Update your Damn Webpages!

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I am guilty of some of this myself, but in my own defense, I have over 750 webpages in several websites, not to mention a blog, several photo galleries, and a moodle site (I am not counting my old course websites which would add hundreds more pages). Some of my pages don’t get the attention they perhaps should. What’s your excuse? How many do you have?

If you are a professional, and especially if you are an academic make sure that at LEAST your portfolio is up to date. Academics have GOT to be the worst when it comes to this. I have lost track of how many times I have gone to a faculty webpage trying to find out about what they are doing (or looking for a paper) only to find they last updated their page in 2008!!! Come ON. It makes you look inept. And while I’m at it, how can you claim to be for social networking and sharing knowledge when you don’t even give us links to your papers?

Any time I mention this to the perpetrators they dismiss it by telling me how busy they are. I am not an academic now but I was and I KNOW how busy you are. Keeping your portfolio up to date doesn’t take that long. It only takes seconds if you have your web pages set up right and you put these things in when you get your acceptance notice.

How many of you make your students create portfolios of their work? Do you expect them to keep these up to date? Of course you do. What will they find if they look at yours? If it’s not also up to date, then SHAME ON YOU.

By the way, don’t bother to list papers you have only submitted. These only matter in your annual review. From this end it looks like you are trying to inflate your importance. Listing something that’s been accepted but not yet published is different. At least that’s been reviewed.

Here’s what it’ll take to keep your ‘portfolio’ up to date: 15-20 minutes a once a week. That’s really it. 15-20 minutes. Once a week. I bet many of you spend more time than that flipping through the selections in your ipod in a week. I bet many of you spend that much time playing around with your media player every day. You have the time to keep your portfolio up to date. You just can’t be bothered.

If you don’t want to look like a tech-pretender then make sure that at least your publications and course links are up to date. If you don’t have access to your own page then set one up to which you DO have access. You don’t need an admin assistant to manage your personal webpages. If your webpages are set up in a way that make quick mods awkward, then FIX them. If they are hidden behind a wall so that only people in your own institution can see or find them – then get with the 21st century. As far as I’m concerned stuff hidden behind walls doesn’t count.

If you are in a tech-related field and you don’t have a web presence – SHAME ON YOU. What decade do you think this is?

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Update your Damn Webpages! — 2 Comments

  1. I’ve got about 405 html pages on my web site, not counting the ones automatically generated (I have a server that does protein structure predictions from user input).

    A few are frequently maintained (current courses, lab group web page, paper list), while others are only modified if someone points out a broken link to me. The most heavily visited pages are ones I set up years ago and haven’t needed to update since.

    • I don’t normally update courses I am not currently teaching unless, like you, someone points out a broken link. I have a serious games pathfinder (of about 15 pages) that hasn’t been updated in about 3 years, which for game studies is a very long time. I could easily spend all my time maintaining my web sites, so I understand. Contact info, publications, current courses, and projects should all be kept current. I would consider course stuff to be part of regular course prep (which can admittedly take considerable time). The other stuff really only takes 15-20 minutes a week, even if you publish lots. I also realize that some publications can’t be made freely available (book chapters, etc.) but most conference papers and presentations can, and should be. If it is not good enough to share in this way, it shouldn’t have been published in the first place.

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