1. Cascade Upgrade to the University and PSA Cascade instances.
Server upgrade from version 6.7.3 to 6.7.6 was completed Friday, April 8 with minimal down time and stress. Already, version 6.8 has been released but is not being considered at this time because of known publishing issues.
2. Internet outage
The April 5 outage was due the failure of a major piece of network hardware. C-light was still functioning, allowing access to the mirror site in California where a new homepage was loaded. Repairs were made quickly enough it was not necessary to implement the basic page. Since then, the TTL has been changed on our main server from 6 hours to 5 minutes should we need to implement an emergency switch to California again. A small VPN — to allow for administration — and a database are being added to the California site to allow for University sites in Cascade to function with data from the newsroom — which is not in Cascade — with back up the night before. Master Calendar also being considered. A debriefing of the issue and future plans are being discussed with Cathy Sams later this week.
Suggestion to change the “ccit_news” Twitter fed to something easier to type on mobile devices was made. The situation also underscored the need for faculty, staff and students to subscribe to the CU Safety Alerts. During the outage, many people relied on Twitter for updates and information.
3. Search Engine Optimization
Brian Cass gave a presentation on Search Engine Optimization, providing a comprehensive introduction to the subject, defining the importance of strategies and goals, processes and tools available as well as examples of ways to improve page rankings. The Graduate School subscribes to a paid service with SEOMOZ.org, which offers several valuable resources to assist with the optimization of pages and sites. This presentation was meant to be an introduction to the team, with a more in-depth “brown-bag” meeting being planned for June.
Handouts from the meeting can be downloaded at:
Ranking Factors: http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors
Web Developers – Cheat Sheet: http://www.seomoz.org/user_files/SEO_Web_Developer_Cheat_Sheet.pdf
4. “Info Graphics”
Anne Jenkins provided an introduction to “info graphics,” a way of visually displaying quantitative data. Attached are two of the examples she shared with the group, along with the Alumni Tracking Tigers site (http://clemson.edu/alumni/dashboard/). There are a lot of good statistics that we could use to better tell the story, improve search results and provide the user with a better experience through these sorts of images. Initially, Anne has asked webmasters to determine best uses for these sorts of graphics, and would like to open the discussion for how we can connect to databases that hold this information in order to more automatically display the information. Creative Inquiry is a good example of an existing database that could be used to generate visually compelling graphics without compromising student privacy. Brian Cass suggested he could generate an xml file from the data.
5. Updates from Members: