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Add Questions
A navigation link that takes administrators and contributors to a blank Question form to add new questions.

Action link
A text link that triggers a specific action. The item next to the action link is affected by the action. The text of the link spells out what the action is. The Edit link, for example, launches the Edit screen for the specific item. The Publish link causes the related item to be published.

A person with a valid BU login who is granted administrative privileges in the FAQ system. Administrators can:

  • Add and remove users as administrators or contributors
  • Edit questions
  • Change Question Status
  • Create, edit, publish, unpublish, and organize topics and subtopics
  • Assign and disable custom templates
  • Preview the search regardless of publishing status
  • See departmental statistics


A person with a valid BU login who is granted contributing privileges in the FAQ system. Contributors can:

  • Add questions
  • Assign the added questions to topics in which they have contributor privileges


The highest level of classification within the FAQ system. Questions are categorized first by department. Inside departments, questions are categorized by the topic and subtopic levels. Each question is tied to at least one department, topic and possibly subtopic.



Edit Questions
The main screen of the administrative system. This screen is displayed automatically when you log into the admin system. From this screen you can search and manipulateall the questions that are displayed in the search results area. Results are ordered by department, topic, subtopic. Results are limited to the selected question status . The tree control contains all departments in which you have administrative privileges.



Frequently Asked Question. A question and answer pair. Boston University has a University-wide FAQ system that allows departments to serve their FAQs on the Web. FAQs can be searched by the public using search terms or browsed by department, topic, or subtopic.



Additional information provided in the link to the FAQ search page restricting users to specified levels of the FAQ system. Parameters are attached to the web address of the search page in the href attribute of the <a> tag. The parameters allow you to restrict the user's entrance to the search page to a specific department (category), topic (sc), subtopic (tc), or question (id).

The status of a topic, subtopic, or question entered into the FAQ system but not yet published. All questions added by contributors are automatically marked as pending. An administrator needs to review and publish the question before it appears in the FAQ search results.

Preview Answer
A link in the Questions form that shows the current answer as HTML in a pop-up window. You can check the display and links that you included in the answer. The pop-up window allows you to follow the links. If the answer contains links, there is a navigation toolbar so you can return to the preview after following a link. Use the Close the preview link to deactivate the pop-up window.

Departments that have excluded their FAQs from the University-wide search page. The questions within that department are retrieved via a departmental search page.

Departments that serve their FAQs to the general public in the University-wide search page. Departments that decide to exclude their FAQs from the public are refered to as private.

An item that is marked to be displayed in the search results. Departments, topics, subtopics, and questions need to be marked as published in order to appear in the search results and the selections of the tree control. All levels (question, subtopic, topic, department) need to be published for a department's FAQs to be served on the Web.


The frequently asked question paired with the according answer. Also referred to as an FAQ. Each question is assigned to at least one topic/subtopic within a specific department. Questions can have multiple assignments to different topics and subtopics.

Question form
The HTML form used for editing and adding questions. All steps are numbered and instructions guide the user through the editing process. Please read the Admin Help for the Questions form to learn more about how to edit questions.

Question number
Each question in the Boston University FAQ System is assigned a unique identification number. Any question can be retrieved by its identification number. The question number does not reflect the quantity of questions in your department. To see statistics for your department, use the statistics function in the FAQ Admin system.
The question number is assigned when you add a new question. It is displayed in the FAQ search page, the Questions form, and the Edit Questions screen.

Question order control
A drop-down menu that lists all pending and published questions in the respective subtopic or topic by question order. You have the option to make the current question the first question or specify which question it should follow. The changes in the question order are finalized when you click the Submit button. All changes are abandoned when you quit the screen with the Cancel/Logout button.

Question status
Questions have three possible states: pending, published, unpublished. All questions submitted by contributors automatically have a pending status. These questions need to be published by an administrator to appear in the search results. In order for a question to appear in the results the question, subtopic, topic, and department all need to be published.



Search box
The input field above the tree control that is used to enter search terms. Entered search terms are treated as case insensitive.

Search page
The page through which the FAQ system is accessed by the user. The search page can be customized through templates on the department, topic, or subtopic level. The top-level search page listing all publicly accessible FAQs is called the University-wide search page.

A screen that provides an overview of all departments in which the user is an administrator. Includes totals for each department and each topic. All totals are broken down by question status.

The second level of refinement within a department. Subtopics are categories within a topic. Subtopic, topic, and department have to be published to appear as valid choices in the search page. However, unpublished subtopics are displayed to allow assignment within the Questions form.



An HTML file containing graphics, form elements, and placeholders used to display the search results. The FAQ system's template is the default. Administrators can assign a custom template to each level (i.e., department, topic, subtopic). The custom template is used when the search page is restricted to the level with the custom template assigned. To restrict the search page, parameters are included within the link.

The first level of categorization within a department. Topics are general categories that can be further refined with subtopics. However, topics are not required to contain subtopics. Administrators can assign individuals with a valid BU login as contributors to specific topics. Topics are ordered by the topic order that is easily customized in the Topics and Subtopics screen of the FAQ Admin system. Both topic and department must be published in order to appear as valid choices in the search page. However, unpublished topics appear in the Questions form to allow you to assign questions to unpublished topics.

Tree control
The tree control is a hierarchical display of departments, topics, and subtopics. You can expand and collapse individual branches and select multiple items in the control. In the search context the results are limited to the selected items. When assigning questions to departments, topics, and subtopics the selection links the question to the selected choices.



An item that is excluded from being displayed in the search results. Unpublished questions don't appear in search results and are excluded from the Question order controls. Unpublished departments, topics, and subtopics are not displayed in the tree control of the search pages. Within the administrative system, unpublished items are displayed in a different font color than published items.


1 May 2002 | NIS | OIT | Boston University | Questions