Vol. XXIV, No. 3January, 2012


Articles in Vol. XXIV, No. 3

Website Review: Ara Pacis Augustae
In-depth visual documentation.
-- Martin Beckmann

Websites as Stable Resources
Too many have disappeared.
-- Harrison Eiteljorg, II
§ Readers' comments (as of 2/8/2010)

Website Review: Dikili Tash
A good beginning, but only a beginning.
-- Andrea Vianello

Evolving Web Standards: a Blessing and a Curse
Why eliminate good, useful tags?
-- Harrison Eiteljorg, II
§ Readers' comments (as of 2/3/2010)

Project Publication on the Web - Addendum
Making it clear that a final report is just that.
-- Harrison Eiteljorg, II

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Project Publication on the Web - Addendum

Harrison Eiteljorg, II

(See email contacts page for the author's email address.)

Andrea Vianello and I made a presentation at the EAA meetings in Oslo last September. It was based on the series of articles about publishing archaeological projects on the web that have appeared over the last year in the CSA Newsletter. (See csanet.org/newsletter/nlxref.html#e-pub to reach all four articles.) Our aim was to stir some discussion and thereby broaden the participation. A very good discussion took place in Oslo, but preparing and talking about the issue also brought me to a rather startling realization. It dawned on me in one of those "Duh!" moments that we had not even talked about one of the simplest questions. Assuming a web site is to serve as the final publication of a project, how does a user know that the site being accessed is such a final publication? A traditional paper publication, after all, is marked by its simple existence as what it is. The Kommos volume shown by Mr. Vianello as an illustration in his review of the Kommos website, figure 1 here, is clearly a part of the final report. No other book-length publication would exist with that name. But how does one identify a website as the final publication when websites are so often used to publish on-going news of the projects about which they report?

Fig. 1 – Two Kommos volumes, Kommmos V seen open, from Mr. Vianello's review
of the Kommos website. Andrea Vianello, "Website Review: Kommos Excavations, Crete,"
csanet.org/newsletter/fall10/nlf1003.html; XXIII, 2; September, 2010.

Since Mr. Vianello had set up a forum on the web to facilitate discussion after our presentation at the EAA annual meeting, I posted this question there. I got no real responses. I queried the CSA Board of Directors because of the importance of determining how to handle our Propylaea site, and I talked with Mr. Vianello, of course. I also "talked" (via email) with Professor J. Penny Small to get her input.

In the end, we decided we needed to be very blunt and direct. We needed to do our best to make it impossible for a reader to miss the fact that the web site is the final report of the project. You will note that the phrase chosen is "Final Report," not Final Publication." We thought publication might not be the right term here and that "Final Report" carried the right message without implying something not meant. We defined the term both in the first paragraph and in the "About" section that will appear at the bottom of every document. We included the phrase in the graphic at the top of each page and in the title of each page. Finally, we were quite explicit that the on-going discussion about the nature of architectural design in antiquity is separate and not part of the final report.

Fig. 2 – The new CSA Propylaea Project Home Page (not yet up) with
Final Report marked to show how often the phrase is used. Reduced size to fit here.
(See propylaea.org/newhomepage.html for the full-sized version.)

We think this yields a clear understanding of the project website, but we would like very much to hear from readers with their suggestions or comments. Please look at the new home page resulting from this design process either here or at full size at propylaea.org/newhomepage.html, and let us know your thoughts. (This page is not yet "up" as the basic home page because we are awaiting the necessary changes to all the pages, including Greek translations of changes in verbiage.)

-- Harrison Eiteljorg, II



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