Add your Member News to artinwisconsin.com

by Doug E. L. Haynes haynes@emeraldstudio.com

If you have not visited artinwisconsin.com recently, you might want to check out the new look. No, there was nothing wrong with the old look, but it helps to change the look of the site from time to time so that people sit up and notice. Besides there are also changes in the inner workings of the site and so I thought the outside appearance should reflect what is happening in the guts of the site.
So what are the changes to the inner workings of the site? What we have is a system where content is held in a database and delivered to the visitor’s computer based on requests made by that visitor. For example the link “Search for an artist” allows one to request information about artists with the name “Gresl” or artists who work in watercolor. While the content of our site is much different, the system is much like that used by www.portalwisconsin.org. The reason for this change is that this type of design allows greater flexibility in how the information is used and content can be added and updated by people like yourself rather than just the webmaster.
You might ask how can a non-technical person such as myself be updating information on the WP&S website. The procedure is not as difficult as you might imagine. What you need is access to the internet and email (actually email is not necessary but it helps). Here is the procedure for putting your member news on the website.

Your username is your name as it appears in our database. If you are not sure exactly how you are listed. Click on “search for an artist” and search for yourself. Your password was randomly generated. To get your password go to the login page (a link at the bottom of each page labeled “members”) On that page there is a link labeled “lost password reminder.” Use that link to have your password emailed to you. If WP&S does not have your email on record there will be a warning message stating that is the case. If your email is not on record or you would like to use the system but do not use email, please give me a call and I will get you going (255-0201)
Once you have your username and password you are ready to log in. A successful log in will lead you to the welcome page where you will be presented with a series of options. Choose “add member news.’” This will lead you to a page of instructions regarding adding member news. After reading through the instructions you will find links at the bottom of that page to forms for adding different types of member news. Choose a link appropriate to the type of member news you would like to post (i.e. if you are posting news about your participation in a group show click on “group show”). The group show option allows several WP&S members to be listed in the same news item.
Once you have completed the form describing your news item you will be taken to a page that confirms what you just entered. If you happen to spot an error there is an option to edit what you just wrote. You may also log in at some later date and edit or delete a news item if need be.
Once you have posted your member news it will appear on the website in the member news section automatically. That is assuming your news item is current (i.e. the exhibition has not ended). One nice thing about the system is that news items will no longer be posted on the website once the event or exhibition is over. The news item will also be available to people who find your name in the “search for an artist” page. The news will be listed on the page titled “more about Gary Gresl.” (Substitute your name for “Gary Gresl”).
I realize that passwords and usernames are things that make some artists break out in a cold sweat, but it is my hope that usefulness of this tool will outweigh these burdens. I have also heard doubts expressed about the wisdom of allowing everyone and anyone to make changes to the site. Actually you are not ‘everyone and anyone’, the passwords restrict access to everyone but WP&S members. I would hope that if you see postings that contain errors you would inform the member who made the post. In the event that someone makes posts that are trivial or malicious, please inform me and I can restrict access and remove posts as necessary. I am confident that the system I have in place will guide you the user through the process. Of course machines are not perfect and there is always the possibility for error or malice, but that is the world in which we live.

AIW editor Doug Haynes can be reached at
haynes@emeraldstudio.com