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Design

Page history last edited by Brian Croxall 15 years, 5 months ago

Discuss Design Here 

 

Calls For Papers are invitations to submit a paper proposal to the organizers of a conference panel. Examples of current humanities Calls For Papers listservs and websites include http://cfp.english.upenn.edu/ (very broken) and http://www.h-net.org/announce/group.cgi?type=CFPs.

 

Functional requirements:

  • Users can submit Calls For Papers (CFPs) via a web interface
  • Users can submit CFPs by e-mail (not sure we need this)
  • Users can get CFPs by e-mail
  • Users can get CFPs by RSS 
  • Users can get only CFPs that they are interested in
  • CFPs can be tagged by discipline (e.g., English, History, Philosophy)
  • CFPs can be tagged by subcategories (e.g., 19th century, American, history of science)
  • CFPs can be tagged with "themes" (e.g., Abraham Lincoln, Pride and Prejudice, post-structuralism)
  • Users can find CFPs by geographic location (where is the conference taking place)? 
  • Users can browse CFPs

 

Other Social networking possibilities (depending on how much we pimp this out)

  • Users can add Friends
  • Users can create and share lists of CFPs that interest them
  • Users can geotag conferences
  • Users can post documents, slides, and/or recordings of talks either before or after the conference
  • Using Twitter to broadcast CFPs--either all of them or separate accounts for different subfields

Comments (35)

Amanda French said

at 9:23 am on Jan 31, 2009

Here's a crazy idea: what if the system also allowed people to submit their paper proposals to the CFP poster? How hard could that be? (She asked naively.) I know MITH had some system for that . . . will research.

David Parry said

at 9:28 am on Jan 31, 2009

Seems to me the two "hard" ones on the list above are email support for submitting, and the geographic location feature. Re: email for submitting. This would be nice but then you need someone who can filter through the emails and reformat them for posting (labor intensive). While you don't want to eliminate luddites but not letting those who are tech savvy read CFPs I think we could probably hope for, aim for, the idea that every conference would have one person who is tech savvy enough to at least submit online. In this regard I was already thinking that we could have training/education videos for this (similar to edublogs has for their site). Re: geography. Not sure if this could be done in WP but we could have each conference submit a zipcode (what to do about International?) and then be able to sort this way.

Amanda French said

at 9:29 am on Jan 31, 2009

MITH used ConfTool, info here: http://www.conftool.net/en/vsis_conftool_license.html

I back off my idea; let's NOT build a system that manages submissions as well. Way too ambitious. But we could at least include information about this and other (if any) conference management tools.

Amanda French said

at 9:31 am on Jan 31, 2009

I know that there are tools / services for posting to a WordPress blog via e-mail. Whether we want to use them (and/or if we can get people to use them) is another story . . .

Zach said

at 9:35 am on Jan 31, 2009

"Re: geography. Not sure if this could be done in WP but we could have each conference submit a zipcode (what to do about International?) and then be able to sort this way."

Drupal can do multiple vocabularies on content, so that could be it's own list as well. From the user point of view, it would show up as a separate drop down. Like: "Select a topic/category", "Select a region," etc. I'm sure you could work something similar with WO categories as well.

Submitting by email would indeed be tricky, even with Drupal. :)

"what if the system also allowed people to submit their paper proposals to the CFP poster? How hard could that be? (She asked naively.)"

I don't know if this is what you mean, but in Drupal, each user gets a email-blind contact form. So if submitters are users, then a "submit paper" link could be part of the CFP template. Alternatively, a submissions email address could be part of what the submitter supplies. Either way, it's just making a funnel for email, and not storing submission data into the system.

David Parry said

at 9:42 am on Jan 31, 2009

I think the question, and this is also a platform question. Is do we want each CFP to be a post? or do we want a database of CFPs from which one call pull information. The database is more robust, but harder to make and maintain. Whereas, the post model would allow us to just use Wordpress but would we less feature rich. Thinking here of craigslist, it looks ugly but functions well as a database. Perhaps that is what we want . . .

Matt said

at 9:49 am on Jan 31, 2009

A question regarding Drupal: Zach, how much time are you willing to put into this? I don't know that we have any other Drupal people here to help you (though I certainly want to learn), so a lot of the coding might fall to you. I've used the backend of a Drupal community site, but I haven't coded backend modules or pages.

Zach said

at 9:51 am on Jan 31, 2009

"Is do we want each CFP to be a post? or do we want a database of CFPs from which one call pull information"

Not sure what you mean here.That is, what's the difference? I mean, WordPress or Drupal (or whatever) take posts and put them into databases, pulling out relevant content or category lists as appropriate, right?

There could be a stream of posts like on a frontpage as well as a list of titles as in http://cfp.english.upenn.edu/archive/Computing-Internet/#end

(Sorry to keep going back to Drupal, but in a Drupal site, this could be created with a <a href="http://drupal.org/project/views">View</a> -- also would let users sort by fields and do things like only show CFPs for which the deadline hasn't passed.)

David Parry said

at 9:52 am on Jan 31, 2009

This is my concern with Drupal, not that Zach would have to do all the stuff himself, we could find others to help, but that the number of people we could find to help would be smaller than with WP. Starting to think what we need though is craigslist for CFPs.

David Parry said

at 9:54 am on Jan 31, 2009

Let me clarify: "Is do we want each CFP to be a post? or do we want a database of CFPs from which one call pull information" In Drupal it seems to me that we can build the characteristics of a database, whereas in WP we have to hack it to do so. Maybe this is to basic a way of looking at it but I see Drupal as a database which you design to look like you want, whereas as WP is a design that is supported by a database.

Zach said

at 9:58 am on Jan 31, 2009

"A question regarding Drupal: Zach, how much time are you willing to put into this? I don't know that we have any other Drupal people here to help you (though I certainly want to learn), so a lot of the coding might fall to you. I've used the backend of a Drupal community site, but I haven't coded backend modules or pages."

It really shouldn't take too much time, and I'm willing to do what it needs, setup-wise, at least in the short term. However, I don't mean to create a situation where this becomes a Drupal project because I can do Drupal stuff and I'm volunteering. I mean, we should use whatever platform really works best for what we need. I just like working with Drupal a lot, so answers to questions occur to me in those terms.

Zach said

at 9:59 am on Jan 31, 2009

"Maybe this is to basic a way of looking at it but I see Drupal as a database which you design to look like you want, whereas as WP is a design that is supported by a database."

I think that's a valid generalization, actually.And I like the craigslist-for-CFPs model as a concept.

Brian Croxall said

at 10:04 am on Jan 31, 2009

How wide do we want to cast our net? Are we doing CFPs for English and its splinter fields? For MLA fields? For all humanities fields?

Matt said

at 10:07 am on Jan 31, 2009

I like the craigslist vision, too. Quick, simple, dirty. With feeds and tags and search.

As for this: "I see Drupal as a database which you design to look like you want, whereas as WP is a design that is supported by a database." Hmmmm. Not sure I agree with that, but I also don't have the energy for Drupal vs. WP debate (like mac/pc, this is the stuff of flamewars).

chutry@... said

at 10:08 am on Jan 31, 2009

I think the Craigslist for CFPs concept might be a good one, too. I don't have enough background with Drupal to make a valid judgment.

David Parry said

at 10:15 am on Jan 31, 2009

Anyone know what craigslist is built on? its own system I imagine, but could we basically mimic it in Drupal? or WP?

Zach said

at 10:18 am on Jan 31, 2009

"Drupal vs. WP debate (like mac/pc, this is the stuff of flamewars)."

Bring it on!

(j/k -- I like both, really. They're just different.)

Zach said

at 10:21 am on Jan 31, 2009

Attempts to mimic Craigslist-functionality in drupal: http://drupal.org/node/282638

Brian Croxall said

at 10:23 am on Jan 31, 2009

Craigslist is a good thing to model on as long as we have a better visual design. That's one of the many problems with the UPenn CFP is that in its current format it's almost impossible to read with the cramped text and the hyperlinked titles.

David Parry said

at 10:47 am on Jan 31, 2009

Visual design I don't think would be a problem. I am confident I can find some folks to help with this.

Brian Croxall said

at 11:01 am on Jan 31, 2009

No. Visual design will likely not be a challenge and it's certainly far down on the list. But having the right design will drive traffic (which you all know as well).

Amanda French said

at 11:04 am on Jan 31, 2009

I'm going to be learning Drupal anyway, this'd be a good place for me to learn it. I can also help with visual design. Also see my Dave the Decider comment over on the Platform thread.

David Parry said

at 11:09 am on Jan 31, 2009

I don't mean to imply that design is easy, it is anything but. I am just confident that I know designers who can help, it is one of the advantages to working at UT-Dallas. Good design I agree, is one of the hardest parts.

Dave Lester said

at 11:36 am on Jan 31, 2009

Knowing the zip code of the conference would make it possible to calculate the distance -- great point, Dave.

Only having a web interface for submitting proposals seems legitimate.

Dave Lester said

at 11:45 am on Jan 31, 2009

RE: zip codes, we could implement something like this: http://www.micahcarrick.com/04-19-2005/php-zip-code-range-and-distance-calculation.html into a plugin for WordPress OR a drupal module...

chutry@... said

at 12:31 pm on Jan 31, 2009

To address an earlier zip code question: For most international (non-US) conferences, I'm guessing there is a postal code, especially for the North American, European, Australian conferences and publications. But I like that idea a lot. Given our state travel budgets, I may be doing mostly local conferences next year, at least.

Finn Arne Jorgensen said

at 12:52 pm on Jan 31, 2009

I would love a open-source, good-looking and functional conference management system made for non-techies, but that must be for some other time. But one feature that might be nice if we want to add some value to the CFPs is to add social networking features to help people brainstorm around possible panels, such as finding other presenters, chairs, commentators, etc.

JLR said

at 2:16 pm on Jan 31, 2009

I'm pondering "e-mail support for sending CFPs." In addition to how to set up and organize the database we have to think about submission, i.e. how CFPs will get into the system. What are people's ideas about this? Possibilities might include email, web posting, and RSS aggregation. We'd need to consider how technically difficult each is to set up and what kind of moderation it would require/enable.

My $0.02 is that IF we want to go beyond creating a better front end for existing lists and make something that allows for submission and organization of CFPs, I'm still leaning toward Drupal. I don't want to impinge on the Platform discussion, but it would be relatively quick and easy to throw up a Drupal site that does the following, with room to grow:

BROWSING:
- RSS
- automated emails
- tags
- search

POSTING
- requiring site or open-ID login (hopefully reducing spam and thus the need for moderation)
- easy-to-use form with fields to specify location, dates, discipline, keywords

However, there's definitely an argument to starting with something simpler and more UPenn-esque, basically an email list that also appears on the web w/ RSS. I think we should consider what the MINIMUM set of features is that would make this endeavor useful. In terms of audience, many established academics are comfortable with the email list format but not particularly with newfangled web 2.0 portals.

Brian Croxall said

at 5:43 pm on Jan 31, 2009

I've added a suggestion to social networking possibilities for hosting material related to papers/panels. If people post before the conference, it allows people to arrive ready to engage one another. If after, it's a useful repository. Of course this could involve a lot of server space...and it might duplicate the functionality of what academia.edu is trying to do.

Tanner said

at 8:08 pm on Jan 31, 2009

One note re: collaboration on panel proposals: I am not sure I see the need for this in what is being created here. Something like Google docs already provides this functionality. It's best to leave that to them and focus on what this project can innovate and improve. Eh?

After all, the purpose of this is to provide a place to advertise/announce. Integrating collaboration and panel creation would be significantly expanding the scope of work.

Jay Savage said

at 8:56 pm on Jan 31, 2009

I'm wondering: is email notification a requirement? That's a big technical hurdle: free/OSS mailing lists (e.g. majorodomo and mailman) don't scale well at the sizes we're probably talking about, even using qmail on the back end. L-SOFT's high performance product could handle it, but who would foot the bill?

It's also a *huge* administrative headache for the owners, and also for the host institution. I suspect the upenn list frequently got the entire university blacklisted with some ISPs.

On the other hand, there are plenty of options out there for turning RSS feeds into email. Why not decentralize the email? Just provide RSS feeds, and let interested individuals and/or schools set up mailers if they want them?

Brian Croxall said

at 9:14 pm on Jan 31, 2009

I think that email is vital in a lot of ways. Many grad students don't know what RSS feeds are, let alone the faculty members. Email is something that they can all understand and while RSS comes without any effort on your apart from setting it up--just like a listserv--it's not going to be the same effort for much of our audience.

Perhaps if we provided VERY clear instructions on how to go about converting RSS to email...but I still think it's troublesome. This tool has to be as scalable as possible and that includes making email a viable way to use it.

Amanda French said

at 7:34 pm on Feb 2, 2009

I used Feedburner to put a "Subscribe via e-mail" link on my WordPress blog -- it was very simple: http://nettuts.com/misc/build-a-wordburner-email-newsletter-manager-using-wordpress-and-feedburner/

Brian Croxall said

at 8:07 am on Feb 3, 2009

I've added a suggestion to use Twitter as best we can in the dissemination process. We should be looking beyond RSS and email as much as possible.

Zach said

at 7:58 am on Feb 7, 2009

Kind of as a proof-of-concept, I went ahead and created a test site in Drupal to see if it could handle the things under discussion here. And I think most of it could work, even Twitter. (I haven't got it all the way working in my test site, but there is a twitter API module.)

If anyone is interested, you're welcome to check out the site here: http://www.zachwhalen.net/cfp .

Feel free to try posting CFP announcements (no login required) and setting up notifications (you have to create a user account). Anonymous CFPs will be held for moderation, so if you want to see what things look like from the moderator point of view, you can log in as "moderator" password "moderate" and access the moderation queue.

General disclaimer: The whole thing is more proof-of-concept than demonstration site, so it's definitely clunky.

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