Christmas and New Year break

The college is closing down tomorrow for the holidays so we won’t be around until January 2010.

However……please continue to sign up for the email newsletter and to fill in the form to become a volunteer with Jainpedia over the holiday period.

Bea has created a quick process for you to complete if you’re interested in receiving a regular email newsletter and a short form you need to fill in if you want to express your interest in volunteering on the Jainpedia project. There’s scope to get involved in many different areas of the wider project as a volunteer, ranging from acting as a guide in exhibitions and going into schools to discuss Jainism with teachers and pupils to helping out behind the scenes with organising and running events or contributing to the website.

Both these forms are available on the right-hand side of the blog home page.

We’ll resume working on Jainpedia in two weeks’ time but for now I thought I’d fill you in on what we’ve been doing since the most recent blogs.

Design and functionality finalised

One of the main areas we’ve concentrated on has been finalising the designs and the functionality of the website. Functionality means what functions the website will have in various areas and pages and how it will work. For example, is it better to scroll up and down so you can read long articles or to see different pages one by one? Web users have different preferences and we’ve also considered usability, branding and design coherence, integrated functionality, consistency, legal requirements and accessibility.

Usability is a relatively new field of work, which essentially tries to improve how easy, efficient and satisfactory to use something is. Accessibility more or less means creating a digital product that is easy it is for everyone to use, including people who have a disability and users who do not use the latest computer to access high-speed internet facilities.

All of us on the web team have solid experience of usability and accessibility issues and we’ll be carrying out user testing later in the process to check our decisions are on the right lines and to guide the fine-tuning.

Web content production

Another area of work we’ve been continuing with is the production of content, in the form of articles, translations, transcriptions and descriptions of the manuscripts, and of the other material websites need. As you might imagine, this involves a substantial amount of planning, research, writing and editing. It’s a big job but we’ll get there in the end!

We are currently waiting to receive the digitised manuscripts from the Bodleian Library so I’ll let you know when they arrive, which I hope will be early in the new year.

Exhibition plans

Other members of the wider Jainpedia team have been finalising the exhibition proposals for the V&A and the British Library. We are all very excited by the plans for these ambitious exhibitions and associated events, and doubtless Rajiv will be telling you more in good time.

India trip

Finally, I’d just like to mention that Paul made a flying trip to Mumbai in October to give a talk on the Jainpedia project courtesy of the IOJ. He spoke for about 40 minutes to thousands of people, which was very nerve racking! I hear it went well, however, and the audience was very interested in and enthused by the slides he showed them.

Last but not least

Until January then, I’d like to thank you for your interest in the project and to ask you to return here for more news as we enter 2010 and approach the launch of Jainpedia.

And I’d like to end for now by wishing you a safe and happy break with your loved ones in the snow!

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