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Update on MLA’s Technology: What to Expect

Imagine if your friends’ Facebook pages were structured so differently that you had to figure out how to navigate each of them separately. And you probably wouldn’t be posting much if what you shared was always public.

Welcome to MLA’s current web presence and email lists: approximately 50 separate websites (not sure what the actual count is, as we keep discovering new niches) and 115+ email lists for MLA sections, chapters, committees, and SIGs. No wonder it’s hard to find information, even for an experienced and motivated librarian! And don’t ask about the time we (you and MLA staff) spend managing all of it.

The MLA IT migration is on target for a September 2015 go live date, bringing together all sections, committees, and SIGs (aka “communities”) into a single environment with robust community features at its core.  Check out the guided tour to the new platform.

The following best practice principles will guide implementation:

  • Audience-centric experience, whether you are a member, a customer, or just visiting
  • Consistent user experience across all communities and the main website, MLANET
  • Increased privacy, with the ability to limit content sharing and member interactions to just those within each community
  • Ability to share information outside of the community, with all MLA members or the world
  • Freedom for community leaders to manage their areas based on the needs of their members

Here’s where we’re at right now:

  • Individual discussions with MLA’s 22 sections to share information, identify next steps, clarify roles, discuss migration tools, and answer questions will be completed prior to MLA ’15 in Austin
  • A section webmaster meeting will be held at MLA ’15 to agree on specifics regarding section configuration and content migration (section leaders, look for an invitation coming from Kate Corcoran)
  • Two sections and Section Council will be fast tracked as test sites and templates for other sections, with sites migrating in June
  • A second group of sections will have all content migrated by the MLANET go live date
  • The third group of remaining sections will fully migrate by December

Several MLA chapter leaders have expressed their interest (eagerness, actually) to migrate as well, especially as the site can provide meeting features (registration, abstract submission, and peer review). That’s great, and totally in the spirit of our endeavor, but we’ll figure that one out in 2016 (survival strategy for MLA staff)!

Ask your questions through commenting, or hold those questions for face-to-face discussions in Austin. Lots more to come…

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