Friday, October 01, 2021

Keeping the Web Library Available

The website name was established around 1998 and I've used it since then, with three different versions of the website. The most recent was built in 2006 by tech volunteers at IUPUI, who I had met through the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences.

The site was rebuilt in 2011 and I've used that format for the past 10 years.  Last spring we had to move the web library to a new form of hosting since the site was attracting web viruses.  This week as I was trying to update links in the library we found that this function was no longer working.  In addition, the person who has been hosting the site at no cost no longer will have time to fix this. The site will close by January 2021.

Fortunately the site archive is available on the Wayback Machine site. This link takes you to a version from early in 2021. 

I have no money to invest in web developers, so I'm not certain what I will do.  For the past 10 years I've used the site as my main website and the primary value of the T/MC site was that it hosed my list of Chicago tutor/mentor programs and it hosted a web library with more than 2000 links.  

Below you can see how that was formatted.

A second benefit was that a Google search for the words "tutor mentor" still resulted in the site coming up first among the non-ad supported listings. I feel that's a value.

My first priority is saving the information in the library.  My friend in Indiana has a back-up of the site that can be provided to me as a data-base, but I'm not confident that I can draw information from that.

So I'm going through the library, category-by-category and copying the information to a MS Word doc. I did the Chicago Programs Links section a couple of days ago. I started on the main library yesterday. I think that I can complete this by mid November if I work on it every day.

Once that is done I have less fear of losing the information even if the website goes off-line. However, that's only step one. I need to find a new way to share the information, and to point the site to where I host the new library.

One option is to put this on the site. Below is a visualization showing my thinking. From the home page I could link to a page that looks like this, showing the four sections of the library, and listing the sub categories in each section.  Those would open to a new page where I'd list programs alphabetically.  

Each sub section would have it's on page of listings.  For instance in the Chicago Programs section is a sub category for Chicago Central area.  Below is an example of how that might look (with improved formatting).  I might create a version with only the name of the program and the website and not include the description paragraph. That would save space.

If I can redirect links from all places where I've pointed to the library and T/MC site for the past 15 years to the library page on the TME site, that might fix the problem of broken links. Once someone gets to the main library page, they could navigate to more specific information.

Update: 10/5/2021 - I've put the list of Chicago tutor/mentor programs on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC website and updated links from a few key places that point to it. 

This would enable me to update my concept maps, such as the one below, with new links pointing to specific sub sections in the library.  (done as of 10/5/2021)

My concern about putting this on the site is that it my not have enough band with to support it.  That site is already crashing often due to information overload. I'm investigating an upgrade, but that comes with a few other problems. Cost is one.  However, I don't know where my IP address is hosted so can't point to a new IP address if the site hosting is upgraded.

I could also build this on a new page, with each article being one sub section of the library, and the tags along the left site  pointing to each sub section.  I'm not sure how viable that would be.

The best option would be some organization/university and/or benefactor seeing the value of the library and the ideas I've been sharing, and stepping forward with a multi-year financial commitment to rebuild the sites and take ownership from me.  

The worst option would be to shut down in 2022 and end the work I've been trying to do, discarding all of the information I've aggregated for the past 30 years.

That's not likely to happen.  That's because the archive version will continue to be available at this link.  I'll write a post soon showing the site archive and what it can do and what it does not do. It looks like you can click on links and go to an archived version of that link, if it is available. 

Any suggestions? 

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