In The News: Including and Repurposing News and Events in Cascade by Lauri Francis


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Watch as Lauri Francis will demonstrate our Cascade structure for organizing a site, including the technical features. Also, she will discuss her thought process when she launched it, how she initially made changes to it, and how she plan to enhance it in the future.

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  • TheCollege business site gives departments and programs an identity. Sections for department and programs overviews, admissions, advising, forms, directories (including a faculty directory with biographical pages for all 400+ of the full time research and teaching faculty). Note the “ticker line”-our fake RSS feed-the items in the ticker line are links to press stories on the ASNews website
  • Looks a lot more like a newpaper. You won’t find out where your professor’s office is on this site, but you may find out he just received a major grant or wrote a new book. You hopefully will also see Many of the events happening on this date in TheCollege
  • Challenge to have a balance of stories representative of our departments and programs (topically). As a side benefit, stories become the natural content for social media (Facebook and Twitter).
  • While some is drawn from press releases written by “SU Central” …the vast majority of content originates in house. 125-200 press releases are written and become story pages on the News site every year. Calendar of events items are entered into a calendar application outside of Cascade and pulled in through a filtered xml feed. Use social media feeds-right now just Twitter as the facebook postings are too similar to what’s already on the news home page.
  • When people come in to work in the morning, the site will hopefully have a fresh article for people to read
  • Full Page look but orderly
  • You will see a couple of these sidebars, In the news and Upcoming Events on the home page as well
  • A story page’s default region is pretty basic. It has two text areas that format automatically for the first photo to float left and the second to float right, both with optional captions.
  • The displayed text draws content directly from the page and creates a clickable list item. List picks up the title of the article, the date chosen, and the summary line (which is often also the subheading). We decided not to include the photo as a thumbnail –but could have.
  • Call attention to the small blue bar News listing Events listing which allows navigation to these parts of the Science-Math current articles. We almost always have a lot more News items than Events, and events of the day are more effectively shown in the calendar feed. Note also in the left sidebar the list of departments belonging to the Sci-Math category. We sneak in links back to the College academic area, and the picture in the sidebar is a representative animation of Sciences and Math.
  • Why did we do it this way when it could have been done via the metadata, the date, or in one of many ways.
  • Rotating stories: use the link effectively, small feature: reuse the picture (and it’s clickable)
  • The type of choice list shown here is widely used on our college page, all of them. I call it the list-item chooser, because my user has the ability to link to internal or external resouces and (at least at the top part) can’t do any additional styling! While this particular Sidebar also has a WYSWYG for additional tex, many do not (again saving me work!)
  • Good story about calendar entry
  • We only resuse OUR YouTube video links
  • In The News: Including and Repurposing News and Events in Cascade by Lauri Francis

    1. 1. #cascadeserver @hannon_hill
    2. 2.  launched in February 2010, first time a CMS had been used to manage online content Purpose: repository for academic information (the “business” side of TheCollege).  launched in September 2010, a sister site Purpose: showcase activities, research, student and alumni accolades, news and events unique to Arts and Sciences.
    3. 3.  Based on Press Releases (“Stories”)  Primary Categories aligned to the academics of TheCollege: ◦ Sciences ◦ Humanities ◦ People  Classify each Story as “News” or “Event”  Current Stories and searchable Archive #cascadeserver @hannon_hill
    4. 4.  Press Releases created by two staff writers  SU Calendar (VT Calendar application) provides xml feed of daily events  Social Media postings  Video (YouTube Channel and Ensemble streaming server)  Custom Slideshow Stories  Outside News “snippets” as links
    5. 5.  Content will always have some updated material (daily)  Story selection and rotation determined by the editorial staff (of two)  Any moderation or approval of content done offline (no workflows required)  Auto-Publish nightly with optional on-demand as needed
    6. 6.  # Story pages 2010 (95) 2011 (142) 2012 (174) 2013 (110) Over 500 total to date… (adding 6-7 stories weekly during academic year)  In addition to TheCollege and ASNews sites, my technical staff manages: 18 department, 3 intranet, 5 cultural, 40 research sites and the online faculty directory, for a total 3500 pages. (All in Cascade)
    7. 7.  LOW MAINTENANCE  PREDICTABLE EFFORT INVOLVED  CREATE ONCE, USE MANY  Get a lot of mileage out of a “Story”  Editorial components can be used in multiple places in ASNews and in our other web sites  Present the content in such a way to look like more (especially in periods of low academic activity)
    8. 8. Home Page CURRENT Story Pages Story Pages Archives 2013 2012 2011 2010 “CURRENT” List Pages
    9. 9.  Center column is the editable region  Left Sidebar: navigation plus up to three additional blocks  Right Column contains the calendar feed
    10. 10.  default region Story Page This area contains the content we repurpose to other pages
    11. 11.  Metadata assigns the Category affiliation(s) and the designation as News or Event item Based on the checked affiliations, this page will be included on both the People and the Science-Math listing pages Event or News designation is a preference of our editors
    12. 12. We decided not to include the photo as a thumbnail – but could have.
    13. 13.  Story Page in relation to List Pages Story Page Resides in the Newsevents_2013 folder A reference to it is placed in the appropriate “Current” folder (Events or News) Story shows up on the List or Lists checked in the metadata and shows up in ALL-Current
    14. 14. WHY ?
    15. 15.  Our Writers understood references  They could see references and move them around in the folders  They could delete a reference and not panic  They could recreate a reference if wanted to rerun a story  They stopped deleting the list pages by accident  The story pages stayed in their original folder and the links always stay the same They stopped calling and emailing me!
    16. 16.  Home Page: Stories in rotation (3+)  4 more feature stories
    17. 17.  Only a small amount of custom information accompanies the Story Page link in a Rotating Story  Only a Rotating Story requires a different size picture (4 smaller features can use same size picture as the Story Page)
    18. 18. In The News Left Sidebar: external recognition of our stories lends authority (and helps our search ranking!) Home Page -Home Page - Reuse other people’s content…
    19. 19.  Events Right Sidebar:  XML feed from the SU News calendar  Filtering is applied at either the inbound feed link or in the XSLT  This feed will pick up Events that don’t have a Story Page  Events drop off after they occur (at the calendar level) and combined with daily publish is always current
    20. 20. Various ways to sort items from the feed, including By Category (Humanities, Sciences, People) By department (English, Physics) By number to display and placement Combination of feed filters and XSLT filtering
    21. 21.  Twitter feed tends to reinforce what is already in the Stories or Calendar (so we added it)  Facebook feed is a potential addition but is less legible and more repetitive  YouTube channel is linked in the Multimedia sidebar…and…
    22. 22.  We have a modified Story Page for video embeds…  That draws from an Arts and Sciences YouTube Channel with a subgroup of playlists We have tested Hannon Hill’s video embed tools in the WYS For accessibility compliance, we only use videos which are captioned
    23. 23.  The “Ticker Line” features academic links Because (virtually) all our sites are in Cascade, we have the ability to cross reference content easily Cascade’s Page Chooser has recently become one of my favorite tools to replicate content to other areas.
    24. 24. Same basic functionality as Category Lists with different ordering and an upper right navigation created by an index block that counts the List pages within annual archives List Pages in archives are restricted to a numerical range of pages so the list does not become too long.
    25. 25.  The Story Page link does not “expire” when it’s referenced by outside media or our own web sites. We can add a link on a faculty member’s personal page to the Story Page that featured them-and it will always work.  Stories in archives update any changes in sidebar or header/footer as well (2010 stories get new feeds, links to social media) and are republished nightly as well. So much of the ASNews site is text it’s highly searchable
    26. 26.  Story Page Master Elements added at the Template or Configuration Set Level (they all share the same side elements)  Story Page has sub-versions: video, slideshow, notesField) all of which do not have a right sidebar  Home Page is unique, has its own Template  Category List Pages (current) share a Configuration set but have Left side elements added at the Page level. Archives are basically the same with an added block and format for the page count-and nothing is customized at the page level.  I looked at what sidebars needed to drop into every page in a section and planned around that.
    27. 27.  Content draws directly from the story page and does not require rewriting  Changes made in the links to convert from browse path to url  Publish to a folder on the file server instead of the web server  Weekly mailing and event-specific Our Physics department has been using a Cascade email format for weekly notifications to faculty, staff and students
    28. 28.  From August 25-September 14, 2013 ASNews had 1,800 unique visitors (3 weeks)  A typical month during the academic year is 3,000 unique visitors
    29. 29.  We see outside promotion driving viewers to ASNews (we want that!)
    30. 30.  George Saunders Video on YouTube posted Friday night at 5pm. This followed the announcement his book just made the NY Times bestseller list. Link added to ASNews  By Monday morning, thousands of views of the video and the Story Pages featuring Saunders were getting lots of hits  To date, Saunders video has over 40,000 views.
    31. 31. Content Design Reuse Content Strategically Technical Design Consistent User Interface Cascade TOOLS
    32. 32.
    33. 33.  For reference
    34. 34. Index Block Listing Current
    35. 35. Index Block Listing Current
    36. 36. XSLT Listing Current (Science-Math)
    37. 37. Page Chooser DTD
    38. 38. Page Chooser XSLT