Learn all about our Intranet

ONLINE Magazine Cover
Cover from Official Site

It’s finally here! After talking up our Intranet here on my site (here, here, here, and here) and whenever I talked to people in person, the article is finally here.

My assistant (RayAna Park) and I were lucky enough to get the cover of this month’s issue of ONLINE Magazine and we’re so excited! I was thinking I might share snippets of code with you all throughout the year, so let me know what pieces you want more information about. I’ll admit that we did not write the object-oriented code (like John recommends) but it could still be helpful and useful for you and your library.

Lastly, if you want to learn more you can come see me at the LITA National Forum in October or Internet Librarian (also in October) I will be presenting at both conferences about our Intranet and it’s its uses.

[update 8/30/06] It has been more than 90 days so I am allowed to put the full text of the article online. Read it here. [/update]




My Intranet Article

A lot of you expressed an interest in our Intranet redesign project when I posted about it in January – well you can soon read about it in ONLINE magazine. Marydee actually mentions it in a post on her blog – it’s a tiny mention – but it’s there.

Now don’t start screaming – the title is Intranet 2.0: Fostering Collaboration with our Homegrown Intranet – and the 2.0 is there for 2 reasons. #1 it is actually the second version of our Intranet – #2 because we use a lot of Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis, RSS, etc). I hope you all enjoy the read as much as we enjoyed doing the redesign.

More on the Intranet

I have had several requests to provide more information about the Intranet – and it is something I LOVE talking about. Which brings me to some good and — not bad — but disappointing news. The good news is that I was asked to write an article about the project – the disappointing news – for you all – is that I probably can’t write much about the project here until I’m done with the article.

I can answer some questions though.

Mahalie asked about timeframe and the people involved. I was not doing this project solo – thank goodness!! We started in August and finished in mid-December. By finished I mean finished a functioning product. We are still tweaking and adding features on a daily basis. On January 2 we went to work while everyone was out and made the entire thing live for the staff. So since January 3rd our staff has been using it – not long yet.

Mahalie also asked who the “we” were. Our server is maintained by our IT staff – but they didn’t have to do much because they already had the server set up for the Intranet – mostly they restored backups for us every time we messed things up so badly there was no turning back. My job title is Web Manager and I have one helper (a Web Assistant) who works about 20-25 hours a week with me. Between the two of us we wrote every piece of code (with the exception of the calendar) with the help of online tutorials, my favorite books (Web Database Applications with PHP & MySQL, 2nd Edition, PHP Cookbook and MySQL Cookbook), and my favorite support forums – the Devshed Forums.

That also answers David’s question about what we used – everything was custom built. David also wanted some technical details – I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to share some things like that.

I can tell you that the hardest thing we had to figure out was how to handle the wiki portion of the site. I had no idea how to keep track of all of the changes on each page – at first I thought I’d need several tables in my database – turns out I only needed one.

CREATE TABLE `pgs_content` (
`pageID` int(11) NOT NULL auto_increment,
`title` varchar(255) NOT NULL default '',
`body` longtext NOT NULL,
`user_id` int(11) NOT NULL default '0',
`created` datetime NOT NULL default '0000-00-00 00:00:00',
`version` decimal(10,2) NOT NULL default '0.00',
PRIMARY KEY (`pageID`,`version`)

So each time a page is edited the pageID remains the same but the version is incremented by .01. That way I can make sure only the most recent version shows on the screen by default, but the other versions can be seen by clicking on version numbers on the history page. This is different from other wikis – most of the ones I’ve seen use the title as the primary key – we couldn’t have that on our Intranet because there can be several pages titled something like “General Information” or “Policies” – so I needed to use a number (the pageID).

Anyway, I’m sorry you all have to wait to hear the details – but I’ll keep giving you bits as I can. If you have a specific question feel free to ask me via email nengard (at) gmail (dot) com … if not watch here for some details and when I know more about the article I’ll share it with you all.

Intranet Screenshot #1

Our Intranet

I have uploaded the screenshots for you all to see. They each have comments to explain what you’re looking at. View the show or the set.

I included shots of the blog, the wiki, the search engine, and noted some of the great features like – easily reporting problems to the web team – a menu that follows you everywhere, our shared calendar (powered by ExtCalendar 2) and more. If I have the time maybe I’ll go into detail on how I did things – if you’re curious – feel free to just ask :)




New Intranet

Today the library was closed – so of course I went into work. Why? Well since August I have been working on designing a new (custom) Intranet for work … and it was ready to be made live. Tomorrow when everyone comes into work they’re going to experience an intranet just for them. I’ll have to get some screenshots to share with you all – because if I do say so myself – it is totally awesome!

Every staff member logs into the Intranet and has complete control over almost every bit of content on the site. On our homepage is our Library Bulletin – a blog of my own design that will allow all of the departments to keep the other departments up to date with news and events. In the right column staff members can update their profile (which in turn updates our staff contact, emergency contact, birthday, and phone lists), access and add to the ongoing projects blog, review and add to the Intranet Links Collection – as well as our Research Links, see our online shared calendar … and so much more!

Everything is was written with PHP and MySQL – which allowed me to link a lot of the modules that I had on the old intranet together to make things easier and more efficient for everyone – it also made it so that I could keep track of who was doing what – and when.

I think this new site is going to improve work flow and communication at our library – TONS! And more important (for me at least) it was so much fun to learn how to write a blog – and a wiki – and everything else I wrote for the site. I’ll see if I can get some screenshots this week to share here.

[update] You can find screenshots, articles, screencasts, and presentations here [/update]