Website Management: An Overview
Sites & Servers
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Scanning & OCR software can be used effectively to import text from printed sources (either to a word-processing or web-editing context - or the latter via the former). MS Notepad is often the most convenient means of creating or editing text and should be used exclusively for log-books and simple messages on the EIRNet system. It is also of great use in copying listing from On-line Public Access Catalogues (OPACs) as being indifferent to formats and frames. Graphics programmes, while useful in constructing galleries, are not invoked by editing assignments on the Ricorso Project and the functions of the Research Officer.
Ricorso Team Members are entitled to software training in programmes relating to the execution of their assignments. Although some programmes are taught on Staff Development Courses conducted by the University of Ulster, in-house training for Dreamweaver is standard practice on the Project. New techniques acquired or developed by team-members should be shared as far as practical and possible. To this end joint work-sessions are regularly held using digital OHP for demonstration & practice. Tried and tested techniques are added to Keyboard Commands [infra] in this region of the Website.
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The Ricorso browser screen consists of a left-hand Navigation Frame, which remains more or less unchanged at any point in the website and a right-hand Contents Frame, which scrolls independently of the other and displays the current content page. The source files for these are index.htm, navbar.htm, and home.htm - or another named life at a different level of the folder which home.htm serves as the Table of Contents. This arrangement derives from the frames technology in Dreamweaver, which enables a frameset to hold other pages in a given arrangement within the browser display area. Whatever file is displayed in the Contents Frame, the browser only displays the name of the frameset Index page. This means that the Contents page cannot be downloaded using File/Save though the frameset can. Nor is title of the Contents page is displayed at the head of the browser, though it appears briefly in the status line when the cursor passes over the corresponding link.
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By contrast in the Biblilography region, where a vertical listing effect is naturally sought. In the absence of hanging-indents (not available in HTML), bullet-points <li> are used to separate each item without introducing excessively wide spacing as with a full paragraph break. If a bibliographical list is being placed on the Website with a view to complete organisation and formatting at a later date, the simpler line-break method can be used. The keyboard action CTRL + SHIFT introduces the appropriate code (i.e., <br>). If If the <li> code is subsequently added, the <br> code should be removed to avoid additional spacing.
Tables of Contents should always be centred on the page. The border may be visible or invisible though the former better suits a large amount of listings. Cells can be made symmetrical by applying a percentage (%) command to the Width box in the Properties menu (viz., 50% for 2 cells, 33% for three, 25% for four, &c.) Each cell should be set to left and top so that text appears in these positions. Contents within the cells are most commonly hyperlinked to bookmarks further down the page though cells can also be dedicated to sub-headings in relation to a group of links. In this case, Heading2 is used. Links should be divided by line breaks not paragraphs to minimise spacing. Care must be taken to ensure that two consecutive links do not merge.
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Templates & Defaults
The current CSS Styles in use for Ricorso pages are Banner, Banner 2, Bold Italic, Bold, Default, and Copy (the last a non-showing style against white backgrounds). These are used to establish successive heading levels in a given document and should not be used for ordinary formatting. When bold or bold italic are required for specific words or phrases, the standard keyboard commands should be used (i.e., CTRL b; CTRL i); alternately, the HTML equivalent can be inserted in the Source Document (i.e., <b>text</b> and <i>text</i>). This is preferable to introducing the Select Text code <span>text</span> in conjunction with a CSS style since <span> jams future formatting until removed. Extra headings (e.g., Heading2 or heading2) can be introduced using the New command in the Edit Style Sheet [F7] but should be limited to those strictly required to distinguish levels of information.
Line breaks, paragraph marks, table divisions and so forth are all available in Dreamweaver through standard keyboard actions and/or dedicated editing menus. However, all of these these are often better managed by writing the code directly to the HTML source document [F10] - a skill easily acquired with practice. It is often convenient to use the Replace All Command either on Text, HTML, or - in special cases - Selected Folder or even Website. Care should be taken that the feature changed does not have a different function another relation (for instance, <..> or <'> - and even < > itself - which are all used to cite hypertext addresses). Replace All is certainly the solution to a recurrent editorial problem that arises when the manner in which a given common reference title is written has to be changed due to update information or a formatting decision. Whole site changes are only implemented by the Informatics Assistant under instructions from the Project Directory.
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The primary aim in laying out for A-Z Datasets is to make the character of the material displayed on them clearly identifiable at a glance without sacrificing any of its variety or amplitude considered as written text of various kinds. The attempt is made in Ricorso to avoid creating wide spacing between items of the kind introduced by paragraph breaks in HTML </p>. Hence, throughout the A-Z Datasets, pages devoted to biographical summary, bibliographical listings, textual paraphrase, quotation and commentary, citation and annotation are formatted as a series of unified text blocks, using using semi-colons rather than paragraph breaks to separate successive items. The reader can then select, copy and reorganised them in a word-processing while applying whatever format he/she prefers.
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Tables & Indexes
Files below the Index level occasionally hold Tables of Contents linked to actual records using bookmarks. (Links to neighbouring file are also possible.) The width of such Tables can be set using the Insert Table and/or Properties Menu. It is preferable to use line breaks rather than paragraph breaks for successive items in Tables of Contents to avoid wide spacing. The contents of each cell should be to left/top. Similarly, cells can be made symmetrical using a percentage sign in the Width box (e.g., 50%). Where necessary, category headings can be added using Banner Text 2.
Only Index Pages display the Ricorso logo which is itself located in an Images Folder of the root directory. In order to display it, it is essential that the image link refers to the appropriate folder. Dreamweaver automatically corrects erroneous links if the Site Cache on the Local Drive has been refreshed; otherwise the task must be undertaken manually. In either case, the result should be carefully checked using Preview in Browser or - better still - by uploading the file to the Remote Site and checking it on Internet. The Ricorso Logo should not itself be linked to the Ricorso Front Page as in previous versions of the Index Template.
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In setting up links of any kind, it is important to decide whether the bookmarked text or linked files are expected to appear in the whole browser window, the current contents page only, or in a New Page which will be opened in the browser without closing down the current pages. These alternatives and their effects are controlled by the Target Box in the Properties Menu of Dreamweaver (CTRL + F3).
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It is worth noting a secondary effect of the Target Box commands. If Default or _Top are used, the file displayed in the Contents Frame is not identified in the URL and cannot be downloaded. If _Blank, _Parent, or _Self are used, the page is identified and can be downloaded simply by using Save As in the File Menu of the browser. For that reason _Parent and _Self are not much used in EIRDa while _Blank is pointed at Ricorso pages only when the contents are being given away for some reason (e.g., some Gallery jpegs.)
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Other folders in the images directory are: sidebar, navbar and gallery - respectively supplying images for the left-hand Navigation Frame, for the navigation bar at the head of individual Author A-Z files, and pictures and portraits occasionally inserted on the front pages or in individual pages elsewhere on the website.
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The combination of laptops and modems along with scanners, zip-drives and smart-cards makes it possible to think in terms of a travelling Project Office. Given such resources, Ricorso might grow at a phenemenal rate; add contributions from scholars throughout the world and the increment becomes geometric. The difficulty here, however, is to arrive and and maintain a shared consensus on editing standards, formatting protocols and methods of selection. Some of these subject are address on the Styles & Formats pages [infra] though to a great extent the only adequate account of them is the website itself in its developing character as a set of practices and formats at the service of the Irish studies community. For that reason, familiarisation with the various regions of the website is the best guide to the project and its potential.