REA Website Maintenance Proposal
This proposal has was agreed to by REA at their November 2013 board meeting. Please contact Eric with any questions.
In October 2013 Lucinda Huffaker, Executive Director of the Religious Education Association, asked if I would be willing to produce a proposal to manage REA’s website maintenance and a few other technology tasks. As I have been doing many of these tasks since the website was rebuilt in 2010, I agreed and this document is my proposal for REA.
Lucinda shared a list of REA objectives for web development and maintenance:
- Design and maintain website layout and html coding for REA website and sub-sites.
- Create and maintain web pages and CSS style sheets for conference website annually, in collaboration with REA Program Chair.
- Create CSS style sheets for sub-sites (forum, task, or research sites), as needed.
- Create online registration form.
- Create scripts for pulling membership data from files into online membership directory.
- Design web-based features, graphics, or frame structures for website.
- Create and maintain file structure on server platform.
- Create coding scripts for running routine web-base functions.
- Perform periodic updates of web-hosting software, plugins, features, etc., as needed.
- Maintain back-up of website (main and sub-sites).
I plan to work with REA via phone, Skype, Google Hangout, and other similar remote tools. This proposal does not include any travel for face to face meetings, though REA is free to request such a meeting at additional cost.
While my goal is to respond to any communication of an issue or problem by the following work day, at times it may take more time for me to respond. The primary path of communication should be email, but REA staff are welcome to escalate to a phone call at any time.
Deliverable 1: Maintenance of current REA website and WordPress theme.
The website for REA has been stable since 2010. It is built on a WordPress theme derived from one of the default themes maintained by WordPress itself, making it simpler to maintain.
- This deliverable includes maintenance of the REA website at DreamHost and the WordPress theme.
- If future updates of WordPress compromise the theme or the plugins required by the REA site, I would fix the code so the site works properly again.
- Periodic reviews of the site’s security and hosting arrangement at DreamHost would be done to ensure we are up-to-date with DreamHost best practice (for example, using recent versions of underlying infrastructure like PHP and MySQL).
- Minor changes to the theme to accommodate new REA requirements are also included.
- Finally, this deliverable includes troubleshooting with DreamHost if the site goes down.
Deliverable 2: Creation of new REA annual meeting websites each year.
Timeframe: each September-November
Each year, a new site is added to REA’s “multisite” installation of WordPress for the upcoming REA Annual Meeting. These annual meeting sites use the same WordPress theme as the main site, with variation being limited to the options built in to the theme itself.
- This deliverable includes an initial phone conversation with the upcoming conference program chair to discuss the conference theme, imagery, and color scheme for the website.
- I would create the initial site using the draft conference call and accommodation information supplied by REA.
- This deliverable can also include (at REA’s option) the design of a flyer for the upcoming meeting to be shade at the annual meeting.
For example, I would have a phone conversation with the 2015 conference chair in September 2014 to discuss their expectations and ideas. I would produce the initial conference site in October 2014 and revise it iteratively with input from REA staff and the conference chair. I would have the site ready to roll out to the membership in time for the REA Annual Meeting in November 2014.
Deliverable 3: Coaching and support for REA staff and conference program chairs.
The REA annual meeting sites are meant to be dynamic sites, alive with the insights of the conference chair and others in the year leading up to the meeting. REA staff also maintain content on the site regularly and need a way to get questions answered.
- This deliverable includes one remote training session with screen sharing where I walk the conference chair or other new REA staff member through the process of updating their website.
- It also includes ongoing availability by phone to answer questions that arise about the site.
Deliverable 4: Support for REA annual meeting lifecycle and online forms.
There are several phases to the rollout of an annual meeting. The call for papers is included above in the creation of each REA annual meeting web site.
- This deliverable includes preparing an online submission form for the call for papers with Formstack (March/April),
- preparing an online version of the meeting schedule (June/July),
- preparing an online registration form for the meeting with Formstack (June/July),
- and updating the registration form after the early registration period expires (September/October).
Deliverable 5: Maintain existing scripts for transferring membership information from T&F to REA.
REA membership is currently handled by Taylor & Francis.
- This deliverable includes maintaining the scripts that facilitate an ongoing and automatic creation of a spreadsheet, directory, and emailing list of REA members from that T&F data.
It is understood that given limitations in the data provided by T&F, this automatic process cannot be 100% accurate and some manual intervention (updates in a separate list and opt-outs in our directory data) will be required to ensure all members can find themselves on REA rolls.
Deliverable 6: Maintain an offsite backup or REA website data.
While REA’s website data is regularly duplicated at the DreamHost site and copied to a separate DreamHost backup server, an offsite backup provides added security.
- This deliverable includes a monthly download of the data backup to my own machine in Minnesota.
Note, I still urge REA to make its own regular offsite backup of the data from the REA website.
Deliverable 7: Maintain REA email addresses and accounts.
In addition to the website, REA maintains a number of @religiouseducation.net email addresses at DreamHost. These include a mailing list for the membership, the board, and some forwarding address for key staff and program chairs.
- This deliverable includes creation and removal of REA email forwarders and mailing lists.
- It also includes troubleshooting with DreamHost when mail is not properly delivered.
Deliverable 8: Assist with the maintenance of REA accounts at third party sites associated with the website.
REA provides online forms via Formstack, payments via PayPal, and book purchases via Amazon.
- This deliverable includes assistance when changes are needed in Formstack, PayPal, or Amazon accounts to keep them working effectively with the REA site.
This proposal does not include the development of a new WordPress theme for REA or the migration of the REA site to a new content management platform or web host. Since the REA site is hosted at DreamHost, I also make no promises about uptime or accessibility of the site itself or associate accounts. While I can troubleshoot and communicate clearly to DreamHost, some issues will remain in their hands to resolve.
I am also not offering to develop any editorial content or to post everyday content to the website. I expect that staff at REA will develop enough familiarity with the site to fix typos, post new items, and perform regular editorial maintenance of the REA sites. While I am happy to assist with these items as necessary, particularly during the creation of each new conference site, it should be understood that my role is keeping these systems running properly, not maintaining the content.
I understand that the arrangements with Taylor & Francis may change substantially in the future. This proposal does not include the development of an in-house or third-party member management system. If REA would like my help with a revision of its member management practices, a separate project should be scoped out and agreed upon.
As a consultant, I do not charge by the hour. The services above will cost $6,000 per year. I would send an invoice every other month (at the beginning of February, April, June, August, October, and December) for $1,000. I understand that REA is a small association with limited funding, so if this price proves too high, I am willing to discuss modifying the expectations of the proposal or a discount for the service to accommodate your needs.
Eric brings over 20 years of library and 35 years of technology experience to his consulting. At MIT Eric shepherded the creation of DSpace, open source digital repository management software developed with HP and now deployed at hundreds of institutions worldwide. At the University of Minnesota Libraries he encouraged the development of the UThink blog service, a wiki-based staff intranet, LibData, and the University Digital Conservancy. He works with non-profit institutions on appropriate uses of technology for informing, communicating, and collaborating with their constituencies.