to overhaul webpage
Kitty Sullivan, STAFF WRITER
In an open forum earlier this month, students and faculty
met to discuss a future new look and feel for Bowdoin's online presence.
The forum was held with the web-designing firm Smash Advertising, affiliated
with Jan Krakowski and Co. of New York City.
In today's increasingly electronic world, a website
is vital to a college, not only for prospective students who rely increasingly
on online information and applications, but also for alumni who keep in
touch with the college through the internet.
At Bowdoin, students also depend on the college website
for everything from library research, to e-mail, to the online dining
Originally, in 1995, Bowdoin's website consisted of
one page that said it was under construction. In the winter of 1996, a
former student employed at the communications office created a text-heavy
website with a brochure-like format.
Since the Internet took off, the site has grown from
50-60 pages to 58,000 active server pages and is maintained by a webmaster.
However, due to the large volume of sites and the constant need for updating,
the management of the College's website has become more than a one-person
The need for a professional update has been more apparent
with the proliferation of prospective students who use the Internet to
help make their college decisions and to apply to college.
According to Scott Hood, director of communications
and public affairs, "If we have prospective students online, they want
a sense of the college, so they'll look at actual sites of interest. Our
website needs something there that's accurate and consistently lets you
know that you're at a Bowdoin webpage."
Currently, there are no standards for the various pages
on the site, and each area or department can have its own style, its own
way of site navigation, and its own type of page-building software. All
these factors can lead to confusion and do not give web-surfers as structured
and user-friendly of an impression as the College would like.
Smash Advertising has taken these concerns into consideration
and, according to Hood, will provide Bowdoin with more "streamlined and
They will return in February with prototypes from which
departments such as Computer Information Services (CIS) and the Educational
Technology Center (ETC) can choose.
So far, the changes will require a major overhaul of
the system and are scheduled to be implemented this spring. The set goal
for completion of the project is the fall of 2001.
The web-redesigning will not be undertaken by Smash
alone. CIS, ETC, and the Communications Department have formed a web-developers
group that specializes in the technical aspects of the overhaul, while
the Web Working Group, composed of faculty and staff, will focus on the
more "hands-on" and content-related aspects of the website construction.
Overall, Bowdoin's goal in the website project is to
boost its online image and make the sites more standardized and simplified.