Thursday, July 31, 2008

There's no place like home.

The re.web project is officially complete today - on time and within budget.

Beginning August 1, 2008, we move from project to process. W&M's website will evolve and improve as we work to offer interesting, informative and engaging content for our visitors. To make this happen, we will continue to rely on all of you - the talented people who love the College.

This is our final post on this blog - we hope you'll visit our new blog.

Until we meet again, just close your eyes and click your heels together three times.

Go Tribe,
re.web Team

Launch Time?

We expect to launch the new William & Mary website between 12:00 noon and 1:00PM today.

Go Tribe.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Yes! The new W&M website is launching on Thursday. With any takeoff, there comes a bit of turbulence. Don't be alarmed if you are directed to a page you didn't expect or if you receive the ever comforting "page not found." You can expect some flakiness with links while we transition. We'll be dodging those air pockets as quickly as we can.

Please don't evaluate the quality of the search results from the new site right away. Search engines may take until Monday to catch up.

Send an email to if you find errors after Thursday. We appreciate your patience through this transition.

posted by Tina Coleman

A letter home from "camp"

Dear Family and Friends,

We are having a great time here at W&M Operation Launch! Our camp counselor, Reverend Blair, is making us all write to our families in case you saw the 404 page and worried. We are OK. Only 1 new page and 2 table layouts got washed away. Luckily, none of us realized because we were all arguing about web-safe colors when it happened.

Oh yes, please call Tina's mother and tell her she is OK. She can't write because she is way too busy cleaning up HTML. I got to learn some new unix commands today. It was neat. Roger won't let me use the rm -rf * - he's so mean. Mr. Tyler got mad at Mark for going on a Google search alone without telling anyone. Mark said he did tell him, but it was during the database failure so he probably didn't hear him.

Norborne isn't crabby like some camp directors. He didn't even get mad about the broken links. He can be demanding though. He asked Andrew to draw a new map of camp (with new driving directions) and give it to you after you get here.

We will be home on Friday if (when!) the new website launches. Lord Boutetort told Joel that with a site that old you have to expect something to look weird in IE. Do you think we could get everyone to use Firefox?

I have to go now. We are locking ourselves up in Blow 311 again today. Don't worry about anything. We are fine. Can you send more Fig Newtons? We ran out.

Love, Susan

P.S. How long has it been since we backed up our web files?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

At least the people love us

Back in May, the re.web blog was nominated for an eduStyle Award for "Best Institutional Blog."

Yesterday, we got the word that the re.web blog was named the People's Choice Winner. Since we're busy launching a website, we weren't on hand to receive the award at the eduWEB conference. (Missed a trip to Atlantic City!)

eduStyle Awards Announcement

Congrats to our colleagues at Missouri University of Science and Technology who won the top award for their Name Change Conversations Blog.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Be Our Guest

We officially begin the soft launch of our new website today. In fact, you can already go to to see the new site. Readers of this blog are perhaps finding out about the soft launch address early, before our provost sends a message about it to the campus.

If you’ve been to a soft opening of a restaurant, then you probably get the idea of a soft launch. Giving W&M faculty, staff and students a chance to preview the new site is a lot like being invited to a pre-opening of a new restaurant - when the staff are still in training. You can tell it’s going to be great – but they’re still working out the kinks.

Our new website is mostly done but during the next 10 days we’ll put on some finishing touches and fine tune some things. And, to continue the metaphor, like a restaurant, we’ll have some specials on opening day.

posted by Susan Evans

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mark's Shiny New Toy

During the past few weeks, we created and posted a new position for the W&M web team. Lucky for us, Mark C. Windley has accepted the position of Web Project Manager/CMS Administrator. Based on his strong technical background and project management experience, Mark was the ideal candidate for this new job.

Here are a few other pluses about Mark that "factored into his promotion."
  • He's a William and Mary grad.
    (Enough said.)

  • He has two bachelor's degrees - one in fine arts and one in computer science.
    (How cool is that).

  • As predicted by the above, he's a great writer.
    (Re-read his post about LEGOs.)

posted by Susan Evans

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Soft (not Grand) Launch

Ever been to the soft opening of a restaurant? Well, the soft launch of the new W&M website will be similar! The fun is you get a chance to see it before anyone else does. The reality is that you are visiting when it's not quite ready for prime time.

We plan to provide a preview link of the new W&M site by July 23rd-ish. The preview link will give faculty, staff and students the chance to see the new site before the official launch on July 31.

The soft launch is a preview - not a grand opening. While you're previewing the new site, we'll still be working on it, fine tuning it, and correcting errors we're counting on you to find.

If you're a member of our Facebook group, you're likely to get a pre-preview ;)

posted by Susan Evans

Monday, July 14, 2008


Jack Martin, professor in the English department and a member of the re.web advisory committee, sent me an email message about website photography for the new English site.
Dear Susan,

The English Department has been hard at work obtaining suitable
photos for the new departmental site.


I laughed out loud when I saw the photo he had attached. If you don't get it, try looking at this page first:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cascade on a need to know basis.

The new W&M website will launch in less than three weeks. For now, learning how to use the new web CMS is on a need to know basis.

Tomorrow, we start week three of content migration - a fancy way of saying more W&M web managers will be coming to Blow 311 to create new websites in Cascade. We expect to see Kathy Larrieu this week as she finishes up some Arts & Sciences sites. And, Amy Sikes will be working with us on the new Financial Aid site.

David Williard is continuing the build-out of the new News & Events site - the functionality for adding multimedia files to Cascade should be ready for David to use. Last week, Erin Zagursky (also from University Relations) devoted some of her Friday afternoon to learning the new system for creating web pages.

The consensus is that Cascade is very easy to use. I'm enjoying the fact that folks are using it and we've offered no formal training and no documentation.

Quote of the week from Blow 311 came from Renell Franklin (Development). When asked about using Cascade, Renell proclaimed, "It's easy. You'd have to be a biscuit head not to understand it."

posted by Susan Evans

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Migration Location

Still at it. Migration of content continues. Several W&M web managers are using the new web CMS to build new sites for the July 31 launch. How do the web managers feel about Cascade at W&M?

Look at the big smile on John Wallace's face.

And, what are the web managers saying about Cascade at W&M?

The new product is actually much better than what we currently have. It's great being on the ground floor of this effort and having the chance to influence how Cascade will work for W&M web managers.

-German Mendez, Registrar's Office

posted by Susan Evans

Monday, July 7, 2008

Faculty are our best critics.

We're lucky at W&M. Our faculty are enthusiastic participants and supporters of campus programs, initiatives, projects, and committees.

The re.web project is no exception. Because we've asked them to be, faculty have been our best critics ;)

Here is the honor roll of faculty critics - the individuals who have volunteered their time to review, edit, and comment on new copy for the relaunch of the W&M website.

Chuck Bailey, Geology
Larry Evans, Government
Geoff Feiss, Provost
John Griffin, Biology/Neuroscience
Pam Hunt, Psychology/Neuroscience
Laurie Koloski, Reves Center/History
Heather Macdonald, Geology
Dennis Manos, Vice Provost
Jack Martin, English
Jen Mellor, Economics
Scott Nelson, History
Sue Peterson, A&S Undergraduate Dean
Kim Phillips, A&S Educational Policy Dean
Christy Porter, Psychology
Margaret Saha, Biology
Laurie Sanderson, A&S Graduate Dean
Joel Schwartz, A&S Honors/Interdisciplinary Studies Dean
Kate Slevin, Sociology
Carl Strikwerda, Dean of the Faculty
Gene Tracy, Physics
Tom Ward, Education

Thank you all,

Friday, July 4, 2008

"This is actually going to work."

This is actually going to work.

I'm quoting an unnamed, but accurate and authoritative, source here (cough, Andrew). Cascade Server is working for W&M!

The re.web team and several key W&M web editors were on task last week. We completed a successful four days of migrating sites from our legacy web server to Cascade. And, we were fortunate to have the patience and flexibility of Josh Henry (Admission), Luke Gill (Dean of Students), Kathy Larrieu (Arts & Sciences), and German Mendez (Registrar's Office) as we worked out the to-be-expected kinks in any new system.

Next week, we expand the migration party, bringing David Williard and Suzanne Seurattan (University Relations), Renell Franklin (Development), and John Wallace (Development) into the mix. We anticipate great things from week two!

posted by Susan Evans

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Behind the scenes, in the still of the night, between meetings, from Aggie-land in Texas, and upon arrival in Cape Town, the W&M Bloggers are, well, blogging!

We have talented admission interns writing about their summer work (and adventures), their life at W&M, and eels at the Williamsburg Farmers Market.

We have exceptional graduate and undergraduate students writing about their love for the College, summer internships, Sam Sadler, and addiction to Wawa coffee.

We have committed professors and administrators writing about how to stump an admission dean, how to empower a community through medical outreach, how to be dean on duty, and (my personal favorite) how to structure readings and assignments for a fall freshman seminar.

Although they may not realize it, our official bloggers are storytellers. Powerful web communication comes from the personal stories of the W&M community. Less convinced? Recall Andrea's post on the topic.

Background on W&M Bloggers.

posted by Susan Evans