09 Feb 09 2009 Midwinter WAC Meeting Notes

At ALA Midwinter in Denver last month, we had a great Website Advisory Committee (WAC) meeting, coming out of it with several action items. You can read the full details in the official minutes (52KB, PDF), but here’s the short list of items that were reported out during the Council III session on Wednesday, January 28.

  1. Website Content Management System (CMS)
    Collage, the ALA website CMS software, will be discontinued by the developers within one year.  Collage updates and support will expire within three years. WAC is taking the following steps:

    • Convene internal task force with representation from all affected units;
    • Investigate and explore options for a web content management system which is intuitive, stable, and scalable;
    • Report back progress and draft recommendations for discussion at Annual 2009.
  2. Event Planner
    Members have expressed dissatisfaction with the current event planner. WAC is taking the following steps:

    • Working to implement the Event Planner in ALA Connect;
    • Will survey the membership for feedback on features and functionality during spring 2009;
    • Will report on “Event Planner in ALA Connect” progress at Annual 2009.
  3. Website Content Standards
    Members report some difficulty finding things on the ALA website. Members occasionally have discovered older versions of a current web page on the ALA website. WAC is taking the following steps:

    • WAC is creating a task force to recommend future directions for the ALA website (meaning the website stored and maintained within the CMS); i.e. is the ALA website mainly an archive of permanent content with current content in blogs/wikis —or— is the website mainly for current information with links to other internal resources for historical documents —or— somewhere in between?
    • Task force will report recommendations to WAC by Midwinter 2010.
  4. Accessibility Issues and Data Cleanup
    The ALA website has never had a full accessibility review.  ITTS staff calculate that a “full accessibility review and data cleanup” project to meet web content accessibility guidelines would take approximately ten (10) “person-years” (10 years for 1 person to do).  The code which controls display of the ALA website does not meet web standards.  With the looming need to migrate off the Collage CMS system, “clean” data is imperative to a smooth, seamless transition to a new web content management system. WAC is requesting from BARC that:

    • ALA allocate funds to perform an accessibility review at the highest priority level; and
    • ALA allocate funds to perform a data cleanup project to repair or remove non-compliant code at the highest priority level.
  5. Recognition for Content Managers
    There has been a large cadre of members and staff who have undertaken the task of managing and updating content over recent years.  Without the Herculean efforts of these dedicated members and staffers, the ALA website content would not be as complete as it is. WAC is taking the following steps:

    • Formally recognize content managers for all ALA web content via several methods in relevant places within the ALA web presence.


Reader's Comments

  1. |

    Y’all have probably already thought of this , but one feature that would be helpful to me and I think would be somewhat easy to do would be to take the information from the Connect user profile to suggest meetings or show committee meetings of which you are a member. I usually manually add these to my personal calendar, but occassionally miss one and it would be great if the event planner could “auto-suggest” based upon my profile and also interests. Maybe you cold also have the “randomizer” to suggest a session avilable for a time slot like the restuarant app on the iPhone.

    Also, integrating this so that it would auto-update with room changes and such and also highlight either new panels or cancelled panels as I do not pick up a copy of Cognotes (I am probably in the minority, but I don’t want another gob of paper to carry around in addition to the conference program, etc.). I used my laptop almost exclusively at Midwinter due to the wireless (yeah!) and would live to get those type of updates pushed to my device (laptop or phone).

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  2. |

    Hi, Chris —

    Yes, that’s a major piece we want to implement in the new event planner. In addition, we want to be able to show you which of your friends are attending the conference and when, as well as which sessions are on their planner.

    To find out more about our plans for both Connect and the planner, see the roadmap we posted last week.

    We’ll be doing a survey of the membership to find out what else you’d like to see in the event planner, so be sure to watch for that. Thanks for the feedback –