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What is a lens?

Lenses enable both organizations and individuals to give their stamps of approval to content in the repository, allowing for user-driven quality control of modules and collections. Through these lenses, users can provide their own tags and comments for items in the repository. Lenses can also be used as "bookmarks" within the repository to keep track of related or otherwise interesting content.

A list of all publicly-viewable lenses can be found at under the Lenses tab. Lenses are available in four different forms:

  • Endorsement Lenses - Organizations, such as professional societies, can create endorsement lenses containing content they have carefully reviewed and deem to be of high quality. Organizations use their own criteria for endorsement and are encouraged to describe their selection process on the lens home page.
  • Affiliation Lenses - Organizations can also create affiliation lenses identifying content created by members of that organization (but not necessarily reviewed). Though not as rigorous as an endorsement lens, content in an affiliation lens is assumed to be of a quality on par with other members of that organization.
  • My Favorites Lens - Each user account has a private My Favorites lens which can be used to keep track of a user's favorite modules and collections. In addition to bookmarking content of personal interest, the My Favorites lens also allows readers to start reading from where they last left off within a bookmarked collection. You can access your personal My Favorites lens by selecting the MyCNX tab and clicking on the My Favorites link (login required).
  • Member Lists - An account holder can create member list lenses to organize related content, such as to keep track of referenced source materials or to use as a course reading list for students.

All lenses except for the My Favorites lens can either be made privately viewable for personal use only or publicly viewable for anyone to see. The My Favorites lens is always private.

Using lenses

Lenses Portlet

If the content you are viewing is included in any public lenses, then the "Lenses" portlet will appear on the left side of the page. This portlet lists all the various lenses which have included the content being viewed.

Lenses portlet.

Figure 1: Display lens information in a popup.

Hover over the name of a lens to see more information about it, including who created it, and the comment (if any) they wrote in their lens about the content. Clicking on the name of a lens will take you to the lens page with the full list of content that has been included in the lens.

Clicking on the tag item next to any of the lens names in the Lenses portlet will expand the portlet to show all the tags the lens creator has associated with this piece of content.

Lenses portlet.

Figure 2: Expand tags in the "Lenses" portlet.

Click one of these tags to view all other content within this lens associated with this tag. The link will take you to a view of the lens page with results filtered to show only the content associated with this tag.

If the content you are viewing is included in any public lenses, then you will also see a Tags portlet on the left side of the page. This portlet lists a combination of all of the tags associated with this content from all the lenses it is included in.

Tags portlet.

Figure 3: Tags portlet.

Click on a tag here to see a listing of all the content in the Connexions repository that is included in a lens and has this tag associated with it. Note: Because only content contained in a lens can have a tag associated with it, this only finds content that an individual or organization has highlighted with this tag in a lens.

Lens Page

Clicking on the name of a lens will take you to its lens page, which includes information about the lens (and the organization, if the lens was created by an organization), a listing of all the content within that lens, and a tags portlet on the left side of the page.

Example of an organizational lens page.

Figure 4: Lens page for an individual's lens.

Notice the content selected by this lens is displayed like the results of a search. This is useful, because you have access to all the sorting, filtering, and pagination options for any search return listing on Connexions. The "Detail" view will display the lens creator's comments for each of the selected content.

Lens owners can provide a set of one-word tags for content added to a lens as well as comments about the content. These allow lens users to learn more about why the lens owner chose to add this content to the lens; however, these are not to be confused with keywords and summaries, which are provided by the author of the module or collection.

The Tags portlet displays a cloud of the tags used within this lens, with each tag sized relative to the number of times it is used. Click on a tag in the Tags portlet to filter the lens page to only show content associated with that tag. Tags here have a lens-wide scope, as opposed to the Tags portlet on the "Viewing Content" page, which will search the repository for all content in all lenses associated with this tag.

Tags portlet.

Figure 5: Tags portlet on the lens page.

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