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Instuctions for Use

Step-by-step instruction for setting up a member area in the Scientific African Content Management System (SACMS)


The SACMS was developed to enhance the visibility and accessibility of African scholarly work and materials on the Internet. Main objective is to provide open accessible materials like articles, online books, images, audio records etc. together with their bibliographic data. We want to inform the worldwide scientific community about the scientific progress in Africa not by speechifying but by providing content and detailed information. The main publishing techniques are self-archiving and graduated peer-reviewing for quality control.

It is essential that every scholar, who registers as a member of the Scientific African website, (1) introduces her- or himself by providing name details and a short biography, (2) compiles a complete publication list and (3) uploads several full-text articles. Members can also use the website to inform about projects and events, to appeal for funding, to initiate scientific discussions etc. Contents in the personal member area is not subject to the reviewing process unless it is submitted for publication (see workflow chapter).

Scientific African is part of the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) and is, therefore, committed to OAI interoperability. See

for further information. The website exposes OAI-compliant XML-formatted metadata of specific content types (see below) to an interface which can be accessed by OA Service Providers. The following link will show you the data exposed:

Some parts of following the text have been adopted from the book The Definitive Guide to Plone written by Andy McKay (Apress 2004).

1. Registration

  • Enter your full name or any other suitable name. The name will not appear on any public webpage. It will only be used in your personal management interface.
  • Enter your user name. The user name or user ID will be used to log in. It is also part of the URL of your homepage. Therefore, no spaces, special characters or capital letters are allowed. Capital letters will be automatically transformed into lowercase letters. Please combine your initials and your surname in the following way:
e.g. John Edward Smith = jesmith
  • Enter an email address. This is necessary in case the password is lost. We respect your privacy, and will not give the address away to any third parties or expose it anywhere.

A password will be generated and e-mailed to you to complete the registration process.

2. Log in

The form is self-explanatory.

Change your password after first log in.

3. My Basic Details

  • Enter your name details.
  • Enter your institution addresses in the following format:
  • Enter your home country or country of residence in Africa.
  • Enter your phone number in the following format:
+[country code] [city code] [number]
  • If you are listed on any Scientific African institution website, click Browse, search for your name and insert the respective reference.
  • Save your changes.

4. My Biography

  • Enter a few descriptive sentences about yourself. This description will be part of the webpage's header and thus very visible for search engines like Google.
  • Enter a short biography. Create a list using the restructured text examples provided or copy and paste unformatted text. Paragraphs can be separated by including empty lines (see restructured text chapter).
  • Upload your portrait from your local computer. The picture will be automatically re-sized on the server after uploading to meet the requirements of the website's corporate design.
  • Save your changes.

5. My Folder

This is your personal member folder where you can add different types of items (= objects). Two items are already in your member folder: (1) the object biography with your short CV and (2) a bibliography folder called files into which you can upload articles, images, sound files, etc, wrapped with their bibliographic data. You can also add further items into your main folder. In the following you'll find a complete list of addable content types.

6. Add New Item

Warning: In Firefox browsers on Windows clients the drop-down menus Add New Item and State may show only one singular item or state, respectively. This is due to a bug in Mozilla Firefox and will hopefully be fixed in the upcoming Firefox version. If this bug appears we recommend to add or change the state of items using the folder contents view (click the Contents tab) instead.


  • Title: This is the title for the item, and it'll be shown throughout the site (for example, at the top of the page, in the search interface, in the title of the browser, and so on). This field is required.
  • Subtitle: shows up in listings.
  • News: Select yes if the item should appear in the news section. It'll show up only if also the expiration date is set on the Properties sheet and is within one year after creation or modification.
  • Index File: Select yes if the item should be the index page of this folder. Attention: This setting should be changed only exceptionally and will be thoroughly reviewed.
  • Info For: Not in use.
  • Info About: This field will be used in upcoming versions of the SACMS for content grouping.
  • Description: This is a short lead-in to the document, usually about 20 words to introduce the item and provide a teaser for the remainder of the document. The description will be part of the webpage's header and thus very visible for search engines like Google.
  • List Text: Select yes if not only the title and description should be appear on your homepage but also the body text.
  • Body Text: Enter main part of the information in html or restructured text format (see below).
  • Image: You can upload an image which will show up at the beginning of the objects view page. The image does not appear on your homepage.
  • Image Subtitle: Enter a subtitle including the respective copyright information.
  • Comments to Reviewer: Enter questions or comments regarding this item.
  • List Order: Enter an integer value (e.g. 10, 20, 30, etc). These values determine the order in which all items are listed on your homepage. Otherwise the items are listed in the order of their date of creation.


This content type has only a Title, Description and List Order field. Additionally, it has a Link field which can be used to refer to an internal or external URL. External URLs start with http://. Internal URLs must be relative to your home folder. For example, if you want to refer to the item with ID abc in your files folder, the URL must be files/abc. All the information provided (Title, Description and URL) will automatically show up on your homepage.


This content type is complemented by bibliographic data which comprise the fields 'Authors', 'Publisher', 'Source', 'Pubtype' and 'Year'. The content type can be used to publish articles on your homepage. The SAFullInfo objects are exposed to the OAI interface.


This is an upcoming event, meeting, conference, or other event. If you want the event to show up in the calendar, then you must provide a start and end time. Events can span multiple days or be in the past - as long as the start date is before the end date. To enter a date, select the appropriate dates from the drop-down menu, or click the little date icon to open a graphical date picker.

Once the event is published, it'll show up in the calendar and the global Upcoming Events box. Moving a mouse over the item in the calendar will show the start and end dates for the event, as well as the event's title


This is a container for items which are wrapped with bibliographic data. The files folder, which has already been created during setup, is such a container and is meant for the various files used on your homepage. Bibliography folders are very useful to create different publication lists, for example seperate lists for your articles, conference papers and unpublished manuscripts.


This is the second content type with bibliographic data. In contrast to SAFullInfo, SABibliography items do not have a Body Text field. Instead they are used to upload binary files (pdf, doc, gif, jpeg etc.) from your local computer and to inform precisely about the file content. Only SAFullInfo and SABibliography objects are exposed to the OAI interface. SABibliography items contain the following additional fields:

  • File: Select the file to be added by clicking Browse.
  • Internal Reference: If you know that the file is already available through another Scientific African webpage (e.g. a Scientific African Publications folder), click Browse, search for the file and insert the respective reference.
  • External URL: If the file is open accessible through another public website insert the respective URL here. The address hast to start with http://.
  • FSS File ID: The file upload should only be used for files < 1 MB. For bigger files please contact the system administrator. The file will be uploaded separately and the filename will be entered here.


Only one SABiography item is allowed in your member folder and has already been added automatically during setup. Adding a second item would result in an error message. Please contact the system administrator if you want to add a new or second biography.

7. State (Workflow)

The workflow system defines states and transitions. At any point in time, each item of content is in a particular state. This state describes its permissions and roles within the site. By having items in different states, it's possible to apply different security and visibility to each item of content.


The states of the SACMS are:

  • visible: Most content is created in the visible state. All users can find visible content through the search function and can access it directly by visiting the object URL. Visible content doesn't show up in the navigation tree or in official listings (news items, for example, also appear when you click the news tab). Visible content is editable by their owners and site managers.
  • pending: Pending content includes items that have been submitted for publication by site members. From a user standpoint, pending content behaves like content in the visible state. The difference between the two types is that pending items are flagged for review; site reviewers are prompted to publish, reject or retract pending items (see transitions). Pending items are editable only by managers and reviewers.
  • published: Published items are visible to all site visitors. They appear in search results and the navigation tree. They may also appear in other areas specific to that type (News, Events etc). Published items are editable only by managers, but owners can retract them for editing (retracting reverts an item to the visible state).
  • revision: If items have already been submitted or published they can only be revised by site members (see transitions). Then they will be in the revision state.
  • private: Items in the private state are visible and editable only by their owners and others with manager access to the folder in which they exist. They won't appear in search results or on the navigation tree for other users.
  • deleted: Finally, site members can submit items for deletion. The final deletion has to be confirmed by reviewers. Items in the deleted state are also private.


The change from one state to the other is called transition. The possible transitions of the SACMS are:

  • hide: (= Make private) Member makes content private. Destination state: private
  • show: (= Make visible) Member makes content visible. Destination state: visible
  • submit: Member requests publishing. Destination state: pending
  • publish: Reviewer publishes content. Destination state: published
  • revise: Member revises submission. Destination state: revision
  • re-submit: Member requests re-publishing. Destination state: pending
  • reject: Reviewer rejects submission. Destination state: revision
  • retract: Reviewer retracts submission. Destination state: visible
  • delete: Member requests deletion. Destination state: deleted

8. Content Action Tabs

  • Contents: Shows a tabular list of all items of the actual folder (container).
  • List Order: Here you can change the List Order field of all items in the folder to re-arrange the order in folder listings. Also, you can change the copyright property (see Properties) of all items in the folder. This is useful particularly if all items have the same copyright owner.
  • View: Shows the default view of the selected item. This can be a folder listing or a specific document view.
  • Properties: See following chapter.
  • SView: Shows a list of all fields (attributes) which have been assigned to the selected item.
  • Sharing: Here you can you can assign local roles on a folder or document basis. If you give users a local role on a folder, then they get that local role for every object in that folder. The form has three main components; you can assign a user to have a local role on this object, you can assign a group to have a local role on this object, and you can see who has certain roles already.

9. Metadata (Properties)

Any piece of content can have any number of properties assigned to it. These properties are known as metadata and provide information such as keywords, copyrights, and contributors of an item. This entire set of properties is optional and is usually used only if there are special requirements for this piece of content, especially since this information isn't normally shown to the person viewing the content. So the main reason for entering this data is to add information for tasks such as searching or categorizing the content. The properties form has the following fields, which are common to all content types:

  • Allow Discussion: This lets this document be discussed by users who have the right to do so. If the value is left as default, it'll use the sitewide policy for that content type.
  • Keywords: Each item can have keywords assigned to it to enable grouping and sorting of the items. For example, an article about recent events in politics may have the keywords politics and prime minister. Keywords are flexible, and you can use any keyword from the given list. Deselect keywords by using Ctrl-click. If you don't find a proper keyword you may add new keywords so that other users can select them. New keywords will be thoroughly reviewed to ensure a corporate keyword policy.
  • Contributors: This includes the names of the people outside the Plone system who contributed to the object. Each person's name should be on its own line.
  • Effective Date: The effective date is the first day a piece of content should be available. You can specify this date by entering the values in the form or clicking the little calendar icon, which opens a calendar, and picking a date.
  • Expiration Date: The expiration date is the last day a piece of content should be available. Usually the Effective Date and Expiration Date fields are left blank.
  • Language: This is the language in which the document is written; the default is English.
  • Copyright: This is a list of copyright owners for this item. Use '/' as separator. The default copyright is 'Scientific African'.

After completing the values for this form, click Save to commit the changes. As stated, usually you won't need to edit the values on this tab. Editing the contents of this tab is usually based upon the requirements for your site and the type of site you're building.

10. Restructured Text

Restructured Text (also reStructuredText or rst) is a simple markup language. Actually it's plain text with only a few style elements. For a full list of restructured text rules and examples see the Quick reStructuredText documentation. Also this text has been written in the rst format and can be used as an example. The html body (html code without header and stylesheets) can be seen here.

11. Your Publication Lists

A very simple way to create a publication list on your homepage is to add a SAInfo item into your member folder, switch off hyphenation in your text editor and copy and paste your publication list into the Body Text field. Insert an empty line between successive references and start each reference with '- '. Activate the News box and save the form. The list will immediately show up on your homepage.

The second and more appropriate method is to create a new SABibliographyFolder into your home folder and to add SABibliography items into this folder, one for each reference. You can attach a file to each item or include a link to an external file, e.g. the open accessible pdf reprint of your article on a journal website.

Important: Only the second method renders OAI compliant bibliographic data. Lists in text fields cannot be dissolved and are thus invisible for Open Archives Search Engines.

Created 2005 by user admin
Last modified 16/10/2005 21:44 (GMT+2)
Time of request 23/08/2019 11:12 (GMT+2)

© Copyright 2005 Scientific African