Technical Support

Here are answers to many common questions about how to use the Collaboratory. There are also tips to help you have a smoother Collaboratory experience. Can't find the answer to your question? You can request assistance by submitting a help ticket to NICHQ Support Services.

How to Use the Collaboratory

1) To create a new post in the Collaboratory, go to a Group homepage (if you want to share something with that group) OR the Feed page (if you want to share something with the whole Collaboratory).

2) Look for the Share box. Enter the title (subject) and text of your message, attach an image or file if you wish, and then click Share Post.

Where Your Posts Display

By default, all posts will be displayed in the area where they were created. So if you create a post on the Feed page, it will be shared with the Community group, which is the default group that all users are added to when they register. If you create a post within a Group, then your post will be shared in that Group's feed.

If you want your post to appear in multiple places/groups, you can choose the additional group(s) you would like to share with by clicking on the Add Groups link near the bottom of the Share box.


Only one attachment is allowed per post. An attachment can be an image, a file or a video. To attach something to your post, click on the Attach an image, video or file link in the lower-right corner of the box. Clicking on this link will bring up a file browser on your computer. Double-click on the file you want to attach, then proceed as you would with a normal post.

Remember to Use Tags!

Tags make it easy to find related content, so remember to add tags that are relevant to your post. To add tags, start typing in the Add Tags text field. A list of suggested tags will display below the field.

  • If you see an existing tag that's related to your post, add it by clicking on it.
  • If you don't see an existing tag that matches what you're searching for, you can create a new tag by just typing it in the field.
  • You can use multiple tags, but just be sure to separate each tag with a comma.

The Feed is a continuously-updated screen of everything that is happening in the Collaboratory (or group, if you are at the groups level). The feel will contain posts, new resources, new polls, and comments to all the above. The Feed is the default landing page for the community and groups; it can also be reached by clicking on the 'Feed' tab underneath the banner:

On the Feed page you can filter what you're seeing by content type (All, Posts, Resources, Polls):

Clicking on Polls tab will show only polls, clicking on Posts will show only posts, etc. Clicking on the All link will show everything available.  


Email notifications are the easiest way to stay on top of what's happening in the Collaboratory. You can receive notifications about new activity in several ways: immediately as it happens, once a day in a digest, or once a week in a digest. You can also select to not receive any notifications, but we don't recommend choosing that setting because you'll miss out on important announcements, posts, and all other activity that's happening in the Collaboratory. 

To change your email notification preference, just follow these steps: 

Click on your name to access your profile (your name is in the top-right corner of the page, next to the circle for your profile picture)

Screenshot highlighting navigation link to user profile

Once on your profile page, click the Edit Profile link that’s listed underneath your picture/name/title on the left.

Screenshot showing Edit Profile link

Using the drop-down box at the top of the page, select your preference for receiving email notifications from the Collaboratory.

Screenshot showing email notification preferences drop-down

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Save button. 

Screenshot showing Save button on Edit Profile page

That's it! You can change your email notification preference at any time.

You've probably heard talk about the Collaboratory and the groups within it. How are the two related?

The Collaboratory is the all-encompassing structure, and conatins groups. Think of the Collaboratory as the universe; each group is a separate galaxy. At all levels (i.e. at the Collaboratory level and within each separate group) you can create posts and upload resources. By default, any post and resource you create in a group are not visible in any other group (but will be if you share them with other groups); posts and resources from all groups are visible at the Collaboratory level, as are posts and resources created at the Collaboratory level.

Each group will have a separate membership as well - you can join any group by clicking on the 'Join Group' button on the Groups page. You get to the groups page by clicking on the 'Groups' link in the top green navigation bar:

Sharp-eyed viewers will notice that there is a 'Community' group. That's like the wizard behind the curtain; we need it to make everything shared at the Collaboratory level, and make sure we can have a Collaboratory with no groups. Please ignore the wizard.

There are a couple of different ways of finding resources and discussions in the Collaboratory: Full-text search and filtering by tags. Full-word search is like Google, and will return things that have the particular word in them (whether or not it's about the topic you are interested in). The second, filtering by tags, will return all the things that are tagged a certain way - and if a tag reflects your interest this is the way to go. This is also why you should tag things - so you and others can find them easily!

Full-text Search: Click on the search icon in the upper right corner of the web page (it looks like a magnifying glass):

Clicking on the icon will show a text box in which you type the words you are searching for and then hit the 'Return' key on your keyboard. The results will be returned. Right now this will search just about all the text on the site; in the near furute it will also search the text of relevant documents on the sites of our partners as well.

Filtering by Tags: The other main way of finding things is by filtering content based on tags. Recall that tags describe how resources/posts/etc are relevant to the activities of the Collaboratory. If you and your fellow Collaboratory members tag things appropriately it will be easy to find all the things relevant to your needs. 

Filtering by tags happens on the 'Forums' or 'Resources' page; you can get to these pages by clicking the appropriate tab. Please recall that if you are a group, you will only see the Resources and Posts associated with that group. If you go to the 'Forums' or 'Resources' pages at the Collaboratory level (by clicking on the 'NICHQ' logo in the upper left corner of any page), you will see the Resources and Posts of the entire Collaboratory. 

Across the top of either of these pages, you will see a 'Filter by tags' pulldown:

Clicking on the pull-down will show a list of all the tags; choosing a tag will show the things that have been associated with that tag.



In short, only organization. 

Our stakeholder interviews indicataed that many users were very comfortable with a Facebook/Yammer-style discussion format, so we offer support for that. Many other users liked the organization and filtering that a more traditional Forum format offers, so  we decided to support that as well.

The really cool and unusual thing is that the very same discussions are available in either interface - so youcan choose which interface you like better.

We hope to enhance the 'Forum' interface in the near future to make it even more like popular forums such as vBulletin. 

Filling out your profile is not only easy, but lets others on the site to know something about you. And, eveyone likes to know who they are talking to, so be sure to include a picture!

To access your profile information and settings click on your name in the upper-right corner of any page:

Once you're on the User Profile page you will see two links: Edit Profile and Account Settings. Each link will allow you to update different parts of your profile and/or account.

Account Settings

You can do the following on the Account Settings page: 

  • Change your password
  • Upload or change your profile picture
  • Set your time zone

When you're finished, be sure to click the Save button at the bottom of the page to save any changes you made.

Edit Profile

You can do the following on the Edit Profile page: 

  • Update your email notification settings
  • Change your profile information (name, organization, role, expertise, etc.)
  • Add a short bio to your profile
  • Specify your location 

When you're finished, be sure to click the Save button at the bottom of the page to save any changes you made.

To comment on or reply to something shared by another user, just type your comment into the text box that's displayed underneath the existing post or resource. Then click the Comment (or Reply) button to share it.