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Getting Started:

If you are a Williams College faculty, student, staff or affiliate you can login to Xythos with your username and password by visiting

If you have been provided a Xythos Ticket from a Williams College colleague you can use Xythos by clicking on the hyperlink that was Emailed to you. You don't login as you don't have an account, you just use your Ticket link. Bookmarking the ticket for safe keeping is advisable.

If you are a member of a club and use Xythos for those purposes you may have been supplied with access to a space in addition to your home directory. You can get to this space via a web browser by typing the club name as seen in the following example:

Once the site open you can click on the words "Open Web View" and then login with your username and password.

What you see when you login

Your account contains a listing of you files and directories with menu options across the top.

A Ticket contains a listing of files that someone has made accessible to you from their account with the same menu.

Folders and Uploads (the what)

If you have an account or a Ticket with write rights, you can create a new directory to populate with future uploaded files by clicking New Folder.  Then choose the Upload menu item to start uploading files. You may find it easier to create a directory structure first to contain multiple items for sharing. When working with multiple files that are similar by project you will find it easier to extend permissions and shares this way.

When you create a New Folder you will be prompted to name it. Once named, you have the option of extending the share to Williams College Xythos users by searching on their first or last name and/or sharing with off campus colleagues by typing in there email address. This step is optional as you can click Finish and share the contents at a later time.

The Xythos menu and interface are outlined in the menu tutorial video. Uploading is demonstrated in the uploading tutorial video while sharing is explained in the sharing tutorial video.

Sharing (the who)

Extending a share to a Williams College based user by partial name search:

Extending a share to an off campus colleague by email address, X to delete:

Permissions (the who and how) and Tickets (the how and when)

When ready, click Next. You will then be asked to define the type of share. If none, just click Finish. You can always adjust it later. The default is to share the folder and all future contents with View (read only) permissions. You can opt to provide your colleagues with Contributor access (read/write/delete) and for on campus accounts, Full Access. Full Access provides the other on campus user with rights to manage and administer the share. This means they can control the sharing level, as well. Shares to off campus colleagues are referred to as Tickets. Unless changed, Tickets will only be active for thirty days. You can change the length of time the invitation will be available for. You may also assign an optional password to the off campus Ticket invitation. Once you are finished with permissions, it is advisable to click Next so a message will be sent to your colleague.

 A share and its permissions being extended to a Williams user and a Ticket being sent to an off campus colleague via email:

A brief explanation on the difference between an on campus share and off campus Ticket:

Shares and Tickets are similar in a couple of ways. They are both defined by what is shared (files and folders) and how they are shared (read or read/write). However, unlike off campus Tickets, shares within campus are closely associated with and managed by user accounts.Off campus tickets are sent to email accounts, but are managed by hyperlink and time. Effectively, Tickets are different in that they are not defined by WHO they are shared with. At the time the Ticket is made you can extend it to one or many recipients via email, but the access by the recipient is not defined by their email address as they do not have a Xythos account.

Emailing a notice of the share and/or Ticket

An example web based message before it is sent:

You may find the email composition feature limited. For example, if you would like to have a dedicated sender signature or a record of the message you sent in your sent items you can change a setting to tell Xythos to use your computer's mail client, for example Mac Mail, Thunderbird or Outlook. This provides you a lot more flexibility. Since the Xythos product does not keep track of the email addresses that you have sent Tickets to you may find it much easier to use your mail client. You can do this by clicking on Setup located on the upper right of your Xythos window. Click on Email  Settings under the My Settings tab, choose "My Default Email Client" and then pick the one you use from the drop down list. Lastly, hit the Apply button. You can get back to your directory by clicking on Home in the upper left hand window. Now when you create a Ticket Xythos will open a compose window on your computer's default mail client with the Ticket URL in the body of the message. You now have the luxury of using your address book.

 Using your mail client instead of the web:

What do others see?

On campus Xythos users that you share files with have a similar view as you. They see their own home directory plus they can see anything shared with them by you. On campus Xythos users can make use of the shares extended to them via the Bookmarks option in the upper left window.

Off campus users of Xythos receive a hyperlink from you. They do not login to as they do not have an account, but their view of your share is very similar to yours. The mailed hyperlink is their ONLY method of connecting to your share so they will want to hold on to that hyperlink for the length of time that you made the Ticket available to them. You can lookup the hyperlink, resend it and change the time length of the Ticket.  See Managing shares and Tickets below. You could request an affiliate account from the HR Department for use by colleagues who would benefit from being able to manage a Xythos share with you. 

More on New Folder creation

After creating a folder and defining who you will share it with, you will be presented with options on VersioningLogging, and Reporting. Reporting will notify you via email when the contents of the share are viewed, edited or commented on. You can also choose how you will be notified... as it happens or daily. Logging and Versioning detail are available under the Manage menu item when selecting a single file/folder. Versioning saves a separate copy each instance the file is edited. Logging maintains and displays a complete history of file read/write access by user and Ticket listed by date/time.

Lastly, click next and choose to send an email to your colleagues to notify them of the share. This is advisable.


When you Upload you browse your hard disk drive to find and select the file(s) to upload. Click on the Add File button to open another slot for a file browse. When completed, you will be returned to the folder view and the uploaded files will be listed.

Managing shares and Tickets

So you have finished creating folders, uploading files and extending invitations via mail for sharing and you now want to manage your domain. You have two choice. You can either make use of the menu above your directory or right clicking on a file or folder to be presented with a feature loaded menu. These options are used to perform

organizing - copying, moving, deleting and renaming files and folders and checking in/out files (the Xythos Help has a description of checking)

collaborating - sharing with on campus users and emailing Tickets to off campus colleagues

managing - summary, permissions, tickets, logging, versioning, tags, subscriptions, locks, comments, quotas

The file menu or tool bar:

The right click menu:


The right click menu (seen here to the right) is had by selecting selecting
file(s) and or (folders) and then right clicking with your mouse. You will see
different options depending on whether or not you have selected multiple
items or not.
Many of the same options are available from the file menu, as well. Simply
select your desired items and click the menu item.

Organizing is no different than filing on your computer. You create a structural hierarchy to suit your needs. the only difference between this and your hard drive is that in this instance, it may be with collaboration in mind!

Collaborating is covered above. Now that you created your initial shared file or folder you can use the sharing and email options to extend it to more people.


Managing requires the greatest degree of explanation so we will break these options down and provide a glimpse at how they are used:

Summary - provides the item's owner, the URL, creator, creation date/time,  last modified by/date/time, size, free space, storage quota, share/Ticket details, lock status, comments

Permissions - this is a matrix organized by user types, users and Tickets on the left and permission levels to the right. Use the radio buttons to change access levels.

as the Owner, you will have full access by default

Authenticated Users are any one who can login, this includes all Williams College faculty, staff, students and affiliates. Think the entire Williams College campus. Be careful.

Public is the entire world. Be careful.

Any Williams College account you shared this file or folder with will be listed here.

Tickets for off campus colleagues are listed here by name. When you create a ticket you can change this name. You can use the Tickets option under Manage to gain a better idea of what a particular ticket has access to. Tickets cannot provide Full Access (the ability to control permissions) as Tickets are not used by those with an actual campus Xythos account. The Advanced Permissions tab can be used to set and maintain a greater degree of permissions granularity. This is how you would remove another user's ability to delete files, but still allow the user to modify. On folders, inheritance of permissions is controlled here. One can also use this interface to add additional users to a share.

Rhe Permissions options from the Manage menu:

Tickets - this is used for sending or resending via email a Ticket to an off campus colleague and for changing the level of permissions / lifetime of a Ticket. The expiration date/time can also be seen here.

The Ticket editing options from the Manage menu:

Logging - maintains and displays a complete history of file read/write access by user and Ticket listed by date/time.

Versioning- saves a separate copy each instance the file is edited.

Default Logging / Default Versioning  - this is only seen when managing folders and is the toggle for the feature and for sub-folders.

Tags - create searchable keywords for files or folders. The video tutorial on Xythos tags explains use.

Subscriptions - automatically notify you when a file or folder has been viewed, edited, or commented.

Lock Details - applied to files/folders to prevent others from editing/saving changes for a defined period of time.

Comments - offer users the ability to create notes about a particular file or folder without altering the contents of that file or folder.

Storage Quota - allows the owner or administrators of a folder to regulate how much information can be added.

Content Type - this option is seen on files and it is used for changing the MIME type of a file. MIME type is what tells a web browser how to display the file so it knows what application or method to use to show the contents. The example below demonstrates changing the type on a PDF file. When recipients were receiving the Ticket their browsers were not able to display the PDF and this was due to the type being text/html instead of Application/pdf.

Select the file and choose Manage and Content Type.Click the drop down list for New content type and change from text/html to application/pdf.
Trash and Restore

Once an item is deleted in Xythos you will see a Trash folder. Deleted items can be restored from there. The video tutorial on restoring files discusses this topic.

Drop Box

The Drop Box feature is off by default, but can be turned on by the administrator through the use of assigning the feature to a role and the role to all authenticated users or a group. We currently do not have LDAP groups associated with Xythos (just users). There is a manually created Xythos group that contains all OIT users (as of January 8, 2012) and that role does have the Drop Box feature and it is web enabled. The Drop Box feature is described in the drop box tutorial video.


Help with Xythos:

This is a must use. Do you remember when the help built into software applications actually existed? It was thorough, searchable and actually helpful. Well, Xythos' built-in help is that and more. You can see detailed instructions on various features by clicking the Help link on the Xythos login page. The Help screen offers comprehensive, hierarchical instructions categorized by topic. Make use of the Table of Contents and the ability to boomark sections as Favorites to be displayed the next time you use Help!
You will also find the Xythos Help icon located on most every page in the upper right corner. It provides contextual assistance based on the area you are in. 

Since this is a pilot project we are not able to provide support through the Desktop Help Desk or through Instructional Technology without our prior agreement to your use.

continue to Xythos - Connecting or return to main page.