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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hierarchy, Tree View, and Permissions

We've been working on a big new feature set: improved handling of different levels of hierarchy and permissions in the admin site. The first release, pushed out a day or two ago, provides a couple of important enhancements over the existing method, first explained by Eric in May of last year.

To rundown the changes:

Tree View, found in the users/queues area, gives the admin a graphical display of their system's hierarchy. Admins can see what users own what queues, and they can assign users as owners of queues. Drag and drop works, too. You can switch back to the default display by clicking Flat View.

Has Admin Rights is a checkbox that will appear when a user is selected. Ticking that checkbox will give the selected user admin rights at the same permissions level as his or her "boss" one level up in the hierarchy.

Why would you want to do this? Let's say you work at a large university, with several libraries. You have a top-level account called big-admin registered with LibraryH3lp. Big-admin can create users to act as admins of their own individual libraries at the university: main-library-admin, law-library-admin, health-library-admin, etc... Big-admin can create and assign queues to those mini-admins using Tree View, or the lower-level admins can create their own queues independently.

When law-library-admin logs into the admin site, they will only see queues that they themselves own, and they can create their own users to assign to their queues. They may also wish to share the task of running the chat system in the Law Library by assigning admin rights to one of their own users. This will grant that user the same permissions that they themselves have.

This is also a good way to build a collaborative service spanning multiple institutions. If you have existing top-level admin sites that you'd like to put together, let us know, and we can do that manually.

All of this can cascade through as many levels as you wish. As has always been the case, ALL operators anywhere in the hierarchy can transfer chats and IMs on queues to any other queue or operator within the same administrative domain (starting from the top-most level).

Things still to come:
  • Read-only access to reports and transcripts for ALL users on the queues to which they are assigned.
  • Write access to the transcripts/Monitor Activity area for "mini-admins" granted rights with the "has admin rights" function.
  • Way for top-level admins to connect with other top-level admins in order to merge admin domains with no intervention from us.

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