2012 Vol. 15 Issue 2

Wired West, Volume 15, Number 2

News from your Chapter Board

Digital Information Management — two case studies

This issue of Wired West, complied and published by Ann Dreolini, Web Editor for Wired West.

 

Posted in 2012 Vol 15, 2012 Vol 15 Issue 2, Wired WestComments Off on Wired West, Volume 15, Number 2

President’s Message

Common Ground and Collegiality

by Richard Matiachuk
 
Over the last few months I have spoken to a surprising number of people
about working as an Information Professional. Some ask about the future
of the profession, or what schools and programs are ‘out there’, or how
and where they can find work as a new graduate.
 
If you work in a ‘library’ you may have had a client, associate,
patron, or student wonder aloud about becoming a ‘librarian’. The last
time I had this happen I could hardly stop talking about how great it is
to work in this profession. When this happens I sense a kindred spirit
who wants to help connect people and information; and this becomes our
common ground.
 
It is not just the work I do but the community I work in that inspires
my enthusiasm for this profession. Two words stand out to describe this
community: collegial and collaborative.
 
In this profession we have a collegiality that most people would not
expect. In our profession it really does not matter what kind of
library or information centre a person works in (or hopes to work in).
It really does not matter what a person’s educational or professional
background has been. It does not matter what a person is called or
what their job title is (be it records manager, librarian, library
technician, information professional, researcher, vendor representative,
product developer, consultant, and so on).
 
Our common ground, and the basis of this collegial relationship, is
that we want to find information (e.g. research / reference) and to
convey information. We want to create information management systems;
to catalogue, index, store, or describe information so that others can
find it and use it. We work across boundaries of job description,
distance and type of work location to fulfill our jobs and, in my mind
this is speaks of a special collegial relationship.
 
And . . . we will do this collaboratively; we are not in competition.
 
Our organizations may be competitors and there will be a need for
privacy, or for protecting corporate information, and there will be
limits to what we can discuss but . . . when it comes to finding
information without touching on corporate secrets or private matters,
Information Professionals go out of their way to help one another.
Frequently I see a question posted on a listserv and within minutes
there is a response from someone who will help.
 
A lot of Information Professionals work in small libraries /
information centres or are isolated from others who do the kind of work
we do. Some might work in an academic library in a large university but
they might be THE only education librarian, or THE only engineering
librarian; or work in a government department and be THE only natural
resources librarian in the province or work in an office where you are
THE only indexer, image specialist. And some of our members live in
isolated communities. Where do we turn for help, for ideas, to discuss
issues and ask questions specific to our areas of specialization?
 
We turn to colleagues and to the networks at hand. And the most
obvious network is a professional association like this one. Our
chapter extends from the Pacific to the Manitoba – Ontario border and
north to include the three Territories. We are one of many SLA
chapters. SLA members work within every kind of information centre.
Together this is a great network of like-minded, experienced colleagues.
 
So when I get asked questions about being or becoming or finding work
as an Information Professional I will inevitably speak about our
collegiality, our collaborative nature and our chapter in the SLA.
 
________
 
Ciao!  
Richard

Posted in 2012 Vol 15, 2012 Vol 15 Issue 2, Wired West1 Comment

Chapter & SLA News

Compiled by Adrian Mitescu

Chapter News:

  • We are hosting this year’s Canadian reception at the SLA Conference in Chicago: Monday, July 16, 2012from 5 – 7 pm at The Berghoff (17 West Adams Street). Please e-mail slacanadianreception@wcanada.sla1.org if you plan to attend the reception.
  • The minutes for the February Board meeting have been posted; the next meeting will take place in June.

SLA News

  • The Chicago Chapter has put up their hospitality wiki – it’s a must read for those that will attend this year’s conference.
  • Unfortunately, this year’s SLA conference does not feature a virtual component; however, you can follow SLA’s social pages to see some of the highlights and resources shared in Chicago: Twitter | FacebookSLA Blog  | Linkedin.
  • The latest issue of Information Outlook (subscription required) has more than a few interesting articles on social media: what is it, how to use effectively; also, an useful article on networking for introverts – check it out!
  • Speaking of networking, this older blog post from “the 3 geeks” has compiled a list of strategies for successful socializing the awkwardly-socials.
  • More SLA news can be found here.

Adrian Mitescu is Communications Director at SLA Western Canada Chapter.

Posted in 2012 Vol 15, 2012 Vol 15 Issue 2, Wired West1 Comment

DAM, You Can Do It: Getting Started with Digital Asset Management

By Dawn Bassett

During my two year library school program, we received a lot of excellent advice. We were told that the profession was going through profound changes, that we would end up being managers at some point in our career path, that the profession needed a greater presence in scholarly writing and communication so we should consider researching and publishing,  we were advised that we might be called upon to plan and implement changes to both physical and digital library spaces, and we discovered that there are many different roles that we could engage in during the span of our careers. For example, we could be public, academic or special librarians publishers, editors, database managers, web designers, information architects, archivists, researchers, records managers, instructors, indexers, and many other things.

I thought “fantastic! That’s the career for me – bring it on!” I still love the idea that the skills of information science are applicable to a variety of different positions.  What I wasn’t expecting was that I would be doing all of these things in the same job at the same time.  But, this is what most information professionals do, particularly those who are part of a small team or are the lone professional in their organization. 

Although there were many opportunities in library school to learn about electronic systems; how to search them, how to build them, how to manage them, one area that was not covered in my time was media management – and yet, my first professional job had the requirement that I would manage the images of the organization as well as performing almost all of the other roles mentioned in the previous paragraph. Yikes! At the time I had a limited of experience working with electronic documents and images mostly through online access to image sharing sites like Flickr.  I quickly discovered that image management in a corporate environment is much more complex. Corporate digital assets often have copyright attached to them, and require a more rigorous application of metadata so that they can actually be located when they’re needed. In my current role, I have the same responsibility, and now I manage images, video, audio and electronic text.

There is a wealth of information available to information professionals who are working on digital asset management projects; much of it written by librarians and archivists in digital or virtual libraries.  Not much has been written about how information professionals in special libraries might be able to manage this really very large and resource consuming responsibility while continuing to manage everything else they need to do at the same time.  The purpose of this article is to boil this large amount of information down to some simple tips and provide some resources that might help you get started should you find yourself a DAM coordinator.

 What is DAM anyways?

 According to the National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage (NINCH) DAM involves the following three steps[1]:

 Creating an efficient archive that can hold digital resources (such as images, audio and text) and the metadata that describe them;

  • Implementing an infrastructure to ensure that these electronic data are managed and preserved in such a fashion that they will not become obsolete;
  • Implementing search facilities that enable users to identify, locate, and retrieve a digital object.

 

There are many benefits of implementing DAM in your organization, including;

  • The centralization of discovery and access
  • The coordination of disparate projects as part of a coherent whole
  • The centralization of authorization, security, and tracking systems
  • The unification of organizational solutions to managing copyright
  • The reduction of duplication of effort and resources
  • The creation of more efficient process for the creators and users of media through structure and centralization of data

As information professionals, we are already trained in many of the skills required to manage media.  We are educated in metadata rules and standards, cataloguing best practice, controlled vocabulary, thesaurus and index construction, analyzing and organizing data both in the present and with an eye on the future. While not all of us are trained in computer programming, we are trained in how to work collaboratively particularly with IT staff in how to develop information systems[2].  This explains why our organizations turn to us for advice and leadership when considering managing digital assets.  So, you may not have direct experience with a particular DAM system, you are still uniquely qualified to do work in this area, so if you’ve been asked to participate, collaborate or lead a DAM project, embrace it.  It is a great learning experience and great way of reminding the people we work with of the added value that information professionals bring to their organizations.

How do I get started?

Media management is big. It’s up there with records and information management as one of the most potentially resource-heavy responsibilities out there.  It is a challenge for libraries with FTE’s who are specifically responsible for this.  If, like most information professionals working in smaller libraries, this is something you do off the side of your desk, it can potentially be a years-long process that you will need to break into manageable chunks or risk being overwhelmed or just not getting anywhere with it.

So, before you do anything, plan to spend a good long time in the planning phase.  Do this now. It will be a huge benefit to you later.  Good project management skills, online resources and the experience of other professionals can really help with this. 

While planning, consider the following tips:

 1. Do some background research: Include traditional research avenues as well as talking to others who have either completed or are in the process of completing similar projects. Explore the websites of your local or provincial archives for courses or information.  For example, the Archives Association of British Columbiahas an excellent resource called the AABC Archivists toolkit which includes a subsection on Automization and Digitization and often has excellent events and training options that are open to AABC members and non-members.  

 2. Become a metadata expert: Guess what? Even if reading the word metadata just now made you shudder, to some degree you are already skilled in the application of metadata through cataloguing, indexing, building taxonomies and working with databases systems.  Be outspoken about your abilities in this are.  If you are planning a DAM project, find a way to explain why good quality controlled metadata is important to building a useable DAM system.  Explore a variety of ways to Market this idea to different types of people in your organization for example, your supervisor, the IT department, the communications department, your executive committee or your board.  This will really help you when it comes to explaining why you can’t get 5000 images digitized and re-catalogued in 3 months or even a year without more resources. 

 3. Have a basic understanding of the tools available to you: For some, these tools will be proprietary systems purchased by their organizations before they were hired. These legacy systems will have a learning curve all to themselves. Spend some time finding out what your system does.  There are also many applications out there for editing images, film and sound.  While you may not directly be involved in the editing process, understanding how these systems interact or don’t interact with your DAM system is an important step in the planning process.

4. Do a collection assessment: In collection management courses we were taught how to manage our collections by formally assessing them.  In my case, this has largely focused on print collections because of weeding for added shelf space.  It is important to remember that images, film clips and sound clips are also collections that need regular assessment and review.  This is also part of the information management cycle.  You have to know what you have before you can figure out what to do with it.  Depending on the size and variety of formats in your collection, this process itself could take several months, to a year or more to complete, but it is something that should be considered carefully. In the case of larger collections, doing this assessment process can help you determine what should needs to be taken care of first and will help you to develop a phased approach that is manageable.  This is especially important if you are the only information professional in your organization or part of a small team.

5. Think about mobile technology and social media and how these technologies and associate applications might affect how your clients access and distribute media. 

6. Identify your stakeholders and make them part of the process.  Stakeholders might include:

  •  Communications
  • Content development or content management
  • Graphic or multimedia design
  • Executive or board members
  • Information systems and/or technology
  • Your staff
  • Your clients
  • Your supervisor
  • The public

These stakeholders might have different needs and interests.  Try to determine who will either need to approve metadata terms or even help enter them and work with them to come up with best practices at the beginning of the project.  You might consider performing a needs assessment. What do your clients they use digital assets for?  How would they search for it? What type of access do they need?

Don’t try to do it alone.

Make a list of people inside and outside your organization who can help you.  My first experience with media management was at the Vancouver Aquarium – which has an absolutely amazing collection of images, and film going all the way back to the opening of the organization in the 1950’s.  Although many attempts had been made to categorize and properly file the images, there was the usual amount of duplications of images in more formats than you could imagine and very little metadata so it was incredibly hard to find an image.  50+ years of employee and volunteer turnover meant that much of the knowledge of the subject, dates, names and authors of the images was long gone.  Fortunately, there were some volunteers who were still around from the early days, so we were able to capitalize on their knowledge to get some of that missing information.  Asking previous employees also proved to be helpful.  In any case, this is not an activity that you can do alone.  You need others in the organization to help you.

Develop a Digital Asset Management plan or strategy.

This is where you need to put on your project management hat.   My preference is to create a rolling 3-5 year plan which can be updated annually to track your progress.  Your digital asset management plan could include any or all of the following elements[3]:

  • Funding requirements – How much is this going to cost? Include short term and long term costs of equipment, licensing, and human resources.
  • Human resource requirements – don’t forget to include resources that you might need from other departments
  • Material selection – what types of materials are you going to digitize and what is the purpose of digitizing them? This will be based on the information you gathered during your collection assessment.
  • Determine terms of use and how rights will be managed
  • Capture and management of text-based assets
  • Capture and management of images
  • Capture and management of audio and video
  • Quality control and assurance
  • Opportunities for collaboration within and outside of the organization – Can you partner with another organization to make the process beneficial to both?
  • Access – how will your users access your information?
  • Digital Asset Management system – file management, metadata development and management, workflow and policy tracking
  • Documentation of policies and procedures
  • Training plan
  • Communications strategy
  • Monitoring and renewal

 Conclusion:

While digital asset management is a large scale, long-term and resource-heavy process, information professionals come out of school with the necessary competencies to do this work whether we took courses that were specific to this or not.  You already have the tools to do this work and your organization will likely look to you to do it.  Be brave, be curious, don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues for advice, and give yourself time to plan properly.  Remember that the system you choose to use is only as good as the metadata attached to items residing in it. 

 Resources:

I hope that the materials in this section are as helpful to you as they have been to me. All web-based resources were last accessed on May 11, 2012

AIDA: a JISC Project assessing institutional digital assets. University of London Computer Centre, 2009.

Asiimwe, Edgar Napoleon. “Opinions of social web users on privacy and online DAM.” Journal of Digital Asset Management. 6.6, 2010: 312-318.

BCR’s CDP Digital Imaging Best Practices Version 2.0.  BCR’s CDP Digital Imaging Best Practices Working Group, 2008.

Checklist for digitization projects. Digital Research Library; University of Pittsburgh, 2003.

Collection Digitsation Policy. National Library of Australia.

DAM Learning Center.  

DAM 101. Digital Asset Management: Covering your assets. Digital Asset Management.org, 2012.

Folder structure tips. DAM Learning Centre, 2011.

Harvey, Ross. Digital Curation: A How-To-Do-IT Manual.Neal-Shuman, New York, 2010.

Hedden, Heather. The Accidental Taxonomist. Information Today Inc., 2010.

International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives.

Journal of Digital Asset Management. Unfortunately this journal ceased publication in 2010 – the good news is that most of the content is relevant and free.

NINCH. The NINCH Guide to Good Practice in the Digital Representation and Management of Cultural Heritage Materials. Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute,University ofGlasgow and the National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage, 2003. 

PADI : gateway to international digital preservation resources and to ICADS (IFLA-CDNL Alliance for Digital Strategies). National Library ofAustralia.

Slawsky, Donna. “Building a keyword library for description of visual assets: Thesaurus basics.” Journal of Digital Asset Management. 3.3 (2007): 130-138.

Smith, Edward. File naming best practices for digital asset management. DAMLearningCenter, 2011.

Tadic, Linda. “The importance of library science in implementing DAM systems.” Journal of Digital Asset Management. 1.4, 2005: 241-244.

U.S.National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Archival Materials for Electronic Access: Creation of Production Master Files – Raster Images. 2004.

Weber, Mary Beth and Fay Angela Austin. Describing electronic, digital, and other media using AACR2 and RDA: a how-to-do-it Manual and CD-ROM for librarians.Neal-Shuman,New York, 2011.

About the author:  Dawn Bassett has had the pleasure of being a professional librarian since 2006 and has and has enjoyed working in libraries and information centres for 11 years. Dawn holds a Diploma in Theatre Stage Management from Studio 58, a BAHon. in English Literature from Simon Fraser University and an MLIS from the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS) at the University of British Columbia.  She recently moved her family from Vancouver, BC to take the position of Coordinator of Library Services at Canadian Grain Commission.  While not busy being a mom or writing, Dawn spends time volunteering on the board of the Manitoba Library Association and is currently the President-elect of the SLA Western Chapter.  

You can find Dawn on the web at: dbassett69@gmail.com and LinkedIn


[1] The NINCH Guide to Good Practice in the Digital Representation and Management of Cultural Heritage Materials. Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute, University of Glasgow and the National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage (2003). http://www.nyu.edu/its/pubs/pdfs/NINCH_Guide_to_Good_Practice.pdf

[2] Tadic, Linda. The importance of library science in implementing DAM systems. Journal of Digital Asset Management. (2005) 1(4). 241-244.

[3] For more detail, see http://www.nyu.edu/its/pubs/pdfs/NINCH_Guide_to_Good_Practice.pdf

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    Managing Redesign of an Intranet at an Engineering Firm-Librarians Take the Lead!

    By Kim Feltham, M.Sc., M.L.I.S.

    On Monday April 2, 2012 Klohn Crippen Berger (KCB) staff opened their internet browsers and were treated to a fresh new working platform for their daily tasks: The redesigned Infodesk. News, IT alerts, project information, forms, databases, all at their fingertips. Below is a brief list of the lessons learned about intranet management for a redesign project.

    First Lesson Learned: Intranet redesign is a BIG project that involves many people to accomplish, and the outcome affects the entire organization’s daily work flow and productivity. To me, designing and managing an intranet is one of the most creative and satisfying roles for information professionals. We are natural content management system administrators.

    I’ll be doing a brief presentation on this intranet topic at the next meeting of the Vancouver Science Librarians Networking Group; we have occasional meetings with great discussions over lunch, sometimes tours, sometimes presentations, and always a round table update – see the VANSCILIB blog if you are a science librarian and interested in checking us out.  

    Project overview

    In late 2010 the KCB intranet steering committee received a directive from upper management for a fresh, modern new design, a well-functioning search engine, improved functionality for several modules, and more content.

    For over a year the content managers and steering committee of the KCB intranet were concerned with reformatting and editing and creating new content for the upcoming site. Discussions, training sessions, and research were undertaken about information navigation structure, desired features, search interface design, modules, page formatting guides, best practices for usability, home page design, software upgrades, and technical changes and challenges. We worked with a software developer to build the new site and to upgrade it to the latest version. We dealt with software and vendor technical support to resolve the inevitable bugs in the software of the site and modules. We launched with a site that was less-than-perfect. But everyone loves it anyway; the search engine works (well enough)!

    Now we can leave the stress of the launch deadline and critical tasks behind us and return to regular ‘maintenance and development’ mode.

    Factors for Success

    • The KCB intranet has become a dynamic site with current, accurate information to support our business processes, and was a significant component of our winning submission to become one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies. Our staff are proud of this internal tool and its development is supported by upper management.
    • In 2011 KCB officially recognized the role of ‘intranet manager’, which was assigned to the Chair of the Infodesk Steering Committee, that’s me-Information and Library Manager!
    • The intranet manager had experience from the first site design (from scratch) in 2008, and was the project manager of the subsequent redesign, working closely with the IT Director.
    • The existing intranet site navigation had evolved over 3 years, worked well, was familiar to staff and would not be changed radically.
    • Site governance structure was set up in 2008 during the first Content Management System (DotNetNuke.com) site design and has matured to a high-functioning level.
      • Champions (CEO and VP Technical)
      • Steering Committee (Chaired by Intranet Manager with additional members from Library, IT, Quality, Marketing, HR).
      • Content Managers and Editors (about 15 people regularly update content)
    • All of the library team is involved with the intranet. We have 3 full-time library staff for a company of 509 people: myself, Librarian; Sarah Gustafson in Calgary, Librarian; and Heather Duff in Vancouver, Library Technician. Sarah is the backup intranet manager. Heather is the content editor for the library and records section. All three of us help content managers and do training. We are visible to all staff through the library and records, the intranet, and various corporate and administrative projects in which we are involved.

    Structure of the Information and Basic Design of the KCB Infodesk

    Figure 1. The ‘new’ home page on May 2:

    At the top right of every page on the site is the search module and three types of searches to choose from, withInfodesk as the default. The other choices are the Our People staff directory and the Library Catalogue.

    Prime page real estate and structure:

    Along the top navigation bar are buttons leading to the main corporate sections, encompassing the KCB corporate structure at a glance. On the main section dropdown menus, including the ‘home’ button, are key links to frequently-accessed content sections. The buttons and top link on each section dropdown lead to the section home pages and contacts. On the home pages a user will find links to all content, contacts, and services provided by those corporate sectors.

    Figure 2.  As an example here is the Library and Records dropdown menu:

    Along the left navigation of the site is the Quick Links module. These are critical, high-value, and time-saving links to key resources and index pages (e.g. Forms page to quickly get to any type of form). Below the Quick Links is a ‘My Links’ module where you can save up to 8 personalized links to anything you wish. Below this is a swing-space that can be used for ephemeral buttons or modules that require less visibility.

    The centre of the page is where the ‘content’ resides, and on the home page, it is the Company News (must read), Staff FYI posts according to each office, President’s message (must read), and the very popular project photo module, Pick of the Pics. IT Alerts appear as needed.

    Figure 3. A typical Alert posting on the home page.

    These modules can be adjusted according to content, so that if a larger photo is displayed, the Staff FYI list can be reduced, of if there is no Alerts posted then the News module can easily be lengthened.

    Less-visible page real estate:

    Along the right side of the home page are sections that lend themselves to graphic icons to catch the eye of staff-‘New Staff’; ‘Office Info’; Travel, etc. These used to be quicklinks on the left navigation. And at the bottom of the home page are the KCB Resource ‘Toolkits’. These buttons are not visible without scrolling on most staff computer monitors. They are only located on the home page, but they are also linked from the HOME dropdown menu.

    Figure 4. On internal pages the right hand modules are for links.

    Skill set for an Intranet Manager

    • Keen interest and experience in organizing information and sharing it! Be able to see the ‘big’ information picture-that’s usually all of us library types, but unfortunately not all intranet managers are from our stock-often they are marketing, communications, or it-related people (technical or engineering types are best as advisors, devil’s advocates and testers).
    • Must be a leader that is a team player, who is able to let go of your ego, and delegate (It’s not your site, it’s our site). Trust the decisions of your team, especially for their own section content, but be ready to make the call on key items that as an information person you KNOW need to be made a certain way (especially when debating with IT!-they mainly think functional, we think accessible-findable and usable)
    • Not a procrastinator
    • Patience
    • Humour
    • Ideally a knack for website design

    Lessons Learned – official best practices stuff

    •  A strong governance structure is essential to a healthy intranet environment.
    • The Intranet Manager position is necessary so that one person (and ideally their backup person as much as is practical) has a clear overview of the entire site, can coordinate the work, organize training for the content managers, and ensure that no areas of the site are missed. The Intranet Manager is the chair of the Steering Committee, which oversees the site development. For large organizations (thousands of staff with numerous subsites or portals) there may be additional intranet managers for each division.
    • Include ‘intranet content manager’ in pertinent job descriptions and set an expectation that content managers will work with the intranet manager or site administrators to ensure that their sections are up to date.
    • Establish a dedicated internal IT resource for the intranet (who is both an IT content manager and DNN programmer) and who is an essential member of steering committee.
    • Request proposals from more than one developer, with examples and references. They all say they prefer to do their work remotely, but we have found that the more local, the better the work situation is for all. At least one on-site working session is optimal.
    • Be very clear with the developer on exactly what is requested or required-do not let the developer convince you that a more complicated solution is necessary (your IT resource is the intermediary for this).
    • For upgrading an existing platform, research in detail the status of versions of the software to evaluate what upgrades to install.
    • Carefully consider change-of-scope requests after a project has reached pre-launch, final stages. Most new development can wait until after launch, as so much time and IT resources will be required to achieve the launch alone
    • Knowing the time required to transfer and update content on such an active and large intranet, it is advisable in future similar projects to create a new and clean install of a platform and then copy the content over, rather than edit pre-existing content that has legacy technical bugs and cannot be converted properly by the upgrade
    • It is important to be as prepared for launch as possible before entering the content migration phase of the project. Especially have all critical technical issues resolved. One could reasonably expect to limit this phase to about 1 month if that were the case.
    • Make an orientation checklist or other type of training a compulsory staff requirement.

    Lessons Learned– tips and tricks you won’t find in any official guide

    • Feed your steering committee and content managers at every meeting-not only with good snacks, but also with interesting information on intranets, topics to discuss, and brainstorming to facilitate team-building (give all suggestions due consideration)
    • Don’t be afraid to remind content managers regularly, firmly and very politely that they need to work on their content and stick to the best practice guidelines. Enforcing formatting guidelines pays off with a consistent, usable site. Gently rein them in when they find ‘cool’ graphics that don’t fit in with the design template you’ve set up. Take up the slack for content managers by helping them whenever you can-they are sometimes overwhelmed by the technology, too busy, or can’t remember how to do things. Encourage their creativity for anything that fits in the boundaries of the design (don’t be too rigid), so that later when you have to say ‘no’ to some great ideas they will not feel held back.
    • Train and send memos to CMs often-have an up to date user guide available. Use your intranet; put all the info up there! Better to err on more details than less or you will spend a lot of time explaining things to individual people.
    • Keep upper management in the loop by presenting the site to them for review at key points in the process, especially just before the final launch announcement-no big surprises!
    • Encourage feedback on EVERYTHING from EVERYONE. Every single person looks at a website in a unique way. Set up a general intranet email (e.g. infodesk@klohn.com) and post it everywhere; ask for Suggestions for Improvement. Segue to next point….
    • DO USER TESTING repeatedly during the project and try various methods, although I found that even just one day of 6 to 10 individual interviews at important points in the process will give you huge insights and give you backup in defending your decisions to the steering committee.
    • Be a good example to the CMs- ensure that your section is to the latest best practice standards, has a variety of examples of what you can do, and shows that you do what you preach.
    • Did I mention be patient? Let go all ye control freaks as much as you can-100% guaranteed your project will have delays and problems due to unexpected technical glitches, other corporate deadlines that take priority, staff absences and general busyness. Be philosophical about it. Enjoy the process.
    • Don’t set a hard launch date until the time is ripe-you will likely set several soft dates with hope in your heart before the day you can say, YES we ARE launching on such-and-such a day (tip, NEVER guarantee a specific date until a week before launch-there are too many variables and you cannot avoid a nervous breakdown if you promise a date too early). “Watch for the launch of our new intranet in Q3 2012” works much better).
    • Have a pre-launch checklist, which you have set up over the last couple of months before launch so you don’t forget anything, especially those pesky little details that can get lost in the flurry-like archiving content and pages on the old site-if not the whole site, at the very least the home pages of all the main sections! Screenshots and web pages and pure text content are all useful. Screenshots are especially useful for things like annual reports to compare ‘before’ and ‘after’ and show the development of your sections.
    • Celebrate your successes – during the project, but especially at the launch. It’s all about a FUN change, a GOOD change, a POSITIVE change-if you can convince them of these then all will go much more smoothly, even when you know behind the scenes all sorts of things are not working the way they ‘should’. Marketing is essential for those launch countdown posters (“check out the search features on the new Infodesk launching in 5 days”), giveaways, and graphics for orientation checklists, quizzes, etc.
    • Cross your fingers, send every positive thought you can to the IT people who are making the site live just before launch, and thank your lucky stars on the morning of launch when 99% of the staff can see the site the way it’s supposed to look!

    Resources

    Nichani, M. Manager’s guidebook on intranet redesign projects. Version 1.32. 2011. PebbleRoad Ptd Ltd. Accessed May 2, 2012 at: http://www.pebbleroad.com/downloads/guidebook-intranet-design-v1.32.pdf.

    “Designing or redesigning an intranet takes a lot of time, money and resources. As an intranet manager, you have a lot to look after and be accountable for….It takes patience and perseverance to create a good intranet but the thrill of helping staff and giving them a platform that eases and improves their daily work is priceless.”

    White, M. 2011. Intranet Management Handbook. Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc. — Ordering information: http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=7340

     

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