The close of 2019 also will signal the end of Iowa State's first public website service. Users who have webpages on www.public.iastate.edu should move their information off before Dec. 31.
Mike Lohrbach, director of enterprise services and customer success for information technology services (ITS), said IT staff worked over the last several years to move departmental sites off the www.public.iastate.edu service and contacted people actively using the system. However, hundreds of websites remain. Many likely are abandoned or inactive, but IT staff want to make sure users transfer information they wish to keep.
"We don't have an exact number of people using the service," Lohrbach said. "People could have an active website out there, but they just haven't updated it."
Why the change?
The old "public" website service dates back to 1993. Many of ISU's first websites were hosted on it -- those paying attention may remember a tilde (~) in those URLs. As websites moved to other systems and formats, the public service slowly phased out of use. Lohrbach said an expiration date is needed in light of today's technology.
"It's been around forever and is outdated," he said. "There are much better solutions available today."
Alternatives for academic and faculty sites
Lohrbach said information can be moved to other services that offer functions provided by www.public.iastate.edu, including a new service that launched last fall for faculty webpages. Single-page and multiple-page faculty websites can be created on www.sites.iastate.edu.
The "sites" web service page design matches the university's web theme, meets digital accessibility requirements and is responsive for large and small display formats. John VanDyk, senior systems analyst, said improvements and updates to the sites web service will be continuously added.
"In early spring, we will add a third option with a turnkey website for faculty with busy research labs," he said.
Lohrbach offered these guidelines for moving information off www.public.iastate.edu pages:
- Faculty pages should be moved to www.sites.iastate.edu (personal and non-ISU websites are not allowed, as stated in ISU's acceptable use policy)
- Course tools and materials should be moved to the Canvas learning management system
- All other academic information should be moved to departmental websites
In addition, ITS' web development unit offers free space for web development coursework.
Lohrbach said websites and information on the public service will not be transferred automatically to the sites service. An online tutorial provides step-by-step instructions for creating and editing a site on the service. ITS' solution center can help with additional questions. Feedback can be submitted by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or online.