September 24, 2007

Check out my new blog for York Computer Science & Engineering students

This post is aimed a little more at the Engineering & CS profs and students out there; I'm interested in what you might think about this project.

I've created yet another blog, this one I'm aiming at Engineering & Computer Science students at my institution. I have two main ideas for this blog: first, as a place to locate my IL related links and other information. In the past I've used static web pages and was pretty happy with them. However, over time (and mostly over my sabbatical) I thought that I might want something a little easier, a little more flexible, a little more interactive and mashupable. And I saw an example of what could be accomplished at Heather Matheson's OLA presentation.

It took me a while, but I think I've got something I can live with. It uses WordPress instead of Joomla; but it also incorporates some rss feeds like my linkblog and the new book lists from my library. It has Meebo so students can touch base with me directly. Mostly I like that I've been able to move over the old IL instructional pages I did in FrontPage with relatively little fuss and bother. The classes I've used it for so far seem to like it and the reception from faculty too has been positive. It just looks cooler.

Second, as a place where I can highlight York science profs in the news and post some interesting links to engineering/CS stuff I think is neat, useful or interesting. I plan on using the WordPress pages feature to add digested versions of the full blown pathfinders we have. As well I want to create a list of all the different IL pages so anyone can find them without scrolling or searching.

I've also used the blog for some non-Engineering/CS classes, explaining that the current blog is just a prototype for future blogs in other areas. For example, I do a lot of Science & Technology Studies and Natural Science (NatSci are breadth courses for non-science students) courses and the posts don't really belong on the CSE blog. I would like to eventually create one for Nats/STS but I don't want to commit to it until I have a better idea of how successful the idea is. If you were a non-CSE student, would you be ok with your courses web page being hosted on a CSE blog?

I'm also particularly interested in what other librarians out there have done with IL or subject-focused blogs, how you've done things differently or the same. If you've preferred WordPress or Blogger or if you think that a more sophisticated CMS like Moodle or Joomla is the way to go. As usual, either drop a comment here, Meebo or email at jdupuis at yorku dot ca. Feedback, suggestions, ideas, pros, cons are all more than welcome; the blog is plainly a work in progress and I full expect it to evolve some more in the coming months.


Jane said...

Wow! I think it looks great. And I really like the idea of posting things from the "real world", plus what the science/CS/engineering profs are up to, is a great one. I wish my institution had something like this. (Maybe it's time I had lunch w/ my librarian again, so that I can bring this up!)

The only suggestion I have would be to put links to the slides, rather than incorporating the slides as posts---mainly because I think it looks cluttered. (Will you have permalinks to these slides on the main blog page?)

John Dupuis said...


Thanks for the comment. You're right, it is a bit cluttered the way I have it right now and I'll be thinking of ways to make it less so. There might be different WordPress themes that are less busy or have a slightly different arrangement of the 3 columns. I'll also be having a sidebar (or page) that only lists the course posts. I'm not sure if I can create enough pages to make them the course posts but that's something I might try too.