Since launching CERF's website back in August, I've been meaning to post about how I'm using several different web services to create dynamic content on our Drupal based site. Now that our Executive Director is about to leave for a a week long trip to the Gulf Coast and plans to blog about it, I'm finding myself needing to use these tools once again and being reminded of how critical these tools are to us.
My aim in using a set of webs services to create content on our website was to give staff the ability to easily manage portions of the site without having to get heavily involved in the Drupal CMS interface (and editing UI). With help from Marnie, I began to understand how I could bootstrap the RSS feeds generated by del.icio.us in order to create dynamic content on an otherwise static website, while giving control and responsibility to the staff to manage their sections of the website (and in the process freeing me up). Here's are the tools we use and how we use them:
- I created a del.icio.us account for CERF
- I added a firefox extension to staff browsers for simple tagging capabilities (here or here)
- I worked with staff to create standard tagging policies so that each webpage (and subsection) would be associated with a standard set of tags
- I cut and pasted Feed Digest generated codes into the appropriate webpages.
For example, we have an extensive resource directory in the program area of the CERF website for Prevention, Protection and Recovery and Professional Development resources. These two sections each have subcategory listings of resources; the content on all those pages is created by del.icio.us/Feed Digest bootstrapping. In other words, this tag and this tag create the Preparedness and Recovery resource list.
So everytime a program manager comes across a valuable web resource, they simply use the Firefox plugin to add it to del.icio.us, and it is automatically added to the appropriate resource listing on CERF's website.
Now with the ED's blog, I wanted to extend the RSS subscription embedded in Drupal so I could both track RSS subscriptions through Feed Burner as well as give non-RSS savvy folks the ability to subscribe via email with Feed Blitz. Using the Drupal blog module didn't give me this latitude, so I created a static page with the desired subscription options and used Feed Digest to create a "blog-like" content feed (a listing of blog postings with abstracts) all within the same page. In that way, the ED updates her blog, the static page updates with the new posting and I can track all the subscriptions to measure subscription readership.