I used to track such things through my wiki, but I was finding it too difficult to add new items. I’d developed a form-based approach for it; the notion being that by structuring the information a little, I could control rendering better and also allow for some mining of the data (in the distant future). However, I found that I wasn’t getting many hits on that site, perhaps because it wasn’t easily accessible unless you knew what to look for. Whatever, the reason, it didn’t seem to be worth the trouble of transcribing information from the highly variable and unstructured emails that I receive regularly and that announce design calls. I still want to track this, but I needed something that didn’t require as much effort on my part.
I googled around for a while, looking to see if some reasonable facility already existed. I didn’t find much. But I did stumble upon a blog that was used to announce conferences on some other topic. And then the penny dropped.
I could just cut and paste from emails I received directly into a blog post. The blog would maintain a historical trace of the announcements. Its RSS feed (which my wiki still doesn’t support) can inform users without using email. I could use categories and tags to easily chunk up different kinds of announcements. Currently, I use categories to distinguish between different kinds of calls, and tags to identify a major subject area covered by the specific call. This would address all my problems with my previous solution, yet provide even more functionality. And hopefully get my “productivity” up a bit.
I found it interesting that knowing that only announcements of calls would appear in the content really informed my selection of the widgets and theme I (currently) use in DesignCalls. I really like the theme (“DePo Square”) but I was worried about the amount of screen space for widgets (which is quite small). On this blog, I have all kinds of widgets in the sidebar, but I couldn’t do that with DePo Square. Still, when I thought about it, I realized that, given the nature of the entries – distinctly different from those that appear here – I really didn’t need that many widgets. I was biased towards using lots of widgets because of my experience with this blog, and recognizing it as only a bias got me out of my quandary.
There’s only one call currently in DesignCalls, but I hope I’ll be able to get more announcements faster.
If this takes off in any reasonable way, I will invite other groups to identify individuals who will be allowed to post to this blog (e.g. appropriate representatives of the Design Society and the Design Research Society).