The 2009 site revision

I’ve star­ted to con­sol­id­ate vari­ous web pres­ences into one Me Portal as Kimberly Alderman called it. It means mov­ing from WordPress​.com because in the end a hos­ted solu­tion isn’t flex­ible enough. I’d still highly recom­mend WordPress​.com, espe­cially as a site for new blog­gers. Still the little things, like spend­ing an after­noon writ­ing a script to import links, start to annoy. Now Postalicious will read what I’ve marked with a ‘share’ on Google Reader and you can read the latest shares on the home page.

Changes and Upgrades

The entries now fall into six cat­egor­ies: The Past, Science, Politics, Digital Academia and Life. The sixth cat­egory, for those who can count, is Featured. That’s the easy way of stick­ing stor­ies into rota­tion on the front page.

The reason for doing that is that it should work bet­ter for vari­ous aggreg­at­ors. Maia Atlantides doesn’t need to know about a photo of a cute kit­ten that I’ve seen, so I can provide a Past feed which only sends the rel­ev­ant stuff. Likewise I’ve been think­ing for a which of adding this site to an Atheism aggreg­ator, but a lot of what I write wouldn’t really be rel­ev­ant for that either. Now I have a Politics feed. I could have called it Philosophy, but I’m wary of people in the human­it­ies who call them­selves philo­soph­ers without any basic ground­ing in the sub­ject. Even if it is philo­sophy, they also tend to be posts about the art of liv­ing with people so it’s also polit­ics with a small p. I’ll prob­ably change the Digital Academia name when I can work out what a com­bin­a­tion of Lifehacking / Education / General inter­net­ness should be called.

It’s still pos­sible to track Ancient History, Archaeology and Archaeoastronomy entries via the tag pages, and now the site is off WordPress​.com the tag pages are a lot more usable,

Lots of image and video links are broken. I’ll try and fix them as and when I can. On the plus side I’m hop­ing that adding video and audio will have become a lot easier.

I’m using Postalicious to handle blog posts based on what I’ve been read­ing. Sociable for book­mark­lets at the bot­tom of posts. WP-Touch makes the site a lot more mobile friendly.


I’ve changed the com­ment sys­tem to be oper­ated by Disqus. It should oper­ate more or less as it did before. You can leave a com­ment by leav­ing a name and an email address. The email address won’t be made pub­lic. However, there’s cer­tain extra things you can do, You can sign in with your Twitter account, your Facebook account or Open ID if you prefer. You can also sign up with a Disqus account and aggreg­ate all your com­ments. If Disqus and Intense Debate could talk to each other and agree a com­mon stand­ard then you’d be able to effect­ively blog like Statler or Waldorf, gath­er­ing together all your com­ments on other posts. If it takes off then adding a sys­tem like this could add more value for the com­ment­at­ors on the blog. I say if as it hasn’t yet. I’d expec­ted Automattic to make more of their acquis­i­tion of Intense Debate by rolling it out on WordPress​.com.


I can now expand the site in some dir­ec­tions. I’m hold­ing off adding a forum for now. I’m not sure there’d be a lot of point, though I’m sure it would add a lot of hassle mod­er­at­ing it. I used to play with Pligg, but I don’t think another Past-themed ver­sion of that is neces­sary. Maia Atlantides does a good enough job aggreg­at­ing posts. On the other hand there’s plenty I can add.

There’ll be a pho­tob­log sooner or later. Probably show­ing 700px or 800px wide images on a black back­ground. Text looks bet­ter on white, but pho­tos tend to work bet­ter with a darker back­ground. WordPress simply isn’t a suit­able engine for ser­i­ous pho­tob­log­ging at the moment.

I also want to get to grips with Wikindx. For me it’s a word pro­cessor with built in bib­li­o­graphic tools. For every­one else it’ll be a way of fol­low­ing my bib­li­o­graphy. I’d like to work out what to do with CiteULike as well, but at the moment it simply doesn’t it in with how I work. I sus­pect if more people I knew were using CiteULike it would get more useful.

I’ll also be able to set up short urls for sup­port for con­fer­ence talks. For instance I could set up a site ca2010​.alun​salt​.com to sup­port a talk given at the Classical Association con­fer­ence next year. I’m not plan­ning to go there, so it’s a bit of a waste for now, but the prin­ciple is sound. To an extent this is a bit of pol­ish for my online pres­ence before the next round of job hunt­ing, but it’s more about mak­ing my life easier by gath­er­ing together vari­ous webby things into one toolbox.

Oh and the ‘fol­low me’ tag at the right of the page? Stolen from Civil War Memory. Basically if it’s not nailed down and I like it, I’ll take it. And I’m still on hiatus as far as I’m concerned. 😉


When he's not tired, fixing his car or caught in train delays, Alun Salt works part-time for the Annals of Botany weblog. His PhD was in ancient science at the University of Leicester, but he doesn't know Richard III.

5 Responses

  1. You’re a genius! I hope to learn how to do some of this stuff one day

  2. alun says:

    Thank you, but most of this is simply put­ting together vari­ous RSS feeds and adding CSS styles over the top of them. As use of things like CiteULike picks up sites like this will become more common.

  3. (sorry, I just real­ised I am com­ment­ing on an old­ish post — I am well behind with catch­ing up on my blog/journal subscriptions)

    What a great bunch of ideas! I have found citeu­like a little lim­ited due to the lack of people in my field/subject area who use it and also in term over­all site layout/look. I like the com­munity feel of Zotero, the citation/bibliographic funtions, it’s use of COinS and I also find it a little easier to use. It does lack many of the fea­tures of citeu­like how­ever the cur­rent beta looks prom­ising and I’m about to start using the shar­ing func­tion on a couple of small projects.

    I do recall read­ing a couple of tweets you wrote when you were trans­fer­ring to a self-hosted WP install, did it give you any prob­lems to be wary of?

    The new com­ment­ing sys­tem is also nice. Well done, it looks great overall!

  4. alun says:

    There’s a couple of things to look for. One is that internal links will point to your old site rather than the new site. That can be fixed with a Find and Replace on the export file.

    The other is that import­ing can be lim­ited to files of a cer­tain size. If the file is too big you’ll need to chop it up into sep­ar­ate .wxr files with a text editor. Apart from that, it went fairly smoothly.

    I’ve also settled on Zotero rather than Wikindx in the end. I’m using Zotero integ­ra­tion with Open Office.

  1. August 11, 2009

    […] WIKINDX, a con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem spe­cific­ally designed with bib­li­o­graph­ies in mind. (Thanks to Alun for the tip!) It was pretty easy to set up; most of the work I did was play­ing around with the […]