September 12, 2008

Transferring bio pages to Word

Welcome to the VG staff blog! Omise'eke and Valerie, you have been added as authors. If you have something to post on the blog simply go to, click onto "login to Uthink," and use your x500.

As I was going through the bios I realized that we can finally see the light. I have to double-check with Dhana-Marie, but it looks like there are only 45 left. I'll continue with "S." Valerie, take "R." That leaves Neely, Barbara through Quintasket, Christine (Mourning Dove) (unless someone has since worked through "N").

I have re-posted Marcia's Instructions with an Example bio that explains how to make Word files for the CLA web team. I've included a
second example as well.

To add tags to the remaining bios use the attached Excel file.

Please don't hesitate to contact Adam or Kim if you have questions or you want someone to look over your first version.

TIP: When you copy & paste from the web into Word it is best to use Safari or Internet Explorer because Firefox doesn't seem to keep the formatting.

NOTE: Some bio pages have book titles in bold. They need to be changed to italics.

April 10, 2008

Transition update

I've done A-K in the bios area

I'm working currently in the "critique" section (up around G-ish in fiction reviews).

I have done the interpretations, children's book reviews, and am now working on fiction reviews. I don't plan to write up instructions; I'll just do them all ASAP. Of course, if I go into labor tomorrow, this turns out to be a bad strategy. But there are so many oddities about the critiques, I thought this would be easier.

It'd be great to hear an update about what everyone else has done, esp. so there's no overlapping.

March 24, 2008

Anyone else run across/wondering:

*Run across bios that are fused together: top half is one author, bottom half another?
*How much leeway in editing things like, "emotion and sincerity in her writing, traits that are uniquely American"?
*How much time do we want to spend fixing/copyediting the pages as we get them ready for the switchover?

March 12, 2008

Instructions for switching over

Download file

These instructions are slightly updated; however, they have been tainted by my PC. You can also find the instructions in the /VG for CLA Redesign/ folder on the Mac desktop.
Download file

Please read through these instructions; let me know if any of it doesn't make sense. They're my version of the CLA-OIT instructions (most of it's been approved by Programmer Dan over there).

*I'm taking A-F to begin with (although I've only gotten through about 12 in the As so far).
*Adam and Brianna are taking T-Z.
*Please suggest below what letters you might take, clarifications needed in the instructions, etc. Thanks!

Some Video Resources

Media Mill


An example of sharing a VideoAnt with others for editing

An example of sharing a VideoAnt in a view only format

One site that can help with converting video to usable format

More to come soon!

March 10, 2008

Redesign & Giving Content

The CLA-OIT web team WILL work with us to create an updated VG site.

The Good: The technical stuff will be handled by capable web designers and developers whose job it is to make websites in CLA. They know a lot about web design and web architecture. And, they can implement a site that is sustainable whether we have four RAs working or just one humble volunteer. Here's a list of recent work they've done (I particularly like elements of Asian L & L and PoliSci). They've done a number of department websites, so in some ways we present a new challenge for them since our site is a different species.

Asian Languages and Literatures
Political Science

The Bad:

First of all, CLA can't begin working on the site until May. What we can do in the meantime is get all the content in updated and ready. (Marcia has made a wonderful tutorial on how to format the content for Microsoft Word according to the web team's standards).

Secondly, by going with CLA, we move from off-the-radar to on-the-radar in terms of being an 'official' U site. On the plus side, that means our website will meet the best accessibility standards so that visitors with special needs or visitors with slower internet connections will still be able to interact with our site. BUT, this also means we have to have the U's "universal header" in maroon and gold at the top of our page. Asian L&L snuck in one of the last integrated headers, but from now on the header has to be like it is on the English mainpage.

Marcia and I have worked up a basic draft of the navigational hierarchy, which I will bring to the meeting on Wed.

I also met with Emily Paulson about the giving content. I'll talk about that on Wed. There are some ways we might improve the language of the giving content, which is another thing we can discuss on Wed.

March 6, 2008

meeting with CLA-OIT

I will work up a comprehensive report on the pros & cons, ups & downs, etc of my meeting with Karen and Dan last Wednesday. It looks like this semester we should put our efforts into getting the current content updated and polished in prep for redesign. More to come on that tomorrow and in the meeting next week.

In other news, we have had 10,000 visitors in the last 3 days! Zora Neale Hurston is our most viewed writer this the week.

March 3, 2008

Transcription tools

It does seem that the most popular transcription software is Naturally Speaking. In order to be sure that this is the right product and any other necessary tools I do need to know what digital recorder is being used. Could someone let me know?

Look around the site I link to above to get more information on transcription and recording tools and how they might be useful to us.

February 27, 2008

Meeting Notes Feb 27 2008


*Potential UROP students were introduced, Lauren and Valerie. Lauren discussed what she might be interested in, was “pretty open.�


*13 Minutes left in transcription
*Aleta talked about VideoAnt (can it do audio?) and would look into transcription software
*Moodle set up: File drawers or for “cleaning up the mess�—Marcia and Dhana-Marie to talk about
*Up through P in cleaning up bios
*Went to meeting with undergrads, working on presentation for classrooms (test presentation in Dhana-Marie’s class

*Interested in interviewing local writers
*Continuing above


*Down through M in cleaning up bios
*Style sheet
*Take off “new� label from non-new bios
*Children’s books—compile info about children’s authors on site
*Did the “edited to be coded� bios; will help D-M with some coding issues
*Also going through critiques for dead links
*Emails from instructors interested in using site in their class; other emails

*Will work on information-architecture issues w/Adam
*Will work on ways to involve students w/D-M and Kim
*Continuing above


*Submitted grant app for $20K
*Feasibility of $250K grant?
*Should VG stay in English?
*We want to interview

*Will work on guest speaker for spring event
*Will look into VG class for fall—what happened? Can we still have it?
*Continuing above


*Class presentations—D-M reminds that we need to focus on the “what’s in it for me� angle
*Student organization
*Spring event (Lind 150, budget, small open mic and featured readers—Maria will look into this if Kim emails her reminder)
*General “marketing stuff�

*Will start student organization
*Will send out boilerplate email and start classroom presentations


*Dreamweaver (server situation)
*Google Analytics report

*Will port to Dreamweaver
*Will look into updating Dreamweaver
*Will begin on redesign
*Will add “donate� button


*What should we push?
*Maria: Interviews
*Marcia: More interactive content—blogs in book reviews, guest blogs, other forms of networking/interaction?
*Donate button (Adam)
*Multiple “axes� of affiliation (or, as Aleta says, tags)


*Soros Foundation—who was going to look into this?

February 25, 2008

potential interviewees

hi vg'ers
i've been thinking abt expanding the interview/live programming aspect of VG. we've got potentially 2 UROP workers joining us (they'll be coming to our mtg on wednesday) and they can take over some of the work of transcription, etc.
Local writers we can interview w/o much trouble:
Sun Yung Shin
Wang Ping
Laurie Carlos
Any of you interested in taking this on?

Also i'm interested in bringing poet Hermine Pinson to campus for a reading. She had some medical thing happen (a stroke or something) that made her speech and language thing really interesting, and she wrote a book about it. My friends at Rain Taxi saw her give a reading and they sd it was really great.

February 24, 2008


Picture 1.jpg

The class I took this week confirmed for me that Dreamweaver is the way to go. If Dieter and 1-Help can help me figure out the current server situation, we can tell Dreamweaver to capture the VG site--pics, files, warts, and all. Once Dreamweaver captures it we can go to work making templates and cleaning it up.

Picture 2.jpg

So what goes into making the switch beyond the magic push of a button?

1) Planning and designing. Without getting too crazy, I think we should take this opportunity to improve the look and layout of the site. Everything from menus to color to navigation. If we do this part well, everything else will be fairly easy. And, when we've left VG to new folks, the transition will be smooth. Ideally the foundation of the site can be built for longevity even if nifty this-n-thats come and go.

2) Building templates accordingly (or stealing templates accordingly). The templates will really make the site consistent, yet with enough flexibility in the editable content areas for the inevitable variations. No more line by line coding. No cyberduck.

Picture 3.jpg

I think the challenge for us will be to figure out what needs improving, and more importantly, the best way to improve it.

The color panels in this post are from the great Adobe color site, Kuler . They have collections of color families and a tool to create your own color family. The ones here are from the top-rated collections. They are not suggestions, just show-and-tell on the tools and possibilities available for our little site.

February 22, 2008

VG Staff Update: Meddling With Moodle/Current News and Events

Hi, everyone

Spent some time with Aleta yesterday catching up with the Moodle. It
will take a few days for the system to send us an email saying we have
an account. In the meantime, I'm doing a demo to get more familiar
with how our Moodle might be managed. If anyone has ideas about how
to best organize the files, send a message otherwise I'll just look at
what we want filed virtually and make up some categories. Since the
Moodle is a kind of test file that we may discard later, I won't worry
so much about specifics.

What other kinds of the Current News and Events idea, might we want to
post in that area? Are there other people going to conferences/events
that could send us information that we could quickly glean and post on
the site? AP-style news bits are super easy to write, they're just
names, dates and information and can be gleaned from just about
anywhere. In a world where people are constantly piped electronic
news, updates about artists generally come secondhand or by word of
mouth. Maybe this is another direction in which the site could go to
attract new audiences and sources of funding.


February 20, 2008

VG Student Organization

I found the information we would need to start a student organization. The cost is $25, and we need 5 students to serve as officers. The URL for the info is Let me know what you think. The student organization would be a good thing to pitch at the classroom presentations, especially if we planned a late-spring event.

Do you think our undergraduate volunteer would want to serve as an officer?

Open links in new page?

A few of the links are set to open in a new window. Most are set to open in the same window.

Should we make a ruling? I know, nit-picky, but...

Let's not forget to get rid of/overwrite the old front page...

When search for VG, the website that comes up first is:

Whereas we want people to come here:, no?