As the World Wide Web grows, so do the tools publishers can use to create dynamic Web pages. Jennifer Pattison Rumford reviewed some of the software available for creation of HTML documents for Web publication. She mentioned Hot Dog, HoTMetaL, WebEdit, PageMill, and FrontPage, among others, as software packages that automate the process but noted that the greatest amount of control is afforded to those who themselves write HTML code into their documents.
Rumford demonstrated table making in FrontPage, including its cell-padding feature. She said it is important in table making to work in percentages so the size of a table goes up and down with the size of the viewer's monitor. She demonstrated how one can copy tables or other parts of HTML documents by downloading the source with a Web browser, then pasting that code and data into a new document.
Rumford also discussed the use of frame architecture in Web pages, noting that Netscape Navigator 1.5 and newer browsers are frame compatible. She pointed out that Web publishers can use frames for tables of contents linked to various pages within Web sites and said frame creation is easy in FrontPage Editor. She showed how the AESE home page, which uses frames, is built in HTML code.
Sample files and instructions are available at this site:
Marla Adkins-Heljeson discussed what she and her colleagues at the Kansas Geological Survey have decided to publish on the Web and why. The Kansas Geological Survey went online in January 1995. Later that year, it was determined that the site needed more organization and direction, so one staff member was devoted primarily to Web publication. Emphasis was placed on determining the needs of the audience, which includes lay citizens and schoolchildren as well as earth-science professionals.
Adkins-Heljeson said staff members were polled about what they thought should be published on the Web. One of the results was publication of a database on oil and gas production data and water levels. Previously, the only way for people to gain access to these records was to visit the Survey office and sift through them. Another result was the publication of a bibliography of Kansas geology, updated more regularly than its printed counterpart. The site includes links to related sites. Educational materials are available on the site; public information circulars are available on line.
Adkins-Heljeson said a high priority is placed on making the site user friendly. Users can select from lists, click on maps, and fill out forms. A document providing answers to frequently asked questions is planned. Adkins-Heljeson recommended limiting a home page's opening graphics to 50 K so as not to slow delivery and dissuade users from exploring the site. She also recommended using standard HTML and putting the e-mail address of the site administrator on each page. The URL of the Kansas Geological Survey site is http://www.kgs.ukans.edu.
As the WWW matures, sites are becoming more than mere electronic repositories for publications that exist in print. Jennifer L. Bates described the 2-year evolution of the WWW site of the Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic) along these lines. Initially, text on the site was the same as in printed brochures, she said. Then came recognition that the Web is a different medium, "not just another way to produce a book or a map," she said. Through a grassroots initiative involving staff and students, the site was transformed into a more interactive medium. One giant step forward was to give users with passwords access to searchable databases.
Users of the GSC Atlantic site also can view selected open files, order published products, examine current posters, read newsletters, find contacts, check conference schedules, and submit questions. Some education resources are on line, including Geology in the Classroom. While extending its reach worldwide through its Web site, GSC Atlantic wants to develop its site for more internal uses.
She offered several suggestions to Web publishers: (1) Security: make sure you have a firewall that protects your data from vandalism; (2) Marketing: find some way to let people know where you are. Encourage bookmarking and reciprocal links with related sites, and publish your URL on printed materials and CDs. "Our sales increased by 50% after we went on line," Bates said; and (3) Staffing: hire students. They are young, offer fresh perspectives, and are comfortable with the medium.
The URL for the GSC Atlantic site is http://agcwww.bio.ns.ca
Elsa Kapitan-White described the way Schlumberger Oilfield Marketing Services is using multiple Internet and intranet sites to provide fast, broad access to information about the company's products and services.
The URL for the World Wide Web site is http://www.slb.com. This site is used as an outlet to the general public, for recruiting, and for investor relations. A restricted-access client site allows clients to gain access to some company information. It is available at ( http://www.connect.slb.com ). It is password-protected and allows Schlumberger to customize the site for each user. Quality and consistency of materials published online is ensured through review by Schlumberger Oilfield Marketing Services. Printed matter redistributed on the Web is published with a white background rather than a gray background so it will approximate the printed version more closely.
Tables are used on Schlumberger sites, but frames are not. Links are provided at the top of homepages for all of the major headings under them. Within papers published online, icons linking text to figures are placed at figure callouts. Kapitan-White shared the following observation: "Links are the most important new punctuation introduced in the last 100 years." She said that next year the site will offer methods for easy data transfer, project tracking systems and databases, nonexclusive seismic maps, and animated training modules.
Schlumberger Oilfield intranet homepages include such features as staff directories, communications handbooks, production guidelines, downloadable files, graphics and logs, publications catalogs with e-mail ordering capabilities, archives of photographs, trade-show schedules, technical articles, field-exchange areas, and video and multimedia resources.