Keep up on the latest developments as PortalWisconsin.org moves toward its online public launch date of January 14, 2002 and beyond.
Portal's booth at the Wisconsin Library Association conference was a hit. Librarians stocked up on bookmarks and other goodies, plus talked with us about what's new on the site. Chats end.
On Oct. 10, Portal launched its new discussion forums. In this area, users
can talk about any topic related to culture, arts, humanities and history -
or they can participate in special sections devoted to the PBS Program Club
and the Chapter-a-Day Book Club. Nellla Citino, along with Anne Pryor of the
Wisconsin Arts Board, gave a well-received presentation at Extension's Outreach
Scholarship Conference, held in Ohio earlier this month. Jennifer Smith gave
a presentation in Wisconsin Rapids to the board of the Arts Council of South
Wood County and representatives of local arts groups.
The first jury meeting for the Portal Wisconsin Online Gallery, held on Sept. 4, was a success. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was quite impressed with the online jurying system we've developed. The jury selected 22 artists' work, and you can now see this work-as well as improved gallery navigation-on Portal Wisconsin. Ads were placed in Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay Playbills which are the booklets passed out to theatre-goers.
PortalWisconsin.org had a presence at the Wisconsin State Fair along with other University of Wisconsin Extension projects. Grants for web site maintenance are researched, written, and sent out. The "Opportunities" area of the site was launched and hosts audition notices, calls for artists, jobs and internships, calls for conference papers and much more.
Ann Engelman and Irene Ekleberry took their good friends Frank Lloyd Wright and Georgia O'Keeffe-plus a host of Portal Wisconsin goodies and info-to the Wisconsin Historical Society's History Fair in Milwaukee on July 13. These two-dimensional Wisconsin legends were a big hit with fair attendees, who had a chance to get their pictures taken with Frank or Georgia.Assistant project manager Jennifer Smith and database designer Nathan Trick will be presenting at Wisconsin Library Services' conference at the end of the month. On July 31, they'll give the presentation "PortalWisconsin.org: Building a Culture and Arts Portal That Works" at the Pyle Center. PortalWisconsin.org received some great press in the Journal Sentinel. Stan Miller wrote a comprehensive article extolling the virtues of the portal Web site and all that it does. Congratulations to all. You can check out the article online at: http://www.jsonline.com/bym/tech/news/jul02/57548.asp
Training for partners and staff for shooting and stitching panoramic tours was conducted by Andy Soth. Lots of press coverage for the folk art panoramic tours. Andrew Taylor, Director of the School of Business Arts Administration Program, suggested some ideas for commerce activities. Chats continue weekly. Artists begin to submit material for the online gallery.
Project Director Ann Engelman made a presentation at National Public Radio Conference in Washington, D.C. with fabulous results. A feature series on folk art panoramics will play out during the summer. Producer Andy Soth will visit and put a new folk art site online every week. Online Gallery for artists announcement is circulated. Training for streaming is initiated.
Weekly chats have started and involve a variety of guests. The chats will run until the end of summer and Wisconsin Public Radio is running promos for these chats. A customer service and a content policy is in place and will be added to the site in May. Interactive television through WebTV will have a trial run in which some of the database will be accessible through a WebTV interface.
The artist online gallery has a plan and timeline in place and will grow significantly over the next few months. Statistics for the site indicate many visitors are returning and going to the Interest Area. The second most frequented area is the calendar.
The PBS toolkit is online and available to stations and the general public. The first email newsletter has been sent and it is targeted to a user's specific interests. Front-page features will be presented monthly and, if possible, every two weeks. Additional staff has been added to produce the features. To draw attention to the site, Wisconsin Public Radio is airing a promo and Wisconsin Public Television is placing voiceovers during credits for programs related to culture, arts, humanities and history.
The site has launched and press attention exceeded expectations. Due to all the marketing efforts of all the partners combined, a statewide campaign was very successful and response for the Web site has been overwhelming. Many artists, agencies and citizens from all over the state are visiting the site and inquiring about how they can get involved. As Portal Wisconsin staff presents and trains throughout the state, a toolkit for PBS stations is in development and will be showcased at the Interactive Conference in Baltimore during February.
Equipment for creating streaming media and panoramic tours has been purchased. An online poetry game for children is in development and outsourced to UW-Madison's Division of Information Technology. Broadcast promos are in production as is a CD- ROM for presentations. An online gallery is in the works with an initial eight artist interested in showing their work. Streaming media for launch is in production.
Plans are being laid for interactive television and the development of the 2002 programming grid continues with the input of partner organizations. The programming grid lays out features, digital media and a chat schedule. A plan has been written for the artist area of the site (essentially an online gallery) and work moves forward in that area. Longer-range plans for adding a humanities scholar area and a kids' art area will be part of "Phase II." Interactive games for children continue to be under development. And work continues on streaming media for the site. Digital video was shot for an artist profile and for a feature on the John Michael Kohler Art Center's Arts/Industry program.
Portal Wisconsin has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. This grant will allow the Web site to develop a resource area for artists. Plans are in development for broadening this area beyond artists in phase II of the project. In the meantime, the administrative area of the database is completed and data entry workers are feeding it information for 2002 calendar events and locations. The process of vetting this information has been developed in conjunction with the partners who are also adding material to the database. A launch party for press and dignitaries is scheduled on January 14th, 2002.
A beta test has been successful for the database and training has begun. There are separate training sessions for data entry workers and Cultural Coalition partners. A program calendar for the site has been drafted and the site map redefined. Folders have been mocked up as well as post cards and business promotional cards. A poster is in the starting stages with a nationally known illustrator.
All staff is in place to begin putting the final touches on the database categories and sub-categories, geographical regions and locations. A draft of a site map has been developed and talks initiated for the look and the feel of the public site. A launch date has been set and special events are developing for January 14, 2002. A strategic marketing plan has been completed and print materials have been developed. Cultural Coalition partners have contributed greatly to the marketing plan.
A new logo done in Flash now greets visitors to the placeholder site. At the Cultural Coalition Meeting with the seven partners, binders with relevant information were distributed and discussed. Resources like press information, a database model, contact lists, and a rough mock up of the public site were a part of these binders. In the meantime, print and promotional materials are beginning to be designed and developed. Besides stationery, small promotional business cards, postcards, posters, a CD Rom and a users guide for the logo are part of the package. Categories, browsing topics and keyword searches will be addressed at the next technical meeting. With the feedback from this meeting, a test database in addition to administrative pages will be developed within the next couple of weeks.
With a priority list, the portal team has started working groups to flesh out the technical side of the web site, as well as the creative. First and foremost, content for the portal site will be culled from partner sites of the Cultural Coalition, which is a consortium of the state's leading arts and cultural institutions. Priorities of Phase I are calendar capabilities, a searchable database, personalized services through e-mail and on-going evaluation. Portal job responsibilities and position descriptions drafted and approved. Timeline determined for test and launch. A database model was presented and discussed. The database will be done in Oracle with a Cold Fusion interface. A meeting with Oracle people at UW-Extension shed some light on capabilities as well as limitations for the database. Web accessibility has become a consideration since this project is federally funded. We are happy to embrace the unknown.