From the Cybrarian: Software Update Summer

Believe it or not, NASW's website at https://www.nasw.org is nearing its 30th birthday. (Early snapshot: https://tinyurl.com/yfj8med2). And if you include a handful of years before that when our online presence was a forum on Compuserve ("Compuwhat?" if you're younger than GenX), then we're well into middle age.

So in early June, the ScienceWriters website underwent something like a hip replacement, although probably not as painful. The content management system underlying the site, known as Drupal to people who care about such minutiae, underwent a major upgrade, jumping all the way from the elderly version 7 to the latest version 10.

The upgrade, which was three years in the works, was required because Drupal 7 reaches its long-awaited End of Life next January. It was the first major upgrade in 10 years, although there have been two cosmetic overhauls in the meantime, most recently in 2018.

For the most part, the upgrade shouldn't be noticeable to users, except for the inevitable bug or two. (Two? In truth, we fixed five big ones in the first week.) But here are a couple of noteworthy changes:

  • Job advertisements (nasw.org/job) are now displayed as a list, rather than the modular blocks that are used elsewhere on the site. The idea was to make the ads easier to explore without all that clicking.

  • For buyers of display ads, which appear in the site's right sidebar on most pages, the system automatically collects statistics on how many times the ad is seen and clicked on.

  • Past posts from NASW's venerable discussion lists, such as NASW-Talk, are no longer archived on the website, a decision we took because diminishing traffic on the lists has rendered their archives far less useful than they used to be. Future archeologists will be happy to hear that we are still keeping archives outside the website.

Migrating content from Drupal 7 to 10 was a major thrash, and while we checked things once or twice or three times, we hope you'll take a few minutes to log in and make sure your personal data survived the transition.

Just use the "sign in" button at the top right of www.nasw.org, then (after signing in) use the link on your username at the top right of any page to go to your user profile. You'll see a series of tabs. Check each of them and make any changes you want, and don't forget to use the "save" button at the bottom of each page.

Comments/questions/brickbats? Send them to cybrarian@nasw.org.


Russell Clemings is the longtime "cybrarian" for the National Association of Science Writers. Send questions on email and other NASW digital services to Russ at cybrarian@nasw.org

Founded in 1934 with a mission to fight for the free flow of science news, NASW is an organization of ~2,400 professional journalists, authors, editors, producers, public information officers, students and people who write and produce material intended to inform the public about science, health, engineering, and technology. To learn more, visit www.nasw.org and follow NASW on LinkedIn and Bluesky. And join us in celebrating #NASW90th.

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