Collections and Collection sections
Collections are a list of stories.
Each item in the list has a title, description, image and link. A collection could be a list of all your Shorthand stories, just a few stories on a similar topic, or even a mix of Shorthand stories and other stories not made with Shorthand.
You can also have multiple Collections, e.g. one for 'Local news stories' and a different one for 'International news stories'.
Please note: Collections are a list. They can't be seen by an audience until they are referenced in a Collection section within a Shorthand story.
Collection sections display the list in your story.
This is where the list of items in the Collection becomes visible to your readers.
Think of a 'Related content' or 'More stories in this series' section that lists links to other stories.
Stories that include a Collection section (even published stories) always show the latest published version of the Collection. Stories themselves don't need re-publishing to show the updated Collection.
Creating a Collection
To create a Collection, go to your dashboard and click the New Collection icon.
You'll be taken to the Collection Form. This is how you'll create the list of stories to include in your collection.
The Collection Form is where you specify the stories you'd like in the Collection: their title, description and image, and the order in which the stories will be displayed.
Adding stories to the Collection
The Collection Form asks that you give your Collection a name that you will be able to recognise on your dashboard (e.g. 'Festival stories collection'), and an optional title that will be used when you reference the Collection from within your stories (e.g. 'More stories from the festival')
The rest of the form is dedicated to adding references to individual stories. For each, you add an image, title, a subtitle, and the URL of the story.
Your Collection Sections will look neatest if each of the images you add to the list is the same size. Square or rectangular images in portrait or landscape orientation are fine. Images need be no wider than 700 pixels.
Continue to add as many stories to the Collection Form as needed. They can be dragged into the order in which you wish them to appear in your stories.
When finished, click the Publish button, and your Collection is ready to be referenced from any of your Stories.
The Collection is now shown as a card on your dashboard and can be further edited or shared with collaborators from there.
Adding a Collection to a story
To reference a Collection from within a story, add a Collection Section to the appropriate place within the story in much the same way as adding any other section type. This is where all the stories that you added to the Collection Form will be shown.
The style of the Collection Section within your story is set by a combination of your story theme, the number of stories referenced, and changes made in the Section Options panel (from where you can change background colour and layout style including options to display the items in the collection as a grid or list).
When your story is published, it will show the Collection Section and be automatically updated if you make changes to the Collection Form, without needing to republish the story.
Once published, a story will not list itself in a collection. For example, imagine a collection called 'Our animal stories' that contains links to a story about cats, a story about dogs and a story about rabbits. When the collection section is added to each of those stories, the story about cats will show the collection section displaying links to the dog story and the rabbit story, but not the cat story. The dog story will show the collection section listing the cat and rabbit stories, but not the dog story, etc. This way, your readers won't see links to a story they are already reading. This may not be apparent while you are testing and previewing your story, as it relies on matching the published URL of the story currently being read to the URL listed for it within the collection.
A single Collection can be used in as many stories as you wish. You could, for instance, create a Collection called 'Our latest feature stories' and include it as a section in the bottom of each of your many Shorthand stories. When you publish a new story, you could then modify the Collection Form to list the new story, and when the form is published, all the stories that reference the 'Our latest feature stories' collection will automatically show the updated list of stories, without needing to re-publish each story individually.
Updating a Collection
You can go back and edit or modify the Collection Form at any time: such as to add new stories to the Collection. When you republish the form, every story that references that collection will automatically show the updates.
- Your Collection Section will contain each of the stories you added to the Collection Form in the order in which they appear within the form. Now, if you update and republish the form, any story that includes the Collection Section will show the updated list. The stories themselves do not need to be re-published to show changes made to the Collection. To achieve this, Shorthand manages the hosting of the file that stores the data for the Collection itself. Your stories may be hosted anywhere you have rights to publish.
- A Collection doesn't have to reference Shorthand stories. It could list any content you wish.
- The images used in your Collection section are not compressed. Consider the number of items in your Collection and how it will display when deciding on the size of images to upload. Your Collection Section will tend to look best if the size and aspect ratio of each of your images is the same.