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Extension > Family Matters > Website Bytes: Finding the Best Home for FD Content

Monday, August 21, 2017

Website Bytes: Finding the Best Home for FD Content


By Hannah Jastram Aaberg, Communications Associate

This summer, I have been transferring previously published newsletters, reports, and fact sheets gleaned from Family Development web pages to the University Digital Conservancy (UDC) to prepare for a revamped Extension website.

What's What

The University Digital Conservancy is the institutional repository for the University of Minnesota. It provides public access to and long-term preservation of work created at the U of M, including that of Extension staff and faculty.

As a refresher, Extension is working to transition our existing website (extension.umn.edu) to a new content management system (CMS) called Drupal. (You can learn more about CMS and Drupal on the Website Projects Updates web page FAQs and Goals.)

Before we transition to this new system, the core FD web team is working with content managers and subject matter experts to delete older and less popular web pages and PDFs. I am also helping people decide what to do with content that is outdated or might not be the best fit for the Extension website.

What's Where

But how do we determine what’s the best fit for a website? In other words, how do we determine what to keep and what to archive with UDC? Here I call on the expertise of the career communications professionals at Dialog Studios in Minneapolis. What follows is an excerpt and adaptation of their Content Touchpoints chart (U of M log in required; scroll to page 3).

First and foremost, we must think of the users — our audiences. For all Extension audiences, it’s important to meet them where they are. The Extension website is just one of many “touchpoints,” that is, ways in which an audience comes into contact with our information and expertise.

Websites are best for providing up-to-date information and facilitating user actions, like registering for a Parents Forever™ course or finding contact information for a SNAP-Ed educator in their county. Websites are not ideal for keeping an archive of information that is outdated or hosting information that isn’t optimized for mobile devices, such as detailed charts or PDFs.

In contrast, the UDC is best for content that supports current web content, and might be useful from a historical perspective and to people doing research on Extension topics. Understandably then, the UDC is not ideal for current or time-sensitive information.

Current Collections

In order to move content into the best homes possible, I’m working with Kristen Mastel, outreach and instruction librarian, to set up collections and keywords in UDC. These will help our audiences find newsletters, reports, and fact sheets that may be useful to them from a historical or research perspective. Well before I got involved, Kristen had created collections for issues of the Children’s Mental Health eReview and for all Center for Family Development material. After  FD's Communications and Educational Resource Development team discussed our options, Kristen set up three more collections:
  • Consortium Connections 
  • CYFC Monthly
  • Latino Financial Literacy Newsletter
You can find all five collections within the larger UDC Extension Collection.

Home Sweet Home

With the assistance of Mark Schultz, executive office and administrative specialist, and in collaboration with the authors, I’ve been removing materials from FD’s website sections and adding them to the appropriate collections. It’s a win-win-win solution for several reasons:
  • FD’s work and expertise is still available online (with persistent or long-lived URLs that are great for CVs).
  • Our audiences can more easily find previously published work through higher rankings in Google and Google Scholar.
  • U of M Libraries are thrilled to build their archive! 
You can read more about the benefits here: Digital Repositories Offer Many Practical Benefits. Questions or concerns? Contact me or Heather Lee.


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