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Glossary of OpenCities terms

avatar of Kira Hartley

Kira Hartley

Last updated

As OpenCities is a fully developed CMS, there are many terms within the product and our help center that you may not recognize. Below you'll find a glossary of terms sorted in alphabetical order; use the links to skip to the letter you need.

A – H

A-Z Directory The A-Z directory module is an index of popular pages on your site. You can use it to link popular pages under various terms, for example, labeling "Waste Collection" under "Trash" or "Rubbish" to make it easier to find.
API Management Generate or revoke API keys from the API Management area of your admin.
This premium module integrates your site and an ATDW account. This connector syncs to ATDW, so any events, attractions, or accommodations created there will also be published on your OpenCities site.
Accessibility Refers to the process of making your website as easy to use and navigate as possible for all users. This can mean making your pages responsive to various devices, but it also refers to aspects of your site such as using colors with the correct contrast ratio for users with vision impairments or making sure all images have alt text for those using screen readers.
Accordions The accordions feature functions within the WYSIWYG Editor, allowing you to condense text and images into containers on a single page.
Advanced search

Use this feature on your Dashboard to search for specific pages using various criteria, such as content types, page owners, workflow stages, and review or deactivate dates.

Announcements The Announcements module allows you to communicate important information across your entire site. Use this module to inform your community about emergencies, disruptions, policies, and other communications.
Approvals This option in the main menu lists all the pages currently in a workflow and waiting on approval before publication or deletion. You will only see pages in workflows that apply to your role and permissions.
Archive Archiving a file or page will remove it from your site without permanently deleting it.
Audit Log

The Audit Log will show you a list of actions taken in your site admin. This is a low-level audit designed to be used as an investigation tool rather than reporting and analytics.

Best Bets Use this tool to attach a search keyword to a page on your site to improve the accuracy of your search results.
Bids and Tenders

Use this module to present open and awarded bids and tenders in your city or council.


Use this module to visually represent what's happening in your city or council. You can create calendars based on content types and content labels.


Category fields are available on multiple content types, such as OC Events or OC Venues. Categories are visible on the live site and are used to filter existing listing pages.

Child page A content page situated under another page in the site tree hierarchy.
CMS deeplinking A feature of third-party tools, such as Siteimprove, that allows you to link from a page you're viewing to the CMS editing screen for that page. This allows the tool to run its accessibility checker as you're working on pages in admin and will enable you to update content as the tool suggests.
Community Engagement This premium module provides a place for your community to comment on what's happening in your city and council. The module has various content types which work together, including OC Consultation, OC Discussion, OC Blog, and OC Consultation Timeline
Content Author A user who creates content. These users often have OC Editor, OC Publisher, or OC Power Publisher roles.
Content label

Internal labels attached to pages to organize your content, build content lists, configure Related content, or create maps and calendars.

Content list A list of pages displayed on another page. Content lists are used for various reasons and can be organized and presented differently. You can build a content list in the WYSIWYG Editor, or developers can create custom content lists and use content labels and content types to filter them.
Content migration The process of moving your site from one CMS to another.
Content Standards An area of Site Management where you can set your accessibility standard and add offensive words to check for when publishing pages.
Content type The kind of content page you create to present information for a city or council function. All pages in OpenCities have a content type with templates that easily structure your pages. Developers can create custom content types. 
Custom CSS Developers can add custom CSS to their theme for specific styling.
Custom dictionary

A bank of terms, phrases, or proper nouns that you can personalize, so the spellchecker function will recognize them as your content authors use them.

Dashboard The main page of your admin that you'll land on when you log in. You can access the main menu from the Dashboard, search for content, use shortcuts to view and create specific content types and access your content.
Departments Use this module to present the essential details of your city or council departments, such as contacts, location details, and operating hours.
Developer Specialized staff who work on custom aspects of your site. These users need qualifications in web development and strong HTML, CSS, and JavaScript skills, and the ability to test and maintain your customized themes for accessibility compliance, usability, and cross-browser and device support. In OpenCities, they will have the OC Developer role.
Development Applications Use this module to display your city and council's current and past development applications.
Device variables Used to store reusable code snippets or scripts that need to be added to every page of your site.
Document Library Use this module to list groups of documents relevant to your city or council.
Document Manager The document manager is a WYSIWYG feature that allows you to upload and link documents on your pages.
Elected Officials Use this module to list the profiles of elected members of your city or council.
Email templates Use email templates to edit the content of the preset system and workflow emails. There are email templates for workflows, MyCity, forms, and system emails such as review or deactivation notifications.
Embed code Use embed codes to add code snippets for interactive content, such as videos. You can add embed codes directly to the HTML of a page or through the plugin tool of the WYSIWYG Editor.
Emphasis styles Classes you can add to highlight text in the WYSIWYG Editor. There are two emphasis styles available, and our team will create them in your theme to ensure they match your branding and are accessible.
EngagementHQ Connector
This module integrates your site with your EngagementHQ site. This connector syncs projects from EngagementHQ to OpenCities, so live and public projects created there will also be published on your OpenCities site.
Engagement tab This tab contains information about how your community engages with the page, including sharing, feedback, and subscriptions.
Error pages Pages that your community will land on if they hit an error on your site. Error pages can be generic, or you can create your own.
External review You can submit pages for external review if you have stakeholders who need to see your content before it goes live.
External User Management

This premium module connects your OpenCities site with external user management systems so you can manage your users from a single source. We have connectors with Azure AD and Okta.

Events Use this module to create and display your city or council events.
Eventbrite This premium module integrates your site and an Eventbrite account. This connector syncs to Eventbrite, so any events created there will also be published on your OpenCities site.
Featured background

Use the OC Featured Background content type to change the background image of a page or section on your site.

Featured links Styled links that can be added to a WYSIWYG Editor to assist with navigation or highlight important pages.
Featured section Separate groups of pages on your site using a secondary header, logo, and navigation menu.
Fields Text areas into which you can input information or content. All content types have page fields that indicate structured content, such as the Page name or Page title fields.
Files Library The Files Library is where you store all the files you use on your site. You can access the library by selecting Files from the main menu.
Folder A place to store content. Folders may refer to the structure of your Files Library or the OC Folder content type you use to organize pages.
Forms There are two options available to create forms; Standard forms, a legacy tool with limited capabilities, and OpenForms which is more extensive.
General pages

The OC General content type is helpful for general-purpose pages, such as information pages and contact details.

Glossary item Use this content type to add dynamic definitions for specific terms, jargon, or proper nouns related to your city or council.

The date your site will launch to the public. 

Heading styles Preset stylings that indicate headings in the HTML. We strongly encourage using correct heading styles and hierarchy to ensure that screen reader users can correctly interpret and interact with the page.
History tab This tab displays the previous versions of the page and any workflow comments it has received.
Homepage The main page for your city or council site. 

I –P

Image Editor

Use our built-in image editor to change the characteristics of your uploaded images.

Image Gallery The image gallery module allows you to present a series of images with captions that can be expanded.
Initiatives Use this module to display long-term priorities and objectives in your city or council.
Insights dashboard Displays a snapshot of site metrics, such as frequently-visited pages and underperforming searches.
Integrations Built-in connectors to external products, such as external user management systems.
Intranet A separate, premium site that is a private network within the organization. Your staff can use an Intranet to collaborate on projects, stay updated on company news, find information, and communicate with each other.
Jobs This module allows you to display employment vacancies at your city or council.
Landing pages

Use this content type to organize and separate different sections of your site. Landing pages are customizable through various templates and work as a parent page and main menu for the child pages below them.

Language pack Use different language packs to create content in multiple languages. Please note that you will need to complete each translation individually.
Link Report A tool displaying broken links and the page they're on within your site.
Links tab This tab summarizes all the links on the page, including attached and linked files, outgoing internal and external links, and internal inbound links. You can also repoint links from this tab.
Listing page Use the OC Module Interface content type to group and list pages of a content type. This is a generic page with many templates, each listing different content types.
Live chat An external widget that enables live customer service. Please note that we do not have built-in live chat functionality; you will need to use third-party software. You can implement it on your site by adding a code snippet as a device variable.
Local Directory A premium module that allows you to build directories that list community groups and organizations or local businesses. This module is automatically installed on MyCity sites and can be installed on main sites.
Lost Animals Use this module to list lost animals found in your city or council.
Main menu

The menu that runs across the top of your admin. You can access the Site picker, Dashboard, Pages, Files, Forms, Approvals, and the More menu from the main menu. You can also view your live site and log out of the admin.

Main site

Your primary, public-facing city or council website.

Maps Use the maps module to create and manage maps using any content type with a location field, including the OC Location content type.
Message Board A module exclusive to Intranets that allows your staff members to communicate by posting and commenting on messages.
Metadata Information about your site that you can manage in Site Management.
Minutes & Agendas This module displays any meetings, along with their minutes and agendas, that you have on your site.
More menu Contains various administration tools for high-level website settings and configuration. Some of the options in this menu will vary depending on a user's role and permissions.
Modules We use modules to denote the type of content you can create; most modules have at least one content type associated with it. Most of the necessary modules will already be installed on your site, but you can install others if necessary. Some modules are premium and must be purchased, and some can only be installed on certain site types
Module Interface The OC Module Interface content type is a generic page with many templates that determine what content is presented. Most templates list different content types, but some are used to create system pages, such as login and search results pages.
My Area This module allows your community to search for their address and see information relevant to them, such as what's happening in their neighborhood, their waste collection details, and the elected official of their area.
My Shortcuts Quick links on a user's Dashboard that allow them to create pages of the specified content type quickly. Site Managers and System Administrators can add and delete shortcuts from the My Shortcuts menu.
MyCity An online portal through which your community can create accounts and submit events, business listings, and community listings to be published on your site. The MyCity module acts as a separate site from your main site.
Navigation menu

Your site's navigation is what visitors use to get around your site. In OpenCities, you can use a hamburger menu, dropdown menu, or mega menu.

News Use this module to write and display news articles on your site.
OpenForms A product you can use to create and publish forms for your site. OpenForms can be embedded on any page with a WYSIWYG Editor.
Org Charts A module exclusive to Intranets used to display an overview of your organization's structure, including staff details and reporting relationships.
Overview tab Use this tab to enter all of a page's content. The page fields on this tab will differ by content type, as will the ability to change the page's template.

Pages make up your site and are where all the content is situated.

Page Author Any user that creates content on a page or publishes a page.
Page Discussions This module allows your community to comment on a page to give feedback about what's happening in your city or council. The module is a part of the Community Engagement module but can also be implemented across your site.
Page Feedback This module uses a standard form to give your community space to provide insight into your site. You can choose which content types and pages to implement the module.
Page Owner By default, the Page Owner is the user who creates a page. However, you can change the owner of a page if the user changes roles or leaves your organization.
Page permissions Use page permissions to control who has access to specific pages or sections of the site. You can restrict access based on username and role and restrict viewing or admin access.
Page sections On OC General pages, you can divide your body content into sections with section links or a table of contents.
Parent page A content page above others in the site tree hierarchy.

Use this module to display the details of parks in your city or council.

Preview Before publishing it, use this option to see how your page looks.
Public Notices Use this module to publish notices about essential information, such as policy and legislative changes.
Publish Use this option when you're finished creating a page to make it go live.

Q – Z

Related content

This module uses targeted content lists to direct your community to pages on your site based on their current browsing.

Redirect page Use the OC Redirect Page content type to create pages that link to other sections of your site or external websites from your navigation menu, landing pages, or search results.
Repoint links Use this option in the Links tab to redirect any internal inbound links to another page. You'll need to repoint internal inbound links before you can archive or delete a page.
Responsive grid The grid framework allows your site to display responsively across various devices.
Responsive table A responsive table resizes for different devices. All tables on your site should be responsive, so all site visitors can access them regardless of the device they're using.
Roles All users in OpenCities need a role to access the admin, and their role will dictate what permissions they have. We have developed several roles for you to use, but you can create your own. Additionally, all Intranet or MyCity site users must have the OC Member role.
Rotating Banners Use this module to display a slideshow of images on pages or your homepage.
RSS feeds A file that includes updates from a site, often as a list of articles with links. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and offers an easy way to stay up to date on new content from websites you care about.

Use this module to present the different services you have in your city or council, including the different methods (both online and offline) and steps of service your community can use.

Shared content Use shared content to replicate listing entries and pages across different sections of your site or content types across different sites. 
Settings tab Use this tab to adjust the settings of a page, including hiding it from search and navigation, the publishing schedule, the page owner, and the content type.
Site footer The site footer appears at the bottom of every page on your site. It contains helpful information such as your city or council's contact details, social media links, or different language links.
Site Login Use this module to password-protect an Intranet, MyCity sites, or a subsite.
Site Management This admin area allows site managers and system administrators to manage important details and settings of your site. From here, you can manage the site name, domain, themes, Dashboard shortcuts, and module settings.
Site Manager A user with high-level management access to one site.
Site picker

This dropdown menu in your main menu allows you to select the site you want to work on. You will only see the sites you have access to in the Site picker.

Site Search Use this module to manage your internal site search, including what content types will display on your search results page.
Site Settings Use these settings to configure some background features of your site, such as a favicon and website name, as well as Google Analytics and error pages.
Site tree A list of pages on your site, structured to display the hierarchy of the pages. You can access the site tree from the Pages section of the main menu.
Sitemap A representation of all the pages on your site. You can create a Sitemap for search engines to make it easier for them to index your site or create a visual sitemap to display the pages and their hierarchy.
Social media feed Use this feature to embed social media feeds on pages on your site.
Staff Directory A module exclusive to intranets that lists all your organization's staff members, with a detailed profile for each of them.

This module allows your community to subscribe to pages and search results, so they get email notifications when some content is updated.

Subsite Smaller, secondary public-facing sites with different styling content and URLs than your main site. Subsites are often used for arts centers, libraries, large departments, tourism and ongoing events, or sports and leisure centers. 
System Administrator Users who oversee all aspects of your sites, including content creation and administration.
Tagged as A label that appears on pages with a Categories field, such as OC Events. Please note that this will always refer to a page's categories, not content labels.
Tabs The tabs feature functions within the WYSIWYG Editor, allowing you to condense text and images into containers on a single page. You can also use the OC Tab Widget content type to add tabs to your homepage.

All content types have at least one template that determines how the page's content is displayed. Some templates will have a selection of templates to use, while others will only have the default template. Additionally, developers can create their own templates for content types.

Text snippet Text areas coded into content types and templates. Some of these can be edited by adding variants to existing text snippets.
Theme The overall look and feel of your site. Site designers can create and edit themes in the Theme Builder, but we will work with you when creating your site to develop a theme.
Top tasks Links on your homepage to display your most frequently sought-after pages. You can create new top tasks using the OC Top Task content type.
Update Use this option if you want to edit a page or file that has been published.
URL mapping Use this tool to create shorter URLs, redirect users, or customize existing URLs.
User Anyone with access to the admin of an OpenCities site.
Utility Bar An element that sits above your site header and contains important links to content on your sites, such as contact details, subsites, or social media links.
Venues Use this module to display the details of venues in your city or council.
WCAG WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and is a set of procedures for creating accessible online content. The OpenCities platform is WCAG 2.1 AA compliant, and you can read our Accessibility statement for more details.
Work-in-progress (WIP) This status indicates that a page or file is in draft stage.
Works and Projects Use this module to display the details of different works and projects within your city or council.

A system you can set up so that all content is reviewed and approved by content managers before being published or deleted.

WYSIWYG Editor "WYSIWYG" stands for "What You See Is What You Get", and is the main content editor for the body content of a page. Most content types will have at least one WYSIWYG Editor, which is represented by the blue area on the template.
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