Real Questions from Real People: part 1

In our first brown-bag conversation (March 28), we collected questions from the audience and promised to answer them on our blog. We’ll be posting them a few at a time for your enjoyment and edification. Here are two questions and some answers to get the ball rolling:

When I need to create a page, will it be in something nicer than Content Manager? What does that look like?

The answer to the first part is an emphatic YES! While the Content Manager was pretty amazing when it was first developed – remember this was back in the day before Drupal, WordPress, and similar systems were widely available, so respect is due to the programmers who designed and created the CM for us – its day has come and gone and we are moving on up to something more current. The system we will be using is called Drupal; it’s an open-source content management system, which means that lots and lots of people all over the world are using it and developing for it. So if we come up with something special we need, or if something needs to be fixed or improved, there’s a large community of developers creating and sharing code that we can use. Along with Drupal we will be using a standard WYSIWYG (“What You See Is What You Get”) text editor, which will look pretty familiar to anyone who’s used WordPress or even Microsoft Word.

We don’t yet have the system up and running so I can’t provide screenshots or anything, but DUX was given a preview of what some of the screens may look like the other day. There will be a bit of a learning curve and a little bit of new terminology to get used to, but for creating and editing web pages and subject guides, I think the new interface will be a lot easier to use and not too difficult to learn. If you’ve created posts in a WordPress blog, it won’t be exactly like that, but it won’t be shockingly different either.

We have our first training sessions tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, May 14 (1:00-2:00) and Wednesday, May 15 (10:30-11:30) – exact location is TBA but will be in the Wells Library. If all goes well, you will not only see what the new content management system looks like, but you’ll also be able to get your hands on it and start playing!

Approximately how much time will we have to fix things after they are moved over – before people actually see it?

Great question. I think this is going to depend in part on how much fixing needs to be done once we’ve done our initial content migration! We may not know until we actually start moving things; once we migrate the content we’ll review the site thoroughly to make sure things are in order. And we will definitely allow some time for everyone to clean up their content and make it ready for prime-time before we add a shiny “check out our new beta site” button to the existing Libraries website.

One thing we’ve learned from our colleagues at Bluespark (the company with whom we’ve contracted for this migration process) is that they can actually migrate the content, then roll it back and re-migrate. So we can move everything over, fix the big things that need fixing and perhaps delete a bunch of content that doesn’t make sense anymore, then re-migrate the cleaned-up content.

And, we have three very smart and helpful SLIS students working part-time with us, so we’ll have three extra pairs of hands ready to help you with the “fixing” part of it. For more about this, be sure to stop by our brown-bag discussion on Thursday, April 25 (12:00-1:00 in Wells 043)!

Stay tuned for more questions and answers here on the blog over the next few weeks. And please join us for future brown-bags (here’s the schedule and all the details – note that there are treats and prizes involved!) or contact any of us in DUX with your questions. We will try to get you all the answers you need!

Author- Anne Haines

Web Content Specialist in the Discovery & User Experience Department, IU Libraries. I've spoken at events including edUi, Confab Central, Confab Higher Ed, IOLUG, ILF, the IU Libraries' Digital Library Brown Bag series, and the Libraries' In-House Institute. You can find me hanging out at the intersection of content strategy and librarianship, singing a doo-wop song under the streetlight. Follow me on Twitter: @annehaines