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Improvements to document series: curate more useful lists

We have now completed the work to allow more flexible curation of documents into "document series".

It's a big change, and should mean that you can make much better use of this format to group related content for your users.

You can now group documents into sections, under headings, with their own summary text. I wrote a post about our plan to do this at the beginning of August, and we've delivered the full functionality in two sprints.

How it works

When you create a document series, you give it a title, summary and description, just like before.

Having saved this, a second tab will appear called 'Series documents', from which you can search for the documents you want to add.

Automatically you'll have one group called documents, but you can rename this group, add a short description and also add as many additional groups as you need with their own titles and descriptions.

You can easily move documents from one group to the other within the series, and remove documents from the series.

Existing document series

You can still have an un-grouped document series. By default, all documents will appear in a single group in chronological order. This is how all your existing document series now appear, although if you go into the government publisher, you will now be able to create groups and move the existing documents into these groups.

We encourage departments to review the series they have created so far. This new feature should mean that you need fewer, less granular series overall, because you can collect documents into granular groups within a broader series.

Looks like this

Here's an example document series from the Driving Standards Agency, making use of the new functionality:

New, curated, document series - Driving Standards Agency
New, curated, document series - Driving Standards Agency

Here's an example of how document series looked before:

Taking Part: questionnaires - Department for Culture, Media & Sport - GOV.UK
Old-style, uncurated, document series

Coming up

Other features for document series that we are intending to build in future sprints are:

  • a possible change of name (we're considering 'collection' instead of 'document series')
  • separating document series from individual departments, so they can be more easily shared between organisations and tagged to topics
  • providing ways to browse to document series from organisations and topics
  • the ability to sort the order of groups within a series
  • the ability to create document series in draft (ie, workflow)
  • the ability to unpublish and redirect document series

[Photo above by Dolescum on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.]

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  1. Comment by Sheurie Warner posted on

    These improvements are going to be really helpful to presenting our publications - thank you.

  2. Comment by Keith Prust posted on

    Good to see the first changes to improve document series.

    Unfortunately, when we add new documents they automatically appear at the bottom of the list in their group on the published page. See example at

    There doesn't seem to be a way to change this.

    This isn't helpful for users as it creates a strangely ordered list.

    It would be really useful to be able to manually arrange the order of documents in a group, just as we can now with attachments to publications. Chronological order will not always be the most appropriate order for a series of documents. Do you have plans to introduce this functionality.


    • Replies to Keith Prust>

      Comment by Neil Williams posted on

      Hi - yes, I completely agree, we need the ability to sort the documents within groups. We'll take a look at iterating on that as soon as possible.

  3. Comment by Martin posted on

    I've noticed that the Chronological order sorting does not now seem to work. Is the Chronological order sorting still active for series pages? See page example page updated 12 September 2013,


    • Replies to Martin>

      Comment by Neil Williams posted on

      Hi Martin, yes that's a bug I missed in testing, sorry. There's a fix for that on preview now and it will hit production in our next release (probably Monday; we tend to avoid releases on Fridays).

  4. Comment by Sebastian posted on

    Hi, sorry for this unrelated question but i hope you can answer
    will this be a part of GOV.UK and when?

    • Replies to Sebastian>

      Comment by Graham Francis posted on

      Hi - that's fine, unrelated questions help keep us on our toes! There are clearly very strong cross-overs between the info on the transparency site on departmental business plans, and the content on GOV.UK on government's policies and actions. We're starting to look (with the Cabinet Office team who coordinate the business plans) at how we can better join these up - whether by adding stronger crosslinks or, ultimately, using APIs to draw in the data. Were you asking for any particular reason?

      • Replies to Graham Francis>

        Comment by Sebastian posted on

        The reason is what you said yourself - i feel there is a deep connection between the Policy part of and transparency and feels like it belongs on the same site.
        I was also curious to know how the Departments got directions to make the policies, ie the step before policies even get written. And i didnt find anything about Business plans until i stumbled upon the transparency site.
        The next step from "...find out exactly what we're doing.." is "are we really doing what we say we should do". 🙂