You may have noticed that there have been some minor changes to the sidebar on the right side of the blog. I’ve talked with a few folks and subsequently we’ve taken out some of the features we used to have in that space in order to (we hope) streamline things a bit.
One of the core features of WordPress, the blogging system behind both the Commons and the digital platform we’re building as part of the Title V grant, is multiple ways to get at content. For example, if you’re looking for a particular post or comment, you can scroll down through the posts on the blog’s homepage or click on the Calendar links to view posts by date.
I also wanted to write a bit about Categories and Tags. These are additional organizational/navigational options common to many blogging systems. I’ve heard Dan describe Categories as a Table of Contents and Tags as an Index (if I can take the words out of your mouth, Dan!), which gets at their navigational relationship. On the organizational side of things (and because I am a librarian) I think of Categories as broad subjects, like the Subject Headings in a library catalog, whereas Tags are more like keywords.
Here’s an example that I hope makes things more concrete: for this post I’ll choose Blogging as a Category (from the list that appears on the right side of the Add a New Post screen), but I’ve tagged this post usability, documentation, support, and navigation.
(Please let me know if this is still unclear — I talk about ways to organize information with students in the library’s Research and Documentation course, and I’m always in search of better ways to explain these somewhat complex topics.)
Both Categories and Tags can be useful for organizing and navigating content on the blog, but again, you can feel free to use either or both — whichever works best for you.
Please let us know what you think about these sidebar changes, and if you have any questions or suggestions for the blog. I’m available to discuss the blog in small groups or one-on-one — please drop me a line if you’d like to meet. Soon I’ll also browse through the WordPress/BuddyPress support and documentation available here on the Academic Commons and will pull out the most relevant to share with our group.