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Online Editor's Report, ISIT 2006

Online Editor's report to the BoG, July 9, 2006, ISIT Seattle.

Overview and Strategy

Websites can be an increasingly valuable part of Society operations and Member experience (e.g., the Pareja paper review system). The role of Online Editor was established not only to maintain the website, but also to continue improving it and to make it more useful. A big part of the job will involve evangelizing, recruiting others to contribute their time and energy, and coordinating efforts.

Plotting a course for going forward has involved: assessing the website's current state; brainstorming possible improvements; and evaluating the features of several software tools. The experience has led to the formulation of three high-level objectives for Society website(s) going forward:

  • Make the Society website(s) more central. Leverage existing content, in web-readable forms.
  • Enable Member-contributed content, e.g., news, events, tutorials, discussions. Put the right infrastructure in place, e.g., a content management system (CMS).
  • Prioritize and staff larger projects, e.g., BoG and Committee document repositories, Pareja and arXiv integration, Symposium and Book archives, ....

In the near term, there will be at least two main Society websites, the official website (http://www.itsoc.org/) and a development website (http://itsoc.ee.nd.edu). We will pursue a parallel strategy of updating the content on the official website, separating content from presentation, and evaluating and demonstrating new functionality on the development website.

Input and assistance are encouraged from all Society Members, but especially from Officers and BoG Members. Note that this report has discussion enabled, so you can login and insert comments at the bottom of this page. You can also email feedback to webmaster AT itsoc DOT org .

Recent Activities

  • Brainstorming with fellow Officers, BoG members
  • Took over official website
    • Effective April 1, 2006
    • Numerous updates
  • Setup development website
    • Early April, 2006
    • Several beta-testers
    • Trying to order dedicated development server
  • June Newsletter article

Short-Term Objectives

  • Study current website statistics (http://www.itsoc.org/~jnl/stats/)
    • Prioritize updating of important, i.e., frequently-visited, content
    • Plan removal or replacement of unimportant and/or outdated content
  • Separate content from presentation (XHTML + CSS)
  • Revision control, backups
  • Major overhauls/updates of information
  • Setup processes for user-contributed content, updates
    • Officers
    • Regular Newsletter Authors (President, Treasurer, Historian, ....)
    • Newsletter, Publications Editors
    • IT Student Committee
    • ....

Society Content Worth Concentrating on the Website

  • Newsletter Articles, not just entire Issues
  • Journal Archives, e.g., Parity Computing
  • Shannon/Plenary Lecture Videos, e.g., ISIT 2005 Shannon Lecture Video
  • Conference Proceeding Archives?
  • Conference Websites?
  • Digital Book Library?
  • arXiv updates, or our own Preprint Repository?

Some Concerns with the Current Website(s)

  • The Society generates a great deal of "content", but this information has not been targeted for the web (except perhaps as an afterthought), or has otherwise been separate from the main website.
  • The main website looks nice from the outside, but the lack of separation of content from presentation in the files effectively prevents Member-contributed content and ease of maintenance.
  • The Society pays ~$70/month for web hosting with Interland, and lack of disk space could soon become a problem.
  • Some content is very out of date, inconsistently formatted, infrequently visited, or all of the above.