Winnowing the Chaff: Designing and Building a Grain Milling and Processing Web Library
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Zhou, Yongli; Farmer, Diana; Ramaswamy, Mohan
Kansas State University (K-State) offers a unique curriculum in the milling, baking and industrial (i.e. nontraditional) utilization of grain products. The program targets a diverse audience from academics to amateur bakers to industry professionals to researchers looking at non-traditional fuel and other uses of grains. The range in the audience reflects the multidisciplinary subject areas, ranging from basic sciences (chemistry, biochemistry, food science), applied sciences (baking, milling), engineering (chemical, industrial), business, economics and so on. Given the possible subjects and the variety of audiences, information available on the Internet is widely dispersed and often difficult to find. Our desire to provide organized access to the above information received additional impetus from the AgNIC Alliance and the request that K-State develop a site for Grain Milling and Processing. An initial design was developed based on meetings and feedback with faculty in the Grain Science and Industry Department. Subject categories and subcategories were identified and templates for the initial static pages designed. Given the interdisciplinarity of the subjects, it became clear that selected sites could and would appear on several subject pages. Rather than try to update links on multiple pages individually, we investigated our options and selected creating a database as the best solution. Design of the database led to more standardization of page organization and data elements. The database may be used to generate static or dynamic web pages. A selected site is entered only once, but can be profiled for as many pages as needed. Currently the database provides static pages that are updated monthly. Real time dynamic update of the web pages is in development. We are also developing a search interface for users who do not want to scroll the pages individually for sites of interest. This presentation will discuss many of the issues we encountered issues regarding standards, technology, web usability, selection and display of content, and campus politics.
Web sites; Databases