Customizing and Personalizing the New Site

One aspect of the web makeover that we’ve heard is quite desired – and that we’ve always included in our plan – is the creation of personalized and customized pages. Over the last few months, it’s become clear that these terms, along with others like portals, homepages, profiles, and the like, can mean differing things depending on context. So in the interest of sharing a common vocabulary, we’ve developed a brief glossary of four different ways that the new site will support personal and custom information:

Portal: a personalized & customized user page for interacting with This will not be published for others to see, but rather an interface you can make to choose the links, feeds, updates, and other information from Middlebury and other sites that you want to easily access. It will be comparable to iGoogle, MyYahoo, etc., but we will not be able to have it structured around widget in first iteration launching in January – implementing a widget-based system will be part of the next phase of development.

Directory Listing: the public presentation of data coming from Banner (department, address, email, phone, office hours, photo, etc.). You cannot edit this material on the web directly, but can update your information within Banner, including adding a link to your profile or personal website. This information will be accessed through the online directory search, and departmental sites can pull staff/faculty info from the directory.

Profile: the public presentation of your information, fully customized and editable by you. You can include feeds, images, video, links (internal & external), and other assorted content. There will be templates for defaults by classification (faculty, staff, student, etc.), with limited design flexibility. Your profile can feed from other dynamic systems – faculty pulling current course offerings, links to recent publications or documents, calendar of relevant events, etc. For most members of the Middlebury community, your profile will be the place to present yourself to the world.

Personal Website: anyone can build and maintain their own website independent of the core design and information architecture. Many people already do this, using tools like Segue, WordPress, HTML, or other platforms. LIS Web Services will support building such sites on WordPress and other currently supported platforms (including Segue in the short-term). Anyone can choose to link to their personal website via their directory and/or profile.

Hopefully this clarifies what options will be available for individuals. Please post any questions and comments as we work to implement these features.

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