Last week, Ferd Protzman handed me a copy of a report generated by an alumni committee known as the "Electronic Communications Task Force." The report stated, in part:
"The College's current technology allows it to publish what amounts to a sprawling collection of brochures, guides, and articles online. It doesn't let editors organize or deliver content efficiently. It doesn't let users contribute to the mix, or personalize... the College should consider buying and installing a full-featured editorial production system... to make it easier to post and update information and maintain consistent navigation and design across the site."
Something about the report seemed very familiar - and when I got to the last page, there was my name. It had been so long that I'd forgotten that I'd been a member of that committee.
The best part? The report was dated November 7th, 2000.
(This is all a long-winded way of saying thanks for your patience.)
So, the bad news first: due to a problem with the hosting environment, we missed our target launch date of Wednesday, October 15th.
The good news: the site launched today, in beta. It's a week late, yes, but still a good two weeks before the 8-year anniversary of that report. :-) Today's launch also falls almost exactly on the three-month anniversary of my return to campus - a nice way to celebrate.
You'll find the new site here. My favorite part is the central flash component on the homepage that incoporates personal narratives from students, alums, and faculty. It randomly chooses nine stories at a time, but you'll find all of them at stories.oberlin.edu. Remember that our goal is 1000 stories in the first year - please contribute a story of your own, and help us to publicize the project by joining the facebook group.
We know that performance can be slow at times when surfing the new site. We're still working out the bugs with the hosting environment, and will probably keep the site in beta (and running in parallel to the old site instead of replacing it) until these issues have been resolved.
In the meantime, have fun exploring the new site, and please report any bugs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(I've posted some screenshots below, in case you'd like a quick tour.)