Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tuesday and what I'm up to...

Yes, it's now Tuesday evening & only now did I find time to complete yesterday's post (at least I got it online before Blogger had a chance to go offline - outage scheduled for 8 pm Eastern)!

I'd been alerted by some of the reference people that pathfinders we'd built on the OCLC CORC system that are obsolete, or, in some cases, just their links are. Some pathfinders have been converted to OCLC's Connexion system, others have gone by the wayside altogether. So I've been doing a global search for the corc.oclc links - it's slow with so many pages on our site, but at least this method should capture all live instances of the links (I hope!) ... I'll delete out the pathfinders that the librarians are completely purging (those that are too outdated) and for the remainder of the obsolete pathfinder links, I'll change them to connexion.oclc. I'm sure that I've changed some of them in the past, the issue sounds familiar, but clearly not all of them. I started on this - then got nervous about deletions & felt the need to double-check with our ref librarians - a few of the links I'm still awaiting replies on before I remove them. Now, here's a usability question that I haven't had time to research - do our patrons understand the term "pathfinders"?

For the same group of librarians, who've apparently developed a set of pages using FrontPage (hurrah!), I've been working on a simple template setup to convert those pages. Did you realize that FrontPage 2003 supports the .dwt template function that Dreamweaver (and Contribute) have used so effectively in recent years? (Unfortunately, I discovered that people with FP2002 or earlier can't take advantage of this new feature - oh well...)

I simply created a .dwt file that had the include file for header & footer (I may look at changing at least the footer over to an IIS-provided addition, BTW, as I was investigating some things on IIS today & it reminded me that the server could do all of the heavy lifting - no include files required!!) and a link to the global stylesheet & attached the dynamic web template (yes, that's what .dwt stands for) and the work was converted into very nice versions of the pages that they'd developed - versions that are in line with the overall site.

BTW, I tried out the FP table of contents component to create a dynamic listing of files in a given directory and/or via categories that you designate in each page's properties settings. It works well, but you can't format the output flexibly. Perhaps I'll use ASP to achieve the same thing... but it'll have to wait - my priorities are elsewhere at the moment.

Not only are the pathfinder projects strong arguments for a flexible, high-quality content mgt system (which would allow our reference team to update things like this), but it's also a little poke in the side to remind me that I'd better learn how to write macros for the web tools I use. Automating the tedious and slow global changes would save an outrageous amount of time. If only I can set aside the time to learn all of this!

Today's other highlights included:
* Grappling with my local implementation of IIS (my development web server, running on my local Windows XP machine) - I want both its FrontPage Server Extensions (version 2002 is the latest) and ASP to function - but have been having troubles that require reinstallation & the CD for it. Oh well.

Perhaps I shouldn't leave my little cubicle, given how much work there is before me, but tomorrow I'll be off to see Michael Stephens and Jenny Levine of Library2.0 fame at Darien. I'm so excited - they'll be discussing social software - I'll give you the lowdown once the event is over. I also begin my course in PHP and MySQL programming (PHP & MySQL are the backdrop to a number of popular open-source, some for fee, some free, applications (e.g., WordPress, Drupal, ContentDM, MediaWiki, and so on)) tomorrow. No more acronyms for today, time to call it a day!

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