The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0277 Thursday, 28 June 2012
Date: Thursday, June 28, 2012
Subject: SHAKSPER Reinvented: Fourteen Months Later
Dear SHAKSPER Subscribers:
It has been about fourteen months since SHAKSPER resumed service with a newly designed web site, a new format, and new procedures.
The new site was designed to my specifications by the multi-talented Ron Severdia, using Joomla. Ron is an actor <http://rontheactor.com>, the founder of PlayShakespeare.com, the creator of the best Shakespeare iPhone/iPod/iPad text/performance app, the co-author of the O’Reilly publication Using Joomla: Building Powerful and Efficient Web Sites, the accomplished, award-winning web designer and creative director of Kontent Design: <http://kontentdesign.com/>.
The web site from my perspective is more intelligently organized than the original, which grew by accretion, and it is certainly easier on me. I have complete control over the content and can update it at any time I please. SHAKSPER’s new web address is SHAKSPER.net (rather than www.shaksper.net as before).
The old site ran from a server in my home office. One of the difficulties I had with the old site during its last few years was that since I was sending out so much mail in such a relatively short period, security software often blacklisted SHAKSPER, and as a result, many members were inadvertently lost.
PlayShakespeare.com now hosts SHAKSPER. The PlayShakespeare service provider limits the amount of mail that can be sent any hour. As a result of this limitation, which obviates the problem I was having with being mistakenly identified as a spammer, daily digests appear in a different format and are distributed differently than they had been in the past. Rather than sending out individual digests grouped by the subject of the thread, I now send one daily “super” digest, in Joomla terms a “newsletter.” It took a while for me to come up with a format based on subscribers’ comments that satisfied me. The daily digests now can be read in an Internet browser, posts in the table of contents can be clicked and read separately or alternatively individual posts within the digest can also be read in your browser by clicking on the posting’s title in blue.
Further, the individual postings appear on the web site in the Current Postings section in a continuous (blog-like format) from the beginning of the year backwards to the present.
Of particular importance to me, the SHAKSPER web site now has an Announcements sections. Submissions that I deem as important notices are distributed as postings to the subscribers and simultaneously as entries in the Announcements section. Subscribers and Internet users can thus located these in a more accessible way than having to scroll through the Current Postings or by using the Archive search function, which incidentally is quite powerful.
Much of the content on the site particularly in the Scholarly Resources section is available as pdf files that once opened can be saved easily. Also, I can now included attachments through embedded links in postings to pdf files with information like conference announcements or fliers. Previously, I was unable to include attachments.
Other web site improvements include RSS feeds of Current Postings and Announcements and a button that enables those who wish to donate to support the work of SHAKSPER. Also, although SHAKSPER is not open to automatic subscription, an online form enables those interested to submit their names, e-mail addresses, and a brief autobiography. The biographical note is NOT part of an adjudication process; instead, it is an expression of interest and is a part of a database to which only the editor has access.
- A Selected Guide to Shakespeare on the Internet (My Guide to Shakespeare-Related Internet Sources and Essay from which the list of resources was derived).
- The SBReviews: SHAKSPER Book Reviews (SBReviews is a peer-reviewed collection of reviews of book of significance to students, teachers, scholars, and those who share their academic interests in the study of Shakespeare and of the theatre and literature of the Early Modern Period.)
- SHAKSPER Roundtable Discussions (Periodic Roundtable discussions, concentrating on significant topics derived from issues of current interest in the discipline.)
- Papers by SHAKSPER Members Seeking Critical Advice (As a service to its members, SHAKSPER makes selected papers for which the author would like comments available for a short time on the SHAKSPER server.)
- Library of Essays (A selection of essays from past and current SHAKSPER members.)
- SHAKSPER Reference Files (A variety of files for consultation)
- Cook’s Tours (Discussion of specific Internet resources of interest to students and scholars of the Early Modern Period.)
- Pedagogy: Teaching Resources (Resources that may be used in the teaching of Shakespeare and literature of the Early Modern Period)
I especially am pleased with the Pedagogy section that enabled me to recycle some of my teaching materials, PowerPoint presentations, links, and source materials for others to use in their teaching.
I have probably gone on for far too long, but I am curious about the reactions and opinions that subscribers have, with the distance of more than a year, regarding the new web site and changes in procedures.
I am seeking substantive comments, not Hardy-you’re-the-greatest praise.
What do you like not like?
What can be improved?
What additions might be useful?
If you were in charge, what would you change?
Hardy M. Cook
Owner, Editor, Moderator of SHAKSPER