Catherine Morgan and Tao Gao from South Carolina State Library
A case study on how South Carolina State Library built a new interactive web site using the open source software Joomla
- Information is the fastest growing product in the world - Joomla is a free, open source content management system that is easy to install and use and reliable.
- It offers separation of Content and Form, is portable, estendable, and has strong support communities.
- Other systems considered, with their drawbacks, included Drupal and blogging software.
- The main difference between Joomla and a blog is how content is managed - separation of content and form enables posting by many users without danger to form.
- Joomla also has over 1000 extensions allowing many different types of appllications
- But...Joomla does not yet integrate with an OPAC - one alternative is to link to catalog on another website
Who is using Joomla ?
- Porsche Brazil, a business with potential for excellent design - Porsche Brazil
- United Nations RIC, a non-profit needing multilingual support and full compliance with accessibility standards - United Nations Regional Information Centre
Trends in open source content management software Google Trends
The old web site included more than 1000 static web pages, no navigation structure, inconsistent style, graphically unappealing, table-based layout, no interactivity.
Goals for new web site included:
- standards compliant site
- intuitive navigation
- separation of content and form
- staff collaboration
- site-wide search
- on-line job submissions
- community oriented
- rss feeds and other interactive stuff
Web design team included
- project manager
- graphic designer
- web developer with css experience
- content manager
Phase 1 - 2004 - analysis: conducted online user surveys with survey monkey, and reviewed content in light of the 227 responses - lessons learned: survey monkey worked - open-ended questions were most useful. Assigned rigorous content review for each page to a staff member who had not been responsible for that page's development.
Phase 2 - design: initiated an interface design and review process that stalled for several years. A new library director disbanded with all committees, fired the ineffective graphic designer, and reduced the web design team to two people.
Phase 3 - content audit: CMS (content management system) options explored. Free open source software Joomla was selected in spite of a fairly difficult learning curve. A new graphical interface was designed for Joomia templates, and content migration was completed while the old web site continued to be maintained and updated
Phase 4 -Interactive features: Priority given to developing interactive features including an RSS feed and software for online collaboration
Phase 5 - Deployment and Evolution - the new website content was reviewed, the site went live, the old website was killed, and the new website was moved to an inhouse server, evaluated, and expanded.
Lessons learned - few staff reviewed site, many kudos received after migration, content management system made it much easier to evaluate and improve the site.
Joomla came through! New site: http://www.statelibrary.sc.gov/
The site is entirely built with CSS, and has interactive calendars, an automatically updated home page, and many interactive features.
Staffing - old web site: Homepage Committee, PR Committee, Web Administrator
new web site - 2 web managers, 25 authors, 326 registered members of web site - librarians from all over South Carolina and outside the state
mentioned in passing - the Assistant Director of the Atlantic City Free Public Library is active in the Joomla community