Online Committee Report, ISIT 2014

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Report of the Online Committee

Summary

The website has been running consistently and smoothly since February. IEEE has still not provided information about the concerns that led to the delays in the web initiative, but all invoices to Six Feet Up have been paid. The development for the initiative is now completed, most of it has been released to the production website, and the enhancements for media resources are presently in their last phase of testing and quality control
The main topics reported in this brief report include 
  • Brief report on financial aspects of the web initiative
  • New features
  • Domain names for future ISITs, and archiving of conference websites
  • Pareja
  • Analytics
 

Finances of web initiative

Context. In December 2013, the IEEE Project Request Procedure for our web initiative was stopped by the CIO of IEEE, effectively preventing us from paying Six Feet Up. IEEE has been very reluctant to provided explanations beyond what was included in the Online Committee report at ITA. 
Outcome. All the invoices due to Six Feet Up have been paid, and the IEEE Financial Committee that was held in May passed the following motion "TAB FinCom agrees the Information Theory society can overspend its 2014 budget to cover the unpaid Six Feet Up invoices and agrees the society should not be penalized and placed on the Watch List". The impact of this is not completely clear though, since overspending our 2014 budget could strictly speaking prevent us from creating new initiatives for 2015. 
 

New features and road ahead

Significant development and improvements to the website have been possible thanks to the web initiative
  • Upgrade to Plone 4 (deployed). The website has been upgraded from Plone 3 to Plone 4. While this is transparent to many users, there are many benefits to this including increased responsiveness, many bug fixes, and easier longer-term maintenance
  • Social media sharing (deployed).  Every item on the website can now easily be shared on Facebook/Twitter/Google +, etc. Upon creating an item, one can decide to make the item "Shareable" (inactive by default). An example can be found here
  • Media resources (last stages of testing). Now can now upload videos into the website or embed videos hosted elsewhere. These videos are played with an embedded Flash player to avoid any possible client-side issues. 

Looking ahead the Online Committee will work on linking and advertising all the media resources using the new media features. Presently, most resources are available at http://media.itsoc.org/isit.html, http://media.itsoc.org/school.html, http://media.itsoc.org/withits.html. These resources will have to be linked in the website, which will make them searchable. In addition, "Lectures" will be created to properly advertise all the plenaries, Shannon lectures, and ITSchool lectures recorded over the years.

There hasn't been much progress with IEEE.tv, but they now have videos and the associated information to launch a small demo. Updates will be available by the next BoG meeting.

Domain names and archiving of future ISITs

Presently, creating a website and managing the domain name (isitxxx.org) is the responsibility of conference organizers. While this does provide them with flexibility in terms of website design, interfacing with submission sites, etc., it makes it difficult to ensure archival over the years. As an example, the website for ISITs prior to 2009 are not available anymore. The management of domain names and the hosting of websites are two separate issues, and the Online Committee recommends the following:

  • Moving from isitxxxx.org to isitxxxx.itsoc.org as the standard address for ISIT. Although ITSoc could consider buying the domains isitxxx.org for 10 years, the proposed address would be much more manageable and sustainable for the Online Committee. In addition, we could ensure consistency across conferences, by creating addresses such as itw1025.itsoc.org, na-school2015.itsoc.org, etc.
  • Encouraging conference organizers to create a subwebsite within Plone for their conference. Many schools have already elected to do so, and their websites are still accessible. In contrast, developing a backup infrastructure would create significant maintenance overhead.

Pareja

Pareja is about to be discontinued. A complete backup has been performed and will be archived on DVDs. ITSoc currently pays about 300 USD/month for the hosting of Pareja, and the Online Committee suggests that part of this budget be redirected to the hosting of the current website (about 100 USD month). Presently, the hosting cost is charged to the Online Committee budget.

Analytics

The last five months of web traffic remain stable with over 300 visits/day. The traffic comes for 64% from search engines, 16% from direct traffic, 14% from referring sites, and 6% from email links. 

Statistic9/9/2013-2/9/20142/10/2014-6/29/2014
Visits 41,270 ( 23,380 unique) 42,040 ( 23,007 unique)
Pageviews 109,890  109,929
Pages/Visit 2.66 2.61
Bounce Rate 60.17% 58.9%
Avg. Time 00:02:23 00:02:21
New Visits 52.68% 50%

All of the above statistics may be self explanatory except for bounce rate, which is the percentage of single-page visits. 

 

The following table shows the top 5 page views (not including the main page) of the website for the period 2/10/2014 to 6/29/2014.
 
Page namePageviews 
Upcoming conferences 2,336
Job opportunities 2,320
EU School 2014 2,304
Recent news 1,599
IT paper award 1,323


The following table shows the top 10 countries from which visit originates  for the period 2/10/2014 to 6/29/2014.
CountryVisits
 United States 13,096 
 India 3,756
China  2,129
Canada 1,730
Iran 1,535 
Germany 1,464 
France 1,046 
Sweden 1,012
Switzerland 1,008
Japan 928