Introducing the New IASSIST Website

By Tuomas J. Alaterä | May 13, 2020

It’s alive! As you have probably noticed by now - IASSIST’s new website has been launched. This is the fourth IASSIST website if one does not count the separate membership site iassistdata.info. Before taking a closer look at the new site, let’s take a quick look back at IASSIST’s website history.

IASSIST first ventured into the World Wide Web during the membership year 1994-1995. But prior to this there had already been IASSIST Gopher! (But no, not in Minnesota, but Alberta, Canada.)

The first IASSIST website logo

The second version of the website was launched in 2002 at the IASSIST conference in Storrs. The domain iassistdata.org had been registered as early as in mid-2000.

The logo of our second website and the navigation structure of the site.

The third interpretation of the Association’s web presence was presented in 2010 at the IASSIST conference in Ithaca. It also marked a shift from basic HTML pages to database-driven content publishing.

Our familiar, richly coloured logo was introduced in 2010 for both online and print use.

We are now pleased to welcome everyone to the fourth IASSIST website.

This time, the logo didn’t change, although it has been very lightly enhanced for certain website uses and new grayscale and single colour versions have been introduced. We have moved away from Drupal and are using state-of-the-art static website generator technologies. We believe that this approach should give us security, speed, simplicity, and precise control over the look and feel of the site. The new site is suitable to mobile use and meets basic accessibility requirements.

IASSIST enhanced logo
IASSIST's grayscale and singe colour logos.

The work is not done yet. The transferred content requires some refinement and some of it is yet to be published. In the near future we will be updating content and building better streamlined ways to update the blog and conference content, for example. For now, I encourage everyone to be in touch with our Website Editor Zac Painter or Communications Committee Chair Tuomas J. Alaterä. (That’s me.) We would be most happy to post your blogs online - just send us the text and images!

A team of four has worked throughout the past year, individually and meeting on Zoom, building the website from scratch on a new platform and getting it ready for launch. Harrison Dekker, our Website Administrator, set up the theme and automated a fair chunk of the content transfer, including uploading all presentations and metadata from the conference archive into Zenodo. Zac Painter set up the code repository and deployment service. Abay Israel contributed to drafting the website requirements and tested the functionality of the new site at various stages. I have worked on the content and lightly customised the look and feel of the new website.

We are also looking for new volunteers to participate in the development and maintenance of the site. Tools are simple and interesting for a data professional! In particular, we look for someone to take over updating the IASSIST jobs repository.

We hoped to unveil this new website in Gothenburg at the IASSIST conference. Now we will do it less glamorously and - like so many other things have been done recently - virtually. We hope that you enjoy what you see - and let us know what still needs to be fixed!

–Submitted by Tuomas J. Alaterä