The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

A newer, sleeker Homepage revealed

Returning from Winter Break, many students noticed the radical difference in Grinnell’s website, as part of a two-phase plan to make the site more accessible to the students and faculty.
“What people are seeing now is the culmination of phase one of two of the web project, which was mostly to get it into a new content management system,” said Mark Root-Wiley ’08, who was hired to assist with the project.
Drupal, the new system, is a popular open source content management system that breaks down page content into usable data, so information can be better organized. It is the second such system utilized by the college.
“When I started working here, which was 10 years ago, we just had a whole bunch of pages. They were not maintained centrally at all, so the site was a huge mess,” said Online Media and Web Coordinator Leonid Ivanov.
Ivanov, in an attempt to centralize and organize the information on the site, looked into outside content management systems. The previous system, BornFree, was installed, but quickly became unwieldy.
“It was a good step, but because I’m the only developer…by the time we were done, people wanted so much more that in the end I just switched completely into support mode…putting out fires instead of making something new,” Ivanov said.
A cross-campus group of students, faculty and staff met to discuss problems with the quality of the website, as well as cut down the content of the website. Palantir, a Chicago-based firm, was hired to install Drupal, and to transfer onto it the site’s content.
The launch of the new website marks the completion of phase one, which was to install the underlying system. Over the next few months, students and faculty are invited to give feedback, through the group’s Wiki on the College’s website or by emailing [webguys], and actively participate in the completion of phase two.
“We’re hoping that sometime in the next one to three years we’ll be able to hire a professional firm to redesign the entire site, restructure the entire site and really make the site better from a usability perspective, so it won’t just look different,” Root-Wiley said. “It’ll actually work different. That’ll be phase two.”

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