Past Month

If you have been following along you have noticed that a post has not been made since just before Thanksgiving, which has left some people disappointed. It would be nice to be able to say that every single day has been productive; However, that is not been the case. With holidays and other things going on there has not been many exciting things going on as it pertains to the website.


The majority of the work with the new website has been in regards to adding content to it. As discussed in the post Creating, editing, and managing content for the new site Basecamp is being used to manage the writing of the content. From the perspective of creating a new website Basecamp makes things very easy for me as it pertains to content. In Basecamp you have the ability to create items called ‘Writeboards’ and we have used them to represent most of the web pages in the new website. For example, one of the web pages in the new website is called ‘Building Policy’ and a ‘Writeboard’ in Basecamp has been created for the web page.

There are a handful of web pages that were not created in Basecamp for a couple of different reasons. The ‘Libraries A-Z page was not created because the web page is just a listing of the content that appears in the new website and second it will be the last page created. As we began working through the process and analyzing all of the web pages that were created there was some content that was missing, so a new web page had to be created (note to self add page to Basecamp). The new web page is for the Research and Technology Help desk that resides in the Crumb Library. This space has always been used as the reference desk in the past; However, during the fall semester it was decided to rename the space because the library started to staffing the desk with an additional person to help with technology oriented questions.

A total of 20 web pages are complete and are currently being edited. This is a good start; However, there is plenty more to do. The reason I like Basecamp so much is that it is web based and everything that has been written is plain text (a blessing to anyone creating a website). This means the content in Basecamp can just be copied directly into the new website. After being copied you have no extraneous crap that you have to edit out. You can take the plain text and make headings and lists without any problems.

Now that, I have experienced using Basecamp to write content I do not want to do it any other way. Can we put a ban on Microsoft Word? It is a nightmare when it comes to the web. Just Say No!!!

Web Server Permissions

Another important issue that, I have been working through with the Computer Technology department is with the web server. A few weeks ago some upgrades took place, which have impacted the permissions that a person has as it relates to the web server. One of the first issues that came about was when copying a file (web page) over to the web server you could not view it in a web browser. When trying to view a web page you would receive a 403 error message.

After getting this issue resolved a new one cropped up. I could go into all the details, but that would require a long detailed essay. In conclusion, there are a few things that still need to be addressed as it pertains to the web server. In implementation and upgrading technology these type of things occur. By taking a laid back approach and working with people we will get through these frustrations. Its the growing pains of technology.


LibGuides Top Content

Top Content – October 4, 2010 to September 22,2011
Page Pageviews Unique Pageviews Percentage of views Avg. Time on Page URL
/databases 18335 15971 11.41% 05:52
/music 15447 12951 9.61% 00:25
/content.php?pid=16334&sid=110050 9784 8231 6.09% 03:49
/content.php?pid=16334&sid=110049 7210 4105 4.49% 02:57
/content.php?pid=56836&sid=416424 4535 3798 2.82% 04:52
/ARABXXX-Lunt-2011Spring 4310 3976 2.68% 03:15
/content.php?pid=16334&sid=110052 4087 2819 2.54% 02:39
/content.php?pid=57228&sid=419077 3853 3336 2.40% 05:54
/psychology 3467 2964 2.16% 00:28
/education 3393 2875 2.11% 00:29
/art 3127 2554 1.95% 00:32
/content.php?pid=54494&sid=399227 2490 2121 1.55% 03:29
/content.php?pid=55788&sid=408348 2372 2002 1.48% 06:13
/english 2230 1862 1.39% 00:28
/content.php?pid=63694&sid=470051 2225 1749 1.38% 05:30
/health 2138 1785 1.33% 00:31
/content.php?pid=13251&sid=89022 2005 1619 1.25% 05:07
/biology 1923 1557 1.20% 00:36
/content.php?pid=63694&sid=470050 1586 1338 0.99% 03:41
/content.php?pid=16334&sid=110048 1494 1283 0.93% 03:38
/content.php?pid=53960&sid=395116 1491 1170 0.93% 04:17
/history 1455 1181 0.91% 00:34
/archives 1420 1140 0.88% 01:40
/content.php?pid=58212&sid=426318 1404 1170 0.87% 05:13
/content.php?pid=16334&sid=110054 1324 831 0.82% 01:55

Current Website Top Content

This table represents the data that was collected using Google Analytics from the time that it was set up until today.

*This web page no longer exists.
***This link redirects you to the Department of Art web page that resides in the SUNY Potsdam College website.

Top Content – October 4, 2010 to September 21,2011
Page Pageviews Unique Page Views Percentage of Views Avg. Time on Page URL
/library/ 242842 173814 51.03% 02:56
/library/Articles_MostTopics.php 23166 16873 4.87% 03:49
/databases 18234 15883 3.83% 05:51
/music 15371 12907 3.23% 00:25
/library/Circulating_Laptops.php 10852 9977 2.28% 04:51
/library/2LEV_SubjectDir.php 10595 8083 2.23% 03:26
/content.php?pid=16334&sid=110050 9725 8193 2.04% 03:50
/content.php?pid=16334&sid=110049 7176 4094 1.51% 02:57
/library/2LEV_Indexes2.php 6736 4690 1.42% 00:43
/library/Audio.php 5110 4497 1.07% 05:26
/library/2LEV_FindingBks.php 5008 3921 1.05% 03:24
/content.php?pid=56836&sid=416424 4450 3744 0.94% 04:45
/ARABXXX-Lunt-2011Spring 4238 3918 0.89% 03:15 *
/content.php?pid=16334&sid=110052 4070 2816 0.86% 02:38
/content.php?pid=57228&sid=419077 3841 3329 0.81% 05:54
/library/Articles_Newspapers.php 3554 2335 0.75% 03:17
/psychology 3449 2950 0.72% 00:28
/education 3322 2830 0.70% 00:29
/art 3113 2550 0.65% 00:32 ***
/content.php?pid=54494&sid=399227 2479 2111 0.52% 03:29
/content.php?pid=55788&sid=408348 2350 1985 0.49% 06:13
/content.php?pid=63694&sid=470051 2225 1751 0.47% 05:30
/english 2223 1857 0.47% 00:28
/library/Citing_Sources.php 2169 1745 0.46% 05:19
/health 2116 1770 0.44% 00:30

Other than the home page of the current website these are the following web pages that people are viewing:

  • /Articles_MostTopics.php
  • /library/Circulating_Laptops.php
  • /library/2LEV_Indexes2.php
  • /library/Audio.php
  • /library/2LEV_FindingBks.php
  • /library/Articles_Newspapers.php
  • /library/Citing_Sources.php

Why do the LibGuides Web Pages Appear in the Data

The rest of the web pages that appear in the data are found in LibGuides. If you are like me you may be asking yourself why several of the pages that are in LibGuides appear in Google Analytics. The reason is that on the home page of the libraries current web site there is a drop down menu called subject. Whenever someone selects an item from this drop down menu it is recorded by Google Analytics.

Some Conclusions

  • The /library/Circulating_Laptops.php web page is highly viewed because it is used as the background for the laptop computers that get checked out.
  • People who use the website are focused on completing a task.
  • Web Pages that do not have links to resources that libraries subscribe to are useless to people.

Creating, editing, and managing content for the new site

As Patrick works on building and testing the site, I’m thinking about what will go into it. A clean, usable architecture is great, but not if you fill it with clunky, cludgy words. Since these prototypes represent a relatively dramatic shift in how we present content, finding the words to fill our pages isn’t going to be a cut and paste kind of operation.

I had several things to consider:

  1. Who to involve.
  2. How to involve them.
  3. How to manage the data generated.
  4. How to share the information appropriately.
  5. How to do it all without making myself batty.

In the end, I decided on Basecamp as the tool that we’ll frame the whole project around. For a relatively low monthly fee, anyone can use Basecamp to manage an extensible number of proejcts for an unlimited number of users, and it has all the classic features of robust project management software: To Dos, a Calendar, a message system, file sharing, and most important for my purposes, collaborate WriteBoards.

To make this all happen, I’ve done the following:

  1. Set up a Basecamp project around the idea that each page of the website will be written by the person/team/department who oversees that work. This involved, essentially, creating the project, naming it, and inviting all stakeholders as participants.
  2. Created a To-Do item for each page (ie, “Write: Borrowing Policy”) and assigned it to the lead person for that area.
  3. Held a meeting to introduce the project to all stakeholders at once, and explain the goals and the tool.
  4. Asked each leader to create a WriteBoard for their individual tasks, using our existing documentation as a springboard, and then coordinating their teams to edit the text collaboratively. WriteBoards track versions, and authors, in a way that makes collaboration dead simple.
  5. Created a set of To-Do items for the editing phase — “Edit: Borrowing Policy” — and assigned them largely to myself as the editor of the project. (The exceptions are the pages I am writing; they will be edited by a librarian with a great eye for detail and tone.)
  6. Asked that each writer use the “email this person” feature in Basecamp to inform me when their writing tasks are complete, so I can begin editing, using the versioning in the WriteBoards to indicate which version is the final one.
  7. When I am done editing, I will use the same feature to notify Patrick that the content is ready to be inserted into the finished site.

That multi-phase approach has a few different reasons behind it. First, the single-editor approach ensures that the content will have a coherent tone and approach, will adhere to whatever stylesheet we agree upon, and will make it less likely we make dumb grammatical errors. Second, the multi-author approach ensures that all the facts are true — no one knows our circ policy like the circ staff, so having me write that section is foolish. And, third, using BaseCamp to do the entire project streamlines the information flow for me as the editor, and Patrick as the one who has to process all we create. This way, we each only have one place to consult for content, rather than a slew of emails, shared files, Google docs, and scribbled-upon sheets of paper.

I have high hopes that this will go smoothly, or at least that the speed bumps will be interesting ones. Here’s to rewrites!

Calendar Updates and Content

In preparation for the content being written for the website the calendar has been updated. When the calendar was originally created, I was planning on having the website finished by Thanksgiving. As far as the website this is still possible; However, not all of the content would be added to the website and not been edited. The most important change is that the new target date for the website to be completed will be Christmas 2011 (it sounds better than December 25).

Most of the month of September will be dedicated to testing the prototypes. Starting at the end of the month it will be time to start incorporating changes that need to be made to make it easier for people to locate the information they need. Along with these changes it will be time to start addressing the look and feel of the website in more detail. Yes you guessed it we can start talking about how things will actually appear to a person who visits the website. The color palette has already been chosen for the website based upon the fact that the colors for SUNY Potsdam are red and white. One less thing to have to worry about, but we still need to consider how they will be used in conjunction with each other.

Once the look and feel of the website has been addressed it will be time to start adding as much content that has been written to the website. Starting the first week of November we began to start testing the website for both Accessibility and Usability. If you use an assisitive device and would be willing to take a look at the website, we would be happy to hear from you. Even if you do not use an assisitive device and would like to participate in a usability test of the new website please let us know. The best way to get in touch would be to send me an email at patterpj @

The month of December will be dedicated to adding the rest of the finished content to the new website and have an editor make any necessary changes to the content. The week before Christmas will be spent making any necessary changes to the content. The website will actually be finished by December 1st; However, the rest of the month will be dedicated to making sure the content looks good on-line and that links and JavaScript are working correctly. The goal is to move the new website to the live server sometime during the first or second week of January.

Just like theatre the first few weeks of the month will be like a dress rehearsal because the spring semester does not start until the end of the month. SUNY Potsdam has a three week session in January called Winterim were a small number of classes are taught. This will give us the opportunity for a smaller number of people to discover any broken links or let us know if they are having any problems accomplishing a task.

Earlier today, I created a list of all of the pages that need to have content written for them. You can view the list on Google Docs by going to the following URL: More information to follow soon about how the content is going to written.