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University Web Developers

Our college is in the midst of a complete redesign and content overhaul. Actually, the content will all be new: no legacy content being brought over...yea!

Our faculty and staff serve as the content authors. When our new CMS is in place and ready for content population, we're going to require authors to attend training not only on the CMS system itself, but I will be presenting training on "writing for the TCCD web".

I've been doing research for the past couple of months, mostly online. Any ideas on books, journals, etc. that I may use as well?
THANKS!

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One I'm reading right now is called Hot Text Web Writing that Works and it is written by Jonathan and Lisa Price http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Text-Writing-that-Works/dp/0735711518/ref.... I just started it so I can't reccomend it one way of another...

I also would reccomend defining a university-wide style guide that your authors adhere to, wetting up a wiki is good for this kind of thing because it allows your authors to collaborate and add entries as they come across it. I also use the AP Style Guide, which is the guide that is used by newspapers so that they can keep a consistent style and format across the country.

I have also read several books on copyrighting, but nothing there has really blown me away... I think that much of the problem is that we're still trying to figure out what "good" writing is for the web.

I have one question for you though, how is your institution going about and getting content streams for the web? Do you have a pool of professional authors who go around the campus and seek out stories, or do you have volunteers from a variety of on-campus groups who are looking for content to bring back to the web? This is the biggest stumbling block we're heading up against now... If you have any insight pleas let me know!

Thanks,

Josh
Josh, thanks for responding. I've come across so much research in the past year since I first posed this question, and would be happy to share if needed. I'm also presenting at this year's HighEdWeb conference in Milwaukee on the subject of increasing the usability of your Web site with or without a redesign. Our new site launched in April and it was quite the task to get content for the site: we brought over no legacy content.

As far as content streams, do you mean from our disciplines and departments or the more newsy stuff? Our college district has five campuses. We took the approach of doing our IA and content writing with the different audiences in mind, rather than our org chart: this was like pulling teeth in most cases (as you might imagine). Each campus has a different organizational structure when it comes to disciplines, so geography may be in the science division on one campus but in the humanities on another campus. We had to drill down to the discipline level and have one rep from each campus work as a team to come up with the content for THE geography area, THE math area, etc., rather than one for each campus. Our students are SO thankful for the change as are the prospective students we've heard from. All that to say that for each discipline out of the five, one is responsible for entering the content into our CMS and one other is responsible for "approving" that content before it gets to me (I'm the Web content editor for the entire district). Because of major politics, this was actually the best solution for us (myself and the Webmaster) as well as make sure that the administrators were happy. (Lots more to this and can talk to you about the good, the bad and the ugly that we learned during that process if you'd like.) I then edit all content keeping usability in mind. We also trained all of the content contributors on "writing for the Web" to aid in that process.

As far as the more newsy things or features, the entire district of employees (faculty, staff and administrators) are encouraged to submit ideas to the Public Relations & Marketing office. We have an area of highlights written by the PR & M staff to highlight students, alums, employees across the district.

Not sure if that answered your question. :-) Let me know. And thanks again for the info. I'm going to check out the book you recommended.

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