Friday, April 6, 2012

I'm back - and planning to make this Newsletter better than ever

I'm back in action – but still have a number of hospital visits due over the next few months although none should take me out of action for long.

During March my mind was on other things – and I stopped posting and updates on the 17th. The Newsletter, which had been running on an average of just over 100 views a day dropped to about 70, and there was some fall off in the number of visitors on the main web site. In addition the “Ask Chris” and “Tell Me” facilities were not working due to a fault in the security checking routines (over which I have no control) and until the problem is identified and corrected I am suggesting that messages are sent to me as comment to the Temporary Fault Message. It also turns out that some of the February figures were exceptionally high due to a fault which cause the robot that indexes the site every Friday evening to get lost and go into a page reading loop!

I have also been looking at how I can easily keep things moving smoothly and Newsletter items tend to fall into the following categories:
  1. Responses to messages from visitors to the Newsletter or the main web site. These are normally answered as quickly as possible – often within a day or two.
  2. News items – announcements of interesting events in Hertfordshire, new Hertfordshire facilities online, changes to general sites which contain significant Hertfordshire Information. Reports of Events I have attended, etc.
  3. New Acquisitions – I am always on the lookout for “new” material – which will add to the educational value of the site – such as helping people to date old post cards, or introducing them to new types of sources.
  4. Place Updates – Many place pages have become untidy, and in many cases I have significant additional material I can add. Making changes for a town or larger village involves a lot of work. However by adding a dedicated menu it is far easier to add new material – such as the transcript of an 18th century account – or a walk along the main street illustrated by old post cards.
  5. News Sources – books, web sites, articles from magazines
  6. Old News. Extracts from 19th century newspapers – in come cases with a commentary about the people and places mentioned
  7. More personal news – to lighten things up - including modern photographs of places I have visited.
Many of these are not time critical and involve preparing updates for the main web site, linking them to other relevant pages, and testing. Only when this has been done do I need to write the relevant Newsletter post. The easiest way to do keep up a steady flow is to plan in advance – for instance to prepare half a dozen “old news” stories and write the relevant newsletter pieces when I have a gap in the schedule. In some cases this could mean you accidentally stumble across the story a week or two before it appears in the Newsletter as new “Old News”. I am sure you will understand.

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This is the newsletter for the Genealogy in Hertfordshire Web site. Comments on this blog are moderated and may be transferred to the web site where appropriate. If you have a local or family history query you want answered you must use "Ask Chris" - See box in right hand column. Anonymous comments cannot be answered.