Recently in Tips and Tricks Category

Troubleshooting Browser Issues


manage-add-ons.PNGWe’ve been contacted by web maintainers about a series of new issues using Collage, such as inability to upload pictures and documents as well as having to continuously log in. Please check the following settings to ensure that Collage is able to work properly.

NOTE: You cannot upload documents using Mozilla Firefox.

First do a system check in Collage by going to this url :


collage check.PNGMake sure that MSXML and ActiveX Menu control have no red error messages. 

Your browser and Java Virtual Machine (JVM ) can have some unsupported versions and Collage will still work fine.

For Internet Explorer 8:
1) Make sure it’s 32-bit (not 64-bit). Check this under the Help menu in your browser and clicking on About Internet Explorer. If it is 64-bit, it will specify. If it is 32-bit, it will not.





IE-64-bit-screenshot.JPG2) Check your java to make sure it is also 32-bit.Click on the start menu, type "cmd" into the search for programs and files box. A DOS prompt will come up. Type "java -version" and hit return. It will specify if it is 64-bit. If it does not specify, then it is 32-bit.

java.PNG3) Compatibility mode should be on to enable drop down menus. Look to the left of your address bar on the browser.

compatibilty mode.PNG4) Add Collage to the list of trusted sites.To do this open Control Panel, select Internet Options, under Security tab select "trusted" and click on "sites" button. In this dialog box add and click "add."

5) Make sure you have following in your add-ons:

  • Serena Collage PopupMenu Control
  • Java™ Plug-in 2 SSV Helper
  • XML DOM Document

To check if you have these add-ons, go to Control Panel, Internet Options, select the Programs tab and click on "Manage add-ons" button. This will bring up a list.


manage-add-ons.PNGYou will have these add-on if you allowed Collage to install these when you first tried to login into Collage. Make sure that when you first login into Collage you install the Nebserv API that it asks for and also allow msxlm4.0 to install. Sometime it will not install if you have not opened the IE as administrator in Windows 7.

If you have checked everything and Collage is still not working properly, send a message to with the following information:
1) Operating System and Platform
2) Browser and version and please specify 32 or 64-bit
3) Java version and please specify 32 or 64 -bit
4) Description of the problem
5) Screenshots of error messages, if applicable
6) Please send the screen shot of this page:

You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello!
Deleting Files In Collage


For some people it’s easy to end something and wave goodbye, while for others its as simple as 1, 2, 3. Boys II Men sang about it being hard to say goodbye to yesterday, while the Beatles sang “You Say Goodbye, While I Say Hello”.

That’s how I like to think about deleting files in Collage. You get to say ‘goodbye’ to files, pages, images etc. (whatever you want to delete) while the Web Content and Support teams say ‘hello’ to them. Even better yet – getting rid of something in Collage is a lot easier than getting rid of an unwanted stain or unwanted telemarketer.

You see deleting files is one thing not everyone can do in Collage. The upside – more work for us, less for you!

The thing to remember about deleting files in Collage is that there are 2 kinds of "deletes":

  1. Removing the pages/files etc. from the live website - which we call un-approving them. This means that the content will still be available to be edited or looked at inside Collage – but no one on the outside – looking at the live website will be able to see it.

  2. Deleting the files for good. This means we delete them out of Collage and have them removed form the server. Deleting the files from the server also helps to keep search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. from finding old pages with out of date and since deleted information on them.

So how do you get something deleted? That’s the easiest part.

Either send a task in Collage with the pages you want deleted in them – and make sure to specify which type of delete you want – un-approval or deleting for good.

The other option is to send an e-mail to or to call the Web Content hot-line at 978-934-3875 and tell us which pages etc. you want deleted or un-approved – it also helps when you do this if you can send a link to the page on the live website – just copy and paste it into your e-mail.

Voila! That’s it. A couple of easy steps and you can wave goodbye to unwanted files in Collage.

paper recycling.jpg



The Search For SEO! Learn it in 30 seconds!



The good thing is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) isn’t that hard to find. You don’t have to be Indiana Jones on a search for the Lost Ark of the Covenant, or some other mystical prize, to find the secrets to SEO.

First of all what exactly is SEO? According to Wikipedia: Search Engine Optimization, or SEO is “the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the "natural" or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results.” Another website defines SEO as: “the art of creating Web pages that will rank high in search engine returns."

Confused? Don’t be. The good news is Collage takes care of a lot of this for you in your pages Metadata, and we can teach you the rest. (Never heard of Metadata? – then read our blog entry: Where's Waldo? The Secrets of Search - Using Metadata.

This short and simple guide will teach you the ins and outs of Search Engine Optimization in Collage in about 30 seconds or so – depending on how fast a reader you are. We’ll be borrowing some of the basics from Nicola Ziady and

1.  Find related keywords. Make a list of words relevant to your College’s, Department’s, Research Center’s etc. specialties. Choose words that will attract people and carry out your objectives.

You’ll type these into the Metadata - separated by commas. Think like a person searching for this page or your department. Type in any word that you might consider typing into a search engine to find your page or department. For example, you can type in several variations on even UMass Lowell, UMass-Lowell, University of Massachusetts Lowell, UML, etc. An easy way to do this is to keep a list in a text file on your desktop and you can just copy and paste most of the terms in when you work on a page.

keywords.jpg 2. Add the keywords to the page title. Your page title is the most important aspect of your website. Search engines evaluate your title to determine what is on a Web page. Add your keywords to the page title if possible.

This is the title in bold at the top of your page. You should also have them in your Browser Title (another field in the Collage Metadata) – this is what you want the top of the webpage to say on the live website.




3. Add the keywords into the metadata description. Gather up your keywords and add them into the page description. The blurb should be easily read and short.


4.  Use the keywords in your page content. Try to fit your keywords organically into the text of your page to notify search engines that the content is actually relevant to the theme.

5.  Monitor your results. Check Google and other search engines to test your rank and see if your SEO is working.

If you run into any problems please as always feel free to contact the Web Content team via our hot-line at 978-934-3875 or e-mail:

That's it. You're done. Not so hard now is it? Not like say trying to out run a giant boulder...

indiana-jones-boulder.jpgTHE END.

 A Secret Even 007 Can Share:
How To Change Your Password In Collage


You don’t have to work for the CIA or MI-6 to keep secrets and have passwords. Everyone from James Bond to James Taylor has passwords, including all of us right here at UMass Lowell. Those of course include your password for Collage.

When you took Collage training you should have been assigned a log-in and temporary password. You may or may not have changed that password. U.S. Astronomer, Clifford Stoll once gave this very sound advice “Treat your password like your toothbrush. Don’t let anybody else use it and get a new one every six months.” This blog entry will show you how to change your password.

  1. Log in to Collage using your username and current password.
    The Collage log in page is on-line:
    Please make sure to save/bookmark/make it a favorite for future use.


  2. Once you are logged in, click on Preferences in the menu to the top right.


  3. A pop-up window should open. Once it does click on User.



  4.  This will give you the password change screen. Type in your old password followed by your new password and confirm the new password. Then hit apply.


  5. If you are successful you should see this screen saying your preferences have been updated.


  6.  Hit ok, and then close the original pop-up window.

  7.  Voila! Your password has been changed. It is also a good idea to log out and then log back in to Collage to make sure this work correctly.

  8. Please note the Collage Training Manual you should have received when you took the training also has these instructions listed on Chapter 1, Page 7. A pdf or word document of this manual is also available, if you’ve lost your copy. If you’d like one please e-mail



9. If you’ve forgotten or lost your Collage username and or password these can be recovered and re-set. Just please contact the Web Content Team via our hot-line at 978-934-3875 or e-mail:

10. One last reminder:  please make your password something you can remember but also something that won’t be easy for others to figure out. There are no restrictions on length or characters etc.


Dealing With Rejection! What does it mean when your task is rejected?


It’s not you it’s me. I just want to be friends. Thankfully you won’t have to worry about these dating-rejection clichés when it comes to Collage. (You won’t have to worry about a River Hawks Goalie rejecting your shot or task either).

Sometimes when you mark your task done and send it for approval it will be “rejected” for (whatever) various reasons and sent back to you. There are two ways to tell if your task has been rejected.

1. You’ll notice once you mark a task done the “State Name” changes from “edit” to “approve” on your Inbox and it will move from “Current Tasks and Notifications” to “Other Notifications”.

2. When a task is rejected it will appear back under “Current Tasks and Notifications” in your Collage inbox and will be back listed in “Edit” under “state name”.


Another thing to look for that is very important is what the message says under the task name when it is rejected – this will tell you - that (a.) it was rejected and (b.) why it was rejected – and what you need to fix before marking it done again and sending it back for approval. It’ll show who sent it back to you, as well.


You can also read these messages inside the task, and see that the task is in the “Edit” state.


It is important to read why the task was rejected and make the necessary changes before marking it done – that way your task isn’t rejected for a second time. In many cases the Web Content Team may just make changes and fixes to your pages rather than rejecting them, but in some cases they must be sent back to you. One way to avoid this is to make a Collage checklist of things to look for before marking your task done, outlined in this blog entry: Naughty or Nice - Making A Collage List and Checking It Twice.

If you don’t understand why your task was rejected, need further clarification or just need some help completing it as always we are here to help. You can contact the Web Content Team via e-mail: or by calling our hot-line: 978-934-3875 and we’ll do our best to help you.

You can also check the CMS Blog for help doing certain jobs:
There’s a written archive of all of the entries if you’d rather look at them this way than by searching:


One Small Step: Selecting A Template For Success In Collage!



Any journey has to begin with a single step. Just as Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon began with “One small step…” so does your journey through Collage begin with the small step of selecting a template when you create a new task.

O.K. I know that sounds really cheesy, but it is true. Selecting a template when you create a new task is an often overlooked step in the process, and by not doing so it can leave you with a bunch of problems. Below you’ll see why selecting your department’s template is the first step in a “template for success” for using Collage.

1.    Sign In to Collage.
2.    Once you sign in you *should* be in your Inbox under Home. If not, click on the arrow and select Inbox.


3.Click on New to create a new task from your Inbox.

4.    A New Task pop up window will open.

5.  Select the Template for your department from the drop down menu. This is very important – selecting the wrong template or not selecting one at all can cause problems with your task – as you’re about to see.


5a. If you go past selecting a template you probably just hit next from this step of the creation of your new task.  


6. You can type the first letter of your department to jump to that part of the alphabet, or use the arrow to scroll down through the entire list.


  7.    Make sure to name the task something specific about what you plan to edit or do in the task. Notice: the red exclamation point indicates that this is required and you can not continue without naming the task.  Once you name the task the exclamation point will become a green check mark. Then add a description with more information about the edits, etc., you plan to make.

The more information you provide, the faster we can review and approve the content, and the faster it will go live. You can read more in the help us help you blog entry.

Once you’re done click next.


8. Finish creating the task. You can add or remove editors and pages (assets) by clicking on next and following the directions; or you can just finish the creation of the new task by clicking on “Finish.” 

8a. If you need to add or remove users from the Edit or other states of the task – please review the removing or adding users blog entry.

8b. If you need help adding a new page (asset) to a task read the uploading a new document blog entry.

9. If you created the task correctly and selected a template this is what you should see inside your task. (Note: after completing creation of your new task – you still have to open it from inside your InBox by clicking on the task name.)

9a. Notice that there is a task template listed and the current state is listed as “Edit.”


10. If you forget to select a template you should see something like this:

10a. Notice that instead of a template name you see *** Select the Template for Your Department *** and that rather than being in the edit state this task is in “Request”.


11. If this is the case you need to discard (delete) the task. Help with discarding the task can be found in the discarding a task blog entry.

If you have trouble discarding the task please call us for help either by e-mailing or by calling the Web Content Hot-line at 978-934-3875.

Also: if you are not listed on the template you selected, or you noticed there are people listed on it who no longer work in your department, – please alert us by e-mailing or by calling the Web Content Hot-line at 978-934-3875.


Your Seal of Approval! How To Do A Department Approve.



In some Colleges, departments etc. there is a step in the Collage editing process called "Department Approve". This means that once an editor finishes making his or her edits and marks it done that it still needs department approval before coming to the web content team for final approval and publishing.

Note: this step is not in all templates in Collage. Some go straight from edit to approve with no department approval in between. If you need this step added or removed please contact the Web Content team at 978-934-3975 or

Users from these steps can be removed when you create a task by following the directions in the Removing or Adding Users (Editors) In A New Task blog entry.

However if it is you that is the designated department approver – here’s how to check the task and either mark it approved or send it back for edits. Here is how:

  1. Sign Into Collage.
  2. Once you sign in you *should* be in your Inbox under Home. If not, click on the arrow and select Inbox.


3. In your inbox you should see a list of tasks that you either created and are editing or that need your approval. You can differentiate that by the “State Name.” Yours should say “Department Approve.”

4. To open a particular task just click on the highlighted blue task name.

5. This will take you inside a task.
Once you open it you should see something like this listed under Department Approve.


6. Once inside the task, click on the preview box and a window will pop up with what the edited page will look like “live.” Just check it over.



7. If everything looks fine and meets your approval then close the pop-up and mark the task done, along with a brief comment saying you approved it and hit o.k.

If it does not meet your approval skip ahead to step #10.

8. You can either click on the little arrow to the right of the task name and then select done from the drop down menu or click on the Done button in the top menu. (However, as you can see, the second option was “grayed out” for me – so you may have to mark it done the first way).




9. Once you mark it done it will transition from Department Approve to Approve.

10. If the task doesn’t meet your approval and needs further edits then you should reject it and send it back to the editor with what needs to be fixed and hit o.k. You can tell them what is wrong and needs to be fixed in the message window as you reject the task.

11. You do this in a similar fashion to marking it done – except you pick “reject” instead.



12. This will then transition the task back to edit, in which case the editor (in this example syuhas) would make the corrections and then mark it done and send it back to you for Department Approval, and this process would start all over again.

The End.

Picture Perfect!
Creating A Photo Gallery For Your Website.


As the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Whether those words and pictures are a masterpiece, like the "Mona Lisa" or "Starry Night" or something else, like Dogs Playing Poker"; this is very true no matter what collage, department or program they are for. Pictures can spruce up  your website and help it stand out from the rest. 

So you’ve got some great photos you want to add to your website – now what? That depends – on how many you have, and where you want them to go.

The University’s policy on photos can be found in the web policies section of our website, as well as in the Style Guide. We also have three detailed blog entries explaining everything you wanted to know about photos and Collage.

Please keep these points in mind:
  • Adding pictures and graphics to your website is encouraged. Clip art, while good for blogs and other informal communications, is not allowed on web pages.
  • Only three pictures are allowed per page (with some rare exceptions). This is because the more photos on a page, the longer it takes to load, and it has been determined that three photos is the optimal amount for a quick load.

  • If you have more than three photos you’d like to include, an on-line gallery can be created. Please contact a member of the Web Content Team via e-mail or by phone at 978-934-3875 to set up a photo gallery.


    • Photos can be hand-delivered on a CD, disk, flash drive, etc., to the Public Affairs Office in Cumnock C-7. You can also upload and send them to us via the Dropbox.
    • Please include a Word document (or some sort of text file) with captions for as many images as possible. Also include information about the event the pictures are from (to be used for the title of the Photo Album), the date they were taken, and other pertinent information.
    • Please also include a name and address for return on the photos after they are uploaded.

Once your photos are uploaded to the Gallery, the photo album can be linked to from your website. We have a blog entry on help creating a link if you need it.


Naughty or Nice? Making A Collage List & Checking It Twice!


O.K. I know it’s only September and far too early to think about the winter holidays – so please excuse my holiday song reference. That said, today we’re making our Collage list and checking it twice; we’re gonna find out which tasks are naughty or nice!

The last thing you should do before marking a task done is to preview it and make sure it looks the way you want it to. We covered how to preview your page in Collage that in an earlier blog entry.

Here is a list of things to check before, during and after previewing in order to ensure a faster approval and publish (Nice!) and to lessen the likelihood that your task will be rejected and sent back to you for more edits (Naughty!).

Collage Checklist

  1. Microsoft Word is a no no.
Make sure nothing was pasted in from Microsoft Word, and no code from Word remains. If your text looks funny when you preview (wrong font, size color etc.) then chances are it’s a word issue. Unfortunately Word and similar programs "don't play nice" with collage and can cause a variety of errors and problems. Please type text directly into Collage or copy and paste first into either Notepad or WordPad and then copy and paste into Collage. This blog entry explains what do with Microsoft Word & Collage.

2.    Make sure all of your links work.
In Preview, click on the links and make sure they go where they’re supposed to. If you’re not sure if the links should open in a new or the current window or need other help with how to create a link, check out our blog entry on Internal vs. External Links.  This is also explained in the University’s style guide.

3.    Make sure all of your assets are checked in.
Collage is set up so that two people can not edit the same page at the same time. When you click on a page (asset) to edit it – Collage “checks it out” – think of it like a book at the library – no one else can check out the same book until you check it back in. It’s the same in Collage. If you see a padlock next to your name in the overview of your task – it means it’s checked out.


We can’t approve a task until you have all of your assets checked in. There’s a blog entry on how to check in your locked assets as well.

4.    Make sure everything LOOKS right.
It sounds simpler than it is, but bear with me. Check to make sure the font sizes are the way you want them, the images are where you want them, and spelling and grammar etc. are all correct.

5.    Make sure the template isn’t broken.
The what you say? The template. If when you preview it looks like this with a big huge gap between the logo and header – then the template is broken.


It instead should look like this (notice there's no big blue space):


This can happen because of too much use of italics or if any image you added is too big. Everything you wanted to know about images and Collage is detailed in a blog entry.

6. Last but not least make sure you’ve added all of your Metadata.
Metadata is (among other things) what enables you to search the web to find what you’re looking for. If your page is missing metadata it won’t come up on search engines like Google and Yahoo and more and there could be other side effects. For example, metadata can be important when creating a new faculty or staff bio; or in news stories you need to have a Department selected in the metadata in order to know where to feed to.

Have you never heard of Metadata before now? The "secrets" of using Metadata are "unlocked" in another blog entry.

Once you’ve checked off all of your items, previewed the page (s) and are satisfied that everything looks good, mark the task done - sending it down the line for approval. There are two ways to mark your part of the task done; - see the images below:





Clean Sweep – How to Clear Out Those Pesky Messages In Your Collage Inbox!

So the start of a new school year is upon us once again, which of course means for a lot of people your life is about to get a lot more complicated. So why not simplify things in Collage for yourself with a nice clean sweep of your Inbox?

1.    Sign in to Collage.
2.    If you don’t start in your Inbox, from the Home tab select Inbox.


3.    You should see a list of Current Tasks and Notifications – with any tasks you still have active. If this is a lengthy list please clean it out as well by either completing your tasks and marking them done, or by deleting (discarding) tasks you have no use for anymore.
Below your Current Tasks and Notifications you should see a list entitled Other Notifications.

Notice that tasks in your Current Tasks and Notifications are listed in the “Edit” state, while Other Tasks and Notifications are listed in the “finished” state.


4. Cleaning out any Other Tasks and Notifications you have listed is really easy. Basically you just have to mark them read as you might do with any e-mail.

Here’s how:
All you have to do is left click with your mouse on any and all of the little megaphones on the left side of the Other Tasks and Notifications.




5. Notice that once I click on the megaphone next to the task from khennessy it will mark it read and the task disappears from the list, and now a task from jlawler is listed at the top. To remove the rest of the notifications you'll need to click on the remaining megaphones.



6. That’s it. Do this for as many tasks as you’d like to mark read and remove and you’ll clean out your Collage inbox.


The End.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Tips and Tricks category.

Site Optimization is the previous category.

Uploading is the next category.

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