Chebucto Community Net
Annual Report of the Editor-in-Chief

The unrelenting pace of development of the Chebucto Community Net certainly manifested itself in the sphere of the Editors as well! It was a busy year all round, with the Editors tackling many initiatives, making significant progress on a number of fronts -- and yet still finding that there was much more to be done!

A quick summary of the projects that we undertook:

1) Editorial Policy

Probably the most important achievement of the year was the formulation and adoption of a formal Editorial Policy which serves as a guide and compilation of Editorial responsibilities and positions. This establishes a formal underpinning for the work of the Editors and makes clear to interested parties what it is that we do. This document underwent considerable evolution and revision as a result of the valuable input of many CCN members and was formally adopted by the Board of Directors. I thank everyone involved for their assistance.

2) Functional User Interface

A significant achievement this past year was determining what functionality we would like to have represented on CCN IP pages. After sorting through a number of options (Up & URL Stats were eliminated, etc.) we settled on the current CCN Standard Button Bar with its functions of Find, Recent, Contacts, Home & Web. Once this, and its coding, was adopted, we moved to implement this button bar across all CCN IP Pages in all directories

3) Graphic User Interface

We also determined that the CCN IP pages needed a major facelift in terms of their interface as seen through graphical browsers. In theses days of graphic intensive uses of the World Wide Web, we wanted to bring our pages up to at least a minimal level of visual literacy. With this in mind we developed icons & graphics for:

  1. The CCN Standard Button Bar
  2. Headers for 2nd & 3rd pages
  3. Icons to tag & distinguish CCN Information Providers
  4. Background Pattern
All these required some development and testing. Once they were debugged we moved to implement them in a consistent fashion across all CCN IP pages.

Both these initiatives (as well as standardizing various aspects of coding and layout of CCN documents) have given CCN IP pages a technical, functional and visual coherence which was previously lacking and have significantly improved the visual appearance of our pages.

4) Information Providers Database

With the Information Providers Database developed by the Technical Committee we were in a position to undertake several important initiatives with respect to the management of IPs (in addition to assisting with debugging the functionality of the IP Database itself):

  1. Deleting Erroneous, Outdated, Inapplicable, etc. Applications from the IP Database.

    In excess of 50 of such were removed.

  2. Information Providers with no IP Agreement.

    Examination of the IPDB showed 8 IPs which had slipped through our administrative cracks and for which there were no IP Agreements in place. I am happy to report that we now have IP Agreements for all of these.

  3. Old Applications

    Examination of the IPDB showed some 56 old Applications gathering electronic 'dust'. Inquires into these have 'reactivated' some 22 of these while 34 were consigned to the archives.

  4. Static IPs

    In the early days of the CFN, information about various organizations was installed on our server, without, however, any IP structure or person administering such. Many of these so-called 'static' IPs were hopelessly out of date or represented vanished organizations, or organizations that had developed their own websites elsewhere. Of the original 18 static IPs, 15 have been resolved in various ways (4 have become full-fledged CCN IPs!) leaving only 3 remaining, which have all expressed interest in evolving to be full CCN IPs.

  5. Other Problem Areas

    As a result of working with the IP Database we have identified a couple of additional problem areas [Dormant IPs - with no apparent activity; Orphaned IPs - in which there is no longer any Editor to administer the information] for which we have developed proposals which would allow us to better monitor these problem areas. These have been submitted to the Technical Committee for implementation in the future.

5) Group Editor

Another extremely valuable tool which has emerged from the Technical Committee during the past year is the Group Editor. This has given the Editors a much enhanced ability for dealing with membership of CCN edit groups. A considerable effort was devoted over the latter half of this year to debugging this tool, which now appears to be fully operational.

6) Editor's Website

In order to better document the many facets of responsibilities of CCN Editors, and to have central repository of information pertaining to tasks which they must carry out, the Editor-in-Chief has created an Editors' Website which:

  1. Documents Editorial Policy and Editorial Process;
  2. Includes a Canonical CCN Document Template;
  3. Has documentation of both the IP Database and the Group Editor;
  4. Contains copies or links to the IP Agreement and the IP Response Letter;
  5. Has a listing of current members of the Editorial Collective, etc.
This website, in addition to being a valuable reference for many aspects of Editorial work, is also a useful tool for the training of potential new Editors and is a template which has been exported and replicated in Réseau communautaire Chebucto and CSuite.

7) Information Provider Response Letter

In consultation with IP Training we clarified, revised and installed a comprehensive Response Letter to IP Applications which explains in detail the IP process and reflects the concerns of both the Editors and IP Training. The is automatically mailed to all IP Applicants.

8) Monitoring IP Websites

An ongoing process has been to monitor IP websites, and where necessary provide feedback to help keep the technical level of the sites high and to encourage IPs to comply with CCN requirements viz-a-viz credit and home page links and also CCN suggestions viz-a-viz the use of the CCN Standard Button Bar. This has been done both via mail-outs to all IP Editors as well as on an individual case-by-case basis. This effort has borne some fruit, but further work is required.

9) Assisting in IP Applications

Again, on an ongoing basis, CCN Editors continue to assist IP Editors in many aspects of the IP Process. There is a concerted effort not to let any applications fall through the cracks in terms of our attention and to respond to queries/problems in as timely fashion as is possible. In this regard I have been moving to increase our Editorial Collective so that even in the event of absence, illness or preoccupation, we always have people who are in a position to respond to concerns.

10) New Members of the Editorial Collective

Over the past year it has been my pleasure to welcome a number of new members to the Editorial Collective. We have considerably enlarged our base, bringing more hands to the task and an expanded set of collective wisdom to draw on.

Joining us this year were:

We have also said good-bye to Sharon MacDonald and Wayne Groszko who have left to follow other pursuits.

I'm sure you'll join me in expressing my heartfelt appreciation to all of these fine volunteers!

11) Looking Ahead

Lots of tasks lie in wait for the next year. Some of the above are ongoing; in the case of others there is still scope for improvement or sundry loose ends to be tied up.

Tasks at hand involve:

  1. A much needed reform (with the Technical Committee) of the structure of our edit groups (we have a hodgepodge of overlapping groups with inconsistent jurisdictions & nomenclature);

  2. Expanding our efforts in terms of fundraising viz-a-viz our Information Providers;

  3. Reaching out more effectively to potential IP Organizations

  4. Further expanding our editorial base to bring in new editors into neglected areas. There are still sectors of the CCN Pages which are desperately torpid through inattention (if you'll permit me a florid phrase). We need to awaken these and bring them up to speed with other areas.

  5. Undertaking new responsibilities and tasks (with ccn-tech) viz-a-viz new CCN initiatives such as Réseau communautaire Chebucto and the Custom Login Page currently under development. These provide new opportunities for us to deliver new services and expand the CCN constituency.

  6. Developing and Implementing new areas of functionality that we are currently deficit in and continuing to improve and reform the contents of our CCN pages and they way in which they work.

  7. A key area, in my view, is revitalizing the Volunteer Process. If we are ever to clamber off the carousel of having too few people doing too many things, we need to better harness our potential base of volunteers. Many hands make light work and we constantly need to lighten the load.

My personal thanks go to all the people who have so generously helped me in my work, have patiently endured my never-ending questions, suggestions and badgering and have contributed to the effort of making our part of the CCN be the best it possibly can be.

Christopher Majka