BLOG: Using the MSL News tool set to support democratic systems – part 1

Exeter Students' Guild logo

Gary McLachlan, Change and Represent Manager at University of Exeter Students' Guild explains how they use the MSL news widgets in this first article of a series on supporting the Guild’s democratic systems.

There are currently two separate and interlocking uses of the News widget and News admin/feed currently made in the Guild – around our democratic systems.

There are a few points which make the News feed appropriate to the job:

  • It is easy to create and maintain News stories, and to set archival, expiry and visibility directly on each story.
  • News can be zoned, and belong entirely to a particular membership grouping so that it can be tailored to deliver content only to members.
  • News stories can either be generated from the content entered directly as a News item, or carry an absolute URL.
  • News stories contain a tagging system, which the widget can utilise to display only on the basis of certain tags (a positive include) or the widget can be used to block display on certain tags (an exclude)
  • The tags can also be added to in terms of complexity by adding a “must contain” field in order to display only certain types of story rather than all which match the primary tags.

It is our experience that between the membership categories and tagging fields, what you can actually develop from the News feed is a highly complex and self-regulating indexing system which is the equivalent of any top-level Content Management System used elsewhere.

Read the next article in the series which discusses using Student Ideas.

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