by Daniel Lee, SLA Board of Directors
SLA isn’t yet Future Ready, so I am doing something about it. This site is the first live website to use SLA’s new web hosting service and newly designed theme for WordPress!
For many years, our unit websites have been disparate in content, design, and functionality. Some sites are coded “old school” with plain HTML, some use ColdFusion, some ASP or PHP, and some are externally hosted. They can’t effectively exchange data with Headquarters (or each other) and, to be honest, many have seen better days. At first glance, you would hardly know they were units of the same organization!
SLA will revitalize its website community as “Operation Vitality” swings into high gear this year.
“Operation Vitality” has five objectives:
- Provide a stable and modern website hosting service to all chapters, divisions, and caucuses;
- Ensure the service is affordable and cost effective for the Association;
- Design a brand-compliant template for all units to use;
- Promote a common content management system we can all use, understand and build upon; and
- Rebuild the community for SLA’s webmasters.
I ran for the Board of Directors on a Leadership, Volunteers and Technology platform and “Operation Vitality” sits at the intersection of these three themes. This will be my main focus during my last year on the Board.
New Hosting Service
The SLA staff has made tremendous strides towards establishing a new web hosting service for the units and 2011 will be the year we convert to a common content management system and promote a common look and feel.
- SLA has partnered with award-winning web host provider HostGator;
- WordPress will be promoted as the content management system of choice; and
- A professional WordPress theme has been designed specifically for SLA units and will be included as part of a new web hosting service.
There will be a cost for the new service, $40 per year, which includes a fully functioning WordPress install with the SLA Theme, 24/7 technical support provided by HostGator, email accounts, MySQL databases, FTP Accounts, an easy to use and flexible Control Panel, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee. For the real web gurus out there, advanced features will also include CGI, Ruby on Rails, Perl, Python, Curl, CPAN, GD Library, Image Magick, SSH Access and Cron Job Scheduling.
In late 2010 a set of units who self-identified as early adopters started using the new service. Based on the feedback from this pilot, the service and the WordPress theme will be adjusted and rolled out to the whole Association in early 2011. The goal is to have all SLA units who are currently hosted by SLA converted to the new service by December 2011. Units who have pursued their own hosting are encouraged to rejoin.
A large project like “Operation Vitality” requires the energy of a dedicated and talented group of people. Volunteer “Super Admins” and staff members will be available to answer WordPress-related questions and provide guidance to units as they join the new service:
- Amy Buckland
- Michelle Dollinger
- Nicole Engard
- Britta Jessen Charbonneau
- Daniel Lee
- Kendra Levine
- Heather Ritchie
- Margaret Smith
- Linda Broussard (SLA’s Chief Administrative Officer)
- Jeff Leach (SLA’s Director, Marketing)
- Quan O. Logan (SLA’s Chief Technology Officer)
Are You Ready?
Today is the official launch of this project at Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. I will present details of the new service (along with a live demo of some of its features) to SLA’s leadership and will also invite units to join the second round of early adopters.
I am very excited to see what web-based innovations the association will realize when we are all finally rowing in the same direction. If your unit is ready to make the switch, or if you have any questions or comments, contact me.
Daniel P. Lee
Email: danielplee at sympatico.ca
Office: (416) 644-7000
Appendix – Early Adopters (First Round)
- Florida & Caribbean
- New York
- Silicon Valley
- Washington, DC
- Western Canada
- Business and Finance
- Competitive Intelligence
- Leadership and Management Division
* I chose “Operation Vitality” as the nickname/codename for this project because I wanted to inject a “a healthy capacity for vigorous activity” into our webmaster community and because I was doing things slightly under the radar to build support from the ground up.
Since 2002, Daniel has worked as a Research Librarian for Navigator Ltd., a research-based communications and strategic counsel firm in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is currently serving as Director on the SLA Board of Directors, chaired the Technology Review Advisory Group and received an SLA Presidential Citation for the Innovative Use of Technology for introducing twitter as a back channel at the SLA Annual Conference. Daniel was voted “most organized” in high school and is also known as @yankeeincanada on twitter.