Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Raise a glass to the techies, the generous and the thieves.

Currently I have four web sites I'm nannying. They are always open in my browser and often send me auto-generated emails to tell me what is going on there. This blog is one, the blog is another. There's the Let's Blog Click06 blog and then a work project, MULTA (My University Library Thinking Aloud), which is a tikiwiki installation.

What amazes me is that I can do this at all, without crashing the whole kit and caboodle and bringing shouts of ire from users and other administrators. I've been a System Librarian and I've done a unit in computing at uni (mainly programming in PASCAL - really relevant today). I wouldn't say that this qualified me to administer any site...yet here I am.

I wouldn't have attempted anything like it a few years ago, although I had the same skills. What's changed?
  1. "Off the shelf", free sites that hold your hand abound. They know how to give you power and safety all at once.
  2. Open source software is easily available with lots of documentation, so I can easily evaluate it before installing it.
  3. More techie sorts with "can do" attitudes. Once I thought I'd be bugging a tech if I spoke to them in lay terms, now they are much more approachable (or I'm less overwhelmed).
  4. I've found that people who get a buzz out of doing something are usually very generous about helping newbies. Now I'm finding that I'm meeting more "regular people" who can do this type of site admin and will share, share, share.
  5. Nifty stuff that I can nick is everywhere. So far I've stolen a site counter from someone else's blog. I have my eye on a nifty way of adding subject headings to my blogger blog. I don't even have to wait until her back is turned.
  6. Previously special interest groups with the best collaborative spirit possible just didn't have the tools to create and administer a group run site. Now we can do it together and act as a cheer squad and tea and coffee makers for each other. Not only do we run the site we want, but we hothouse skills together as well.
So...I'm learning,learning, learning thanks to a bit of techie friendliness, generous spirits and old fashioned theft.

No comments: