June 2009

Spring cleaning tips, specific items to consider updating, useful tools

Notes from Web Editors Q & A Meeting


Spring Cleaning Tips


1. Make it a priority:

  • Ask your PIC, department head, or center director to help you make it a priority.
  • Explain to your supervisor that 56% of prospective students prefer to read online. We should make sure that the Web information is up to date.
  • Our Web site IS a priority for our Dean. He is on our Web site and e-mails Suzanne every time he sees something that is amiss.

2. Set a target date as a goal for completing your changes. Share the goal with your supervisor. Develop a time line to meet that target date.

3. Schedule a time on your electronic calendar and respect that appointment.

4. Do your work in short segments. Get a timer or download one for your computer (Minuteur is an electronic timer that you can download for a mac.) Set the timer for 15 minutes and do as much as you can. You’d be surprised how much you can get done in 15 minutes a day.

OR, pick a page or folder and do one a day.

5. Get help.

  • Send an e-mail to your faculty inviting them to review their individual faculty pages and send updates to you. (If you don’t want to do this all at once, you can split them into groups and invite them one-third at a time to review.)
  • Have a work-study student or grad assistant review the site for broken links.
  • If there is more than one editor assigned to the site, split it up among you.



Specific Items to Consider Updating


The following items can change often, so please have a plan to check the content from time to time.

- Course listings and descriptions:

  • Links to the Course Bulletin
  • Syllabus PDFs - remember to "update the pdf" as opposed to adding a brand new pdf.

- Applications for admission

  • Links to the graduate school portal
  • Links to graduate school forms

- Program requirements - check with PICs to make sure these are up to date.

- Faculty listings (remember to include faculty who are at other Penn State campuses)

- Graduate students listings - THIS must change every year - add new students, remove those who have graduated.

- Student handbooks - With student handbooks, I suggest that you place the PDF in one place and then add as many links to it from different pages in your site. For example, if ALL students (Ph.D., Master's, and Certificate students) all use the same handbook, then put the handbook PDF in one location on your site, and then just add links to the PDF from all the different degree program pages.

- Update images or add new ones (Have Randy Persing format the new image; he typically turns around his edits within 24 hours.)

- Links

- Professor-in-charge

- Contact information - remember staff comings and going. If you have a staff person listed as a contact information for the application process, for example, and that staff person leaves, make sure you update this e-mail. Consider creating a department e-mail that would not have to be changed as staff come and go.

Useful Tools


Editor’s Help Pages—available through a link at the bottom of any College Web page (when you are logged in). The Web Site Maintenance Help page opens in a separate browser window, so you can keep your current page open concurrently. The following actions were reviewed:

The Contents Tab—review all pages and see if there are items that can be made private or deleted entirely.

- we also reviewed the processes listed on the "Using the contents tab" page:


  • cutting items from one folder and pasting in another
  • deleting items
  • changing the state of multiple items at the same time

PDFs—We talked about replacing pdfs instead of uploading and reprogramming the link. This process is much easier for you. It eliminates the problem of "old" copies of documents staying out on the web site, and you do not need to "relink" any links to the pdf.

Updating outside links in the navigation—Links outside of our site in the navigation are represented by an "Earth" icon. Links to external sites must be made using the actual URL. If you wish to update these links, you need to click on it under the "contents" tab for the folder that houses it. Once you get the "the link address is" page, you will click on the "edit" tab. This will then allow you to change the URL. Then click on save at the bottom and the URL is updated.

Updating links in a page (as opposed to links in the "navigation")—If you are linking to a page that is in the College Web site system, be sure to use the "Browse" feature, rather than the page's URL.  To make a link: highlight the text that will constitute the link, click the "Chain" icon in the toolbar, and select the "Browse Server" button to find the page.

Photo Gallery (see http://photo.educ.psu.edu/main.php).  This is a growing database of College photos, taken in varying contexts. You don't need to login in order to view the photos.  If you identify a photo you'd like to use, simply copy the URL and paste it into the body of an e-mail request to Randy Persing, who will format the photo.  Be sure also to give Randy the URL of the Images folder in your site.  If you want a caption, provide the text to Randy at this time.  He typically turns around a formatted photo within 24 hours. 

"Paste as Plain Text" Button—This is a new option in the editing toolbar under the "edit" tab.  (See the icon in the toolbar that looks like a clipboard with a letter "T").  This option was added because newer versions of Microsoft Word include a great deal of formatting and code when content is copied and pasted into the site. To use this tool:

  1. Copy the content from a word document.
  2. Go to the web site, and while in the editing tab, put you cursor in the body content area where you want the new text to appear.
  3. Click the "Paste as Plain Text" button.
  4. Paste the content into the "paste as plain text" box and hit "OK".
  5. The pasted text will show in the "body content" area where you had your cursor.

Styles—Different styles are available in the drop-down menu in the toolbar. Consider using these to add color and to break up the text on your pages.