Accessing Information

Navigating the Website

Most pages in the website share a common structure:

  • a header with the logo, website name, slogan, primary menu and just below it a secondary menu
  • a left sidebar with a search box, login information, additional menu items and pointers to content
  • a right sidebar with more pointers to content
  • a central content area
  • a footer with copyright information and links to a website Contact form, Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions (TBD)

The logo takes you back to the home page (or front page) of the website.  The primary menu at the upper right of the header provides access to an events calendar, BioInspired! newsletters, John Mlade's BioInspire e-magazine, and resources relevant to the BID Community.  The secondary menu has links to member groups, forums and this Help. 

The content of the sidebar and content areas depends on the purpose of the website page.  The front page has:

  • a list of upcoming events and information about who is online (left sidebar)
  • active forum topics, recent comments and the Biomimicry feed from Greener Design (right sidebar)
  • an introduction to the BID Community and recent posts (content)

Organizing Information

Content is organized by content type, allowing content-specific ways of structuring and displaying information.  In most cases, content types are automatically selected based on the kind of information the user selects.  For example, the Events calendar pulls in information stored in the Event content type. 

Most content can be tagged by the author during content creation as well as by community members (see Creating Content for more details).  Clicking on a tag associated with one document will display a list of other content also associated with that tag.  Some pages contain tag clouds showing the most commonly used tags where the size of the font is determined by how heavily the tag has been used.  Tags are also indexed by the built-in search feature.

Content can also be rated (see Creating Content for more details).  Ratings can be used to order content.  At the present, only the Resources list uses rating-based ordering.


The search box in the left sidebar provides a basic keyword search of text on the website.  By default, all keywords need to be found in a document (use the uppercase OR connector to return documents that match any keyword).  Exact phrases can be matched by enclosing them in quotation marks.  Wildcard characters are not support, although Porter Stemming has been implemented to search for common word variants.

The search results box has three tabs:

  • Content: results of the basic search
  • Pages: searches file attachments
  • Users: searches user profiles

The Advanced search link provides additional controls, including searching specific forums and content types.

Index pages such as the list of Newsletters, John Mlade's BioInspire e-magazine and Resources have a Search box on the left side above the index.  By default, the list will be filtered based on documents containing all of the keywords entered (use the uppercase OR connector to return documents that match any keyword).  To display the fill list, clear the keywords and click on the Apply button.

Change Notification

The easiest way to subscribe is by content type - open a document of the content type you want to follow, mouse over Subscriptions widget at the bottom and then the Subscribe to: posts of type ... link.  New or modified posts of this type will now be included in your e-mail digest, along with any comments.  Key content types are:

  • Book (currently used for Help information)
  • E-magazine (John Mlade's BioInspire e-magazine archive)
  • Event
  • Forum topic
  • Newsletter (abstract and pointers to BioInspired! newsletters)
  • Resource
  • Story (individual BioInspired! newsletter articles)
  • NewStory (BioInspired! newsletter articles currently under development)

You can also subscribe to a specific post and posts by a specific author.  In addition to subscribing to the Forum content type, you can subscribe to a forum thread (the topic and associated contents) or a forum 'container' (such as the Announcements forum).  All registered users are automatically subscribed to Announcements

The Notifications tab accessed from My account in the left navigator provides a central location for viewing and modifying your subscriptions as well as adding subscriptions by forum thread, content type or author.  Currently, you can only subscribe to a forum 'container' by viewing a forum topic in that container. 

By default, e-mail digests are sent out once a day.  You can change the frequency when you subscribe and through the Notifications tab of My account.  To change your default digest send interval, click on the Edit tab of My account and open the Messages and Notifications settings near the bottom.