The Marketing and Public Relations (MPR) Web Team is excited to roll out the new and improved directory! This directory has new features to help visitors find the contact information that they are looking for. First, a search has been added so that you can find a listing by first name, last name, position, email, or location. Second, the directory has the ability to be filtered by employees, departments, administration or faculty. Third, it still retains the ability to filter by the first initial of the last name.
Whenever data migrates from one place to another, there can be errors. We ask that each of you go to the new directory and look at your listing. Verify that your name is spelled correctly and that your department, position title, email, phone and location are correct. If there is any discrepancy, please submit a Directory Update Form.
We will make edits as quickly as possible and appreciate your active role in ensuring the directory listings are current.
For those of you that want to know why the new directory looks and functions the way it does, this section is for you. This is the technical reason for why we have made this change.
Our previous directories, the main one and each of the directories on department staff and faculty pages, were hand coded in HTML. What this meant was that each time there was an addition, edit or deletion, a web content editor from MPR went into the HTML code on the directory page and entered the new information twice. It had to be entered twice to have the functionality of filtering by first letter of the last name. While a visitor only saw a portion of a page depending upon the button they clicked for that particular view, the functionality of that page required 28 tables.
Next, the web content editor had to find the department faculty and staff page with the directory, if there was one, and make the same change in that HTML table. If an employee was changing from one department to another, that was another table that had to be edited. Putting data in multiple places increases the risk of mistakes causing inconsistent data.
We also noticed that the tables on each of the department faculty and staff pages were not consistent with one another. Layouts could be a little different and information inclusion was subject to the department’s whim. There were also inconsistencies with the position titles and department names. This probably stemmed from the number of employee changes within MPR and the information provided by departments or the individual for the directory listing.
What this all amounted to was an inefficient time intensive process, duplication of information, and inconsistency. To improve the process, the MPR Web Team reached out to the District to see what it would take to have a database driven directory.
Bakersfield College is part of the Kern Community College District (District) and our web site is developed and administered by the District. In order for the District to work efficiently and to maintain the same look, feel and functionality of web interaction across the District, all three of the colleges must agree upon significant changes to our website. When we reached out to the District Programmers, they brought in Porterville and Cerro Coso to get their opinion. In our discussion we found that all three schools had the same labor intensive process for maintaining the directories.
Through a series of conference calls and emails over several months, , Porterville, Cerro Coso, and the District defined the problems. The main problems were duplication of information, labor intensity of updating information in multiple locations in HTML, and the inconsistency of layouts. The solution was to create a database of directory information by adding a “content type” and have the Content Management System build the page view from the database. That means, we enter the data once through a form and the information is updated everywhere that listing shows up on our website. Fields for the database were agreed upon by all three schools and the District. Likewise, we looked at many directory layouts and functionality of directories on the World Wide Web and came to agreement on how best to present our directories.
The District Programmers worked diligently to create the new directory and were able to implement it first at the District. Soon after Cerro Coso and Porterville also made their directories live. That just left Bakersfield College to implement theirs.
As mentioned above, there was some inconsistencies in our data. MPR does not have access to Banner and cannot look at employee files to get position titles. Our sources of information were the old directory, department directories, Outlook address book and Shoretel. As you may know, none of these sources are completely reliable. We have combed through our data resources and sometimes they were inconsistent. We have a lot more entries than the other schools or the District, so our data cleanup was a much more lengthy process, delaying our implementation of the directory.
We have done our best to clean up the data, matching titles to catalog entries, sometimes reaching out to departments or individuals, but the data will still need some more cleanup. This is why we ask each of you to look at your entry. The way your entry appears in the main directory is how it will appear on department directory pages.
Now that we have a shiny new directory, we will be removing the HTML tables from directories found on department faculty and staff pages and replacing them with the new directory content view. This means the department editors will not be able to make edits to the new directories. As we update the departments, department chairs/directors and Department Assistants will be notified so that they can look and verify the correct members are listed and the tables are separated appropriately, where departments have separation. We will also be able to order them in such a way that the Chair can be listed first, for example, if that is the department’s desire.
MPR does not foresee any change in having access to Banner. Therefore, it is up to the individual and the department to ensure that the directory is current. We appreciate your help in keeping it current by submitting a Directory Update Form when the data is amiss.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Web Team.