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How to publish your university catalog and class schedules online using the Cascade Server CMS


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Over the last 2 years, Emory College has used Hannon Hill's Cascade Server cms to publish our academic catalog and semester class schedules to the web. Learn the trials, tribulations, and successes we've encountered along the way with data definitions, indexing, and web services.

Presented on September 13, 2010 at the Cascade Server User's Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

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How to publish your university catalog and class schedules online using the Cascade Server CMS

  1. 1. Add, Drop, & Roll out Your Catalog<br />A Cautionary Tale<br />Adelle Frank & Brian Williams <br />Emory College Web Team<br /> September 13, 2010<br />Cascade Server User’s Conference<br />
  2. 2. Outline<br />Where we Started<br />Why we put our Catalog & Class Schedules online<br />Big Dreams<br />Obstacles we knew about<br />Obstacles we found out about<br />Where we are Now<br />Plans for the Future<br />Main Take-aways<br />For more Information…<br />
  3. 3. A. Where we were<br />Outdated <br />paper catalog<br />Non-centralized,<br />Differently-formatted<br />class schedules<br />
  4. 4. B. Why did we go online?<br />Jealousy<br />Easier to use & update our data<br />Printing costs<br />
  5. 5. B. Why did we go online?<br />Jealousy<br />
  6. 6. B. Why did we go online?<br />Easier to Use & Update<br />Print<br />Online<br />
  7. 7. B. Why did we go online?<br />Printing Costs<br />
  8. 8. C. Big Dreams<br />All data in one bucket (location) for easier searching, editing & analyzing.<br />Quality control & consistency.<br />CD copy of the catalog for archiving or to send to people without internet access.<br />Shareable, central data.<br />Easy, distributed content editing.<br />Connected, update once data model.<br />
  9. 9. C. Big Dreams<br />From one location (bucket):<br /><ul><li> Search
  10. 10. Edit
  11. 11. Analyze online data</li></li></ul><li>C. Big Dreams<br />Quality Control<br />& Consistency<br />
  12. 12. C. Big Dreams<br />CD copy of catalog <br /> for snail mail &<br /> to archive<br />
  13. 13. C. Big Dreams<br />Shareable central data<br />Department Website<br />Catalog Description<br />Class Schedule<br />
  14. 14. C. Big Dreams<br />Easy, <br />Distributed <br />content editing<br />
  15. 15. C. Big Dreams<br />Connected update once<br />data model<br />current connections or links between content types<br />possible future links between content types that might be helpful to end users & increase quality control<br />
  16. 16. C. Obstacles: Known<br />No feed from PeopleSoft, only able to manually download a .csv file.<br />Web services learning curve.<br />Catalog and website content intermingled.<br />No standard structures for data.<br />Standard naming & paths needed.<br />Limited time & resources.<br />Manual data entry.<br />Editor training needed.<br />
  17. 17. D. Obstacles: Known<br />No feed from PeopleSoft, only .CSV<br />
  18. 18. D. Obstacles: Known<br />Web Services learning curve<br />
  19. 19. D. Obstacles: Known<br />Catalog &<br />Website Content<br />intermingled<br /> (linking & archiving issues)<br />
  20. 20. D. Obstacles: Known<br />No <br />Standard structures<br />for <br />data!!<br />
  21. 21. D. Obstacles: Known<br />Standard<br />naming<br />&<br />paths<br />Web services<br />XSL<br />
  22. 22. D. Obstacles: Known<br />Limited Time &<br />Resources<br />
  23. 23. D. Obstacles: Known<br />Manual entry of catalog data<br />Thank you admin assistants & student workers!!<br />
  24. 24. D. Obstacles: Known<br />Editor Training needed: <br />key to adoption<br />
  25. 25. D. Obstacles: Unknown<br />Asset-render-depth in data definitions & recursion.<br />Index block settings & render time.<br />Weird data quirks.<br />User needs for rolling over data to avoid duplication of effort.<br />Web services & slowness.<br />Variable is a constant in XSL.<br />Usability issues in data entry forms.<br />Uploading files/images confusion.<br />Moving data definition fields No-No.<br />Permissions granularity issues.<br />Metadata indexing only for large data sets.<br />
  26. 26. E. Obstacles: UnKnown<br />Asset-render-depth<br />in data definitions<br />& recursion<br />
  27. 27. E. Obstacles: UnKnown<br />Index block settings & render time:<br /><ul><li> content type for choosing specific blocks &
  28. 28. automated block creation</li></li></ul><li>E. Obstacles: UnKnown<br />Weird data quirks<br /><ul><li> Interdisciplinary classes
  29. 29. Faculty married names
  30. 30. Class schedules for multiple times, locations, instructors</li></li></ul><li>E. Obstacles: UnKnown<br />User needs: rollover data from semester to semester for class schedules, so don’t have to re-type.<br />
  31. 31. E. Obstacles: UnKnown<br />Web services<br />+<br />large publish jobs <br />=<br />SLOWNESS for all<br />
  32. 32. E. Obstacles: UnKnown<br />“Variable” is really a CONSTANT in XSL.<br />Muenchian Grouping <br />SAVES <br />LIVES!<br />W W M D ?<br />
  33. 33. E. Obstacles: UnKnown<br /><ul><li> Hidden fields not so hidden.
  34. 34. Can’t make forms user-friendly.</li></li></ul><li>E. Obstacles: UnKnown<br /><ul><li> Users find it un-intuitive to upload a file/image BEFORE they can include it on a page
  35. 35. BUT, we want control over parent folder placement.</li></li></ul><li>E. Obstacles: UnKnown<br />Don’t move data definition fields!<br />OR ELSE…<br /><ul><li> data loss
  36. 36. web services scripts need re-written</li></li></ul><li>E. Obstacles: UnKnown<br />Permissions: granularity is challenging<br />
  37. 37. E. Obstacles: UnKnown<br />Commandment I: <br />Thou shall not put data needed for indexing into the data definition, use metadata.<br />
  38. 38. F. Where are we Now<br />
  39. 39. F. Where we are Now<br />Catalog online in a Site using version 6.7 at<br />3 Semesters of class schedules up in Cascade at<br />Sharing course descriptions, class schedules, and faculty bios into Departments that are in Cascade (already seeing quality payback, as departments are noticing errors in catalog data because it lives on their site, too).<br />Saving beaucoup $$$ with online-only catalog and class schedules.<br />
  40. 40. F. Where we are Now<br />Lost main Communications and content coordinator (!), quality checks are not occurring in as organized a fashion.<br />Positive response from students and, after one semester of use, from faculty and staff.<br />No longer use paper publications, just mail out a postcard with the catalog URL or, for non-internet audience or IP-blocked Chinese students, a CD-ROM (using a separate, manually-activated Page Configuration & Publish Set).<br />Analytics<br />
  41. 41. G. Potential Future Plans<br />Change the way we do class schedules:<br />use a feed from Peoplesoft<br />Rollover default textbooks/descriptions<br />Archive catalog and class schedule versions with Library in a digital format (HTML).<br />Improve navigation & searching after College site is re-designed.<br />
  42. 42. G. Potential Future Plans<br />Refine content types<br />Department (brevity)<br />Major/Minor (more structured)<br />Faculty (additional XSL for display)<br />Scholarships (create structure)<br />Create XSL transports to PDF or Word.<br />Create more training (videos & documentation), especially re: HTML.<br />Share<br />class section pages on Faculty and course description pages.<br />majors/minors with Departmental web sites in Cascade.<br />Hire person to update catalog content.<br />
  43. 43. H. Main Take-aways<br />
  44. 44. H. Main Take-aways<br />Choose a dedicated person (or persons) to update and quality-check your content.<br />Get to know your data (& data owners) in the BEGINNING.<br />
  45. 45. H. Main Take-aways<br />Prioritize which content you’ll structure first (since you can’t do it all).<br />Consider frequency of updates in whether a data-heavy project should go into Cascade or not.<br />
  46. 46. H. Main Take-aways<br />Consider usability for editors when designing workflows, data definition field order, & training.<br /><ul><li> Be wary of indexing, metadata & recursion issues.</li></li></ul><li>H. Main Take-aways<br />Plan your naming & organization schemes in the BEGINNING.<br />Invest in acquiring web services and XSL coding skills.<br />
  47. 47. I. For more Information<br />XML Data Definitions, XSL Stylesheets, Web Services scripts, and a number of helpful links from this presentation can be found at:<br /><br />