or creatively display content in the left and right side columns, as well as above and below content in Ag CMS desktop view. In mobile Ag CMS, portlets appear below the content.

There are currently 19 portlets available on the Ag Content Management System (Ag CMS), but some of those portlets offer little or no value or are not being used. In an effort to simplify the management of portlets, our Ag CMS team will be making some portlets unavailable beginning on May 24, 2013.

Read our post, "Ag CMS Portlets To Be Made Unavailable," for a full list of the portlets being removed and more information on the process.

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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