The information technology component of NCPTT has four primary responsibilities in its support of the mission of the National Center. Those responsibilities are information management of grants and projects, the NCPTT website, in-office computer systems, and publication distribution.
NCPTT’s in-house PTT grants system has completed the application and selection cycle. New streamlined pre-proposal and full proposal forms were developed and both received very positive feedback from grant applicants, particularly the formatting options and budget grids. A new internal reporting tool was developed to help program managers track pre-proposals and proposals. The system continues to evolve based on the recommendations of grant applicants and NCPTT staff.
The NCPTT website serves as a primary communications tool for establishing NCPTT as an authority on preservation technology and promoting preservation technology research and training. Web development efforts are being geared toward promoting in-house training, both face-to-face and via training videos, and research products developed primarily from the PTT/Grants program.
NCPTT has streamlined the internal content review process and has chosen a content management system to provide program managers and other staff the ability to directly publish and update content on the website. This system will provide a mechanism for syndicating products, news, training, and other site content via RSS (really simple syndication). The system is being populated with content during the spring of 2008 and will go live once training has been completed by the end of the summer.
To improve the website search tool, NCPTT will discontinue use of the Karmasoft search engine, which is based on Microsoft’s server indexing technology, and replace it with a web search service provided by Google. Development of this tool is underway and expected to be complete this spring.
Website Statistics Oct. 1, 2007-March 19, 2008
NCPTT discovered errors with an internally developed tool to track website statistics. Though based on server log files, this tool did not accurately capture page views and its use has been discontinued. In its place NCPTT now uses a third party utility called WebLog Expert to analyze server log files.
|Dates||Visitors||Unique Visitors||Page Views|
*FY 2005 – June 7, 2005-Sept. 30, 2005. NCPTT changed servers and launched the first re-design on June 7, 2005. Log files from the old server were not available for analysis.
**FY 2008 – Oct. 1, 2007-March 30, 2008.
***Unique visitors are based on unique IP addresses in that specific year. Unique visitors for the entire period are therefore not equal to the sum of these numbers.
A visitor is a client who views the website within a single session. For example, one person viewing the site once per week for five weeks would count as five visitors.
A unique visitor is a single client regardless of how many times that client visits the website. This metric is based on IP Addresses. Each computer on the internet has either a temporary or permanent address assigned to it in order to send and receive information.
A page view is a single request for a web page sent by a visitor’s computer. A single page view can result in multiple hits (e.g. multiple images and other elements on a web page).
A hit is a request for a file sent by a visitor’s computer, which is appropriate for tracking file downloads but not for tracking pages viewed.
2005-2008 Website Statistics by Month
|June 2005||15,321||50,004||Launched Redesign Alpha|
|Sept. 2005||22,110||359,643||Hurricane Katrina|
|April 2007||42,393||285,389||Launched Redesign Beta|
Activity by Month – Visitors to the website by month. Activity rose sharply at the beginning of FY2006, peaking between April and September of 2006.
Since the June 2005 redesign, NCPTT has served nearly 24 million pages to over 200,000 unique visitors. After the June 2005 design was launched, traffic increased steadily as search engines indexed the NCPTT website and steadily increased with the addition of updates to the Hurricane Preservation Technical Assistance section and traffic from NPS. A redesign and additions to the product catalog, heavy traffic from Google and other search engines, training marketing, mailings of the print version of the product catalog, and traffic from referring sites combined to result in a dramatic surge in visitors during the summer of 2006 with additional spikes in 2007 during periods of traditional direct-mail marketing for training and the January 2007 TELNPS course.
Over the last calendar year, page views and overall visitors have decreased while the number of unique visitors has steadily risen. This indicates that repeat visitors may not be easily locating the information they are searching for. While new content is regularly added to the website, we are modifying the site design to improve the visibility of new content to visitors. As currently designed, the NCPTT home page showcases the latest training, news, and product catalog additions in a block-design. However, as new content is added these blocks are replaced. To provide a history of the most recent additions, we are adding feeds for general content, training, products, and news on the home page and major sections of the website. This will ensure that the most recent content remains easily accessible.
To improve efficacy of the search engine and provide better access to the high quality content on the website, NCPTT will:
- Add feeds to the homepage to focus on the latest training, products, news, and other content.
- Replace the current search engine with Google search.
- Restructure the overall website navigation.
- Redesign sections of the website to pull related information from other sections of the website. (e.g. Archeology & Collections will pull products, training, news, and other related information from other sections).
To draw in a larger viewership and convert them to regular visitors, NCPTT has developed a plan to participate in social media sites such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, discussion forums, and to build relationships with other preservation websites.
FY 2008 Most Popular Sections by Page Views (excludes home page and search)
- Product Catalog: 118,518
- News: 87,439
- Training: 52,866
- PTTBoard Reports: 52,098
- NCPTT Notes: 49,832
- Grants: 44,666
- Archeology & Collections: 33,358
- Heritage Education: 32,094
- Contact Us & Staff Pages: 21,398
- Cemetery: 20,926
FY 2008 Most Popular Print Products Downloaded
- Historic American Timber Joinery – A graphic guide (2004-08): 4,493
- Timber Framing: No. 71, March 2004 (2004-11): 2,794
- Timber Framing: No. 73, September 2004 (2004-13): 2,658
- Timber Framing: No. 67, March 2003 (2004-09): 2,507
- Nondestructive Method for Hardness Evaluation of Mortars (1999-02): 2,430
- Timber Framing: No. 69, September 2003 (2004-10): 2,284
- Manual on Conservation Methodology for Historic Buildings and Structures (1997-07): 1,583
- Standard Practice for Determining the Components of Historic Cementitious Materials (2002-20): 1,349
- Study on the Durability of Traditional and Modified Limewash Recipes: 1,335
- Classroom Testing of Model Secondary Level Historic Preservation-Based Lesson Plans (2002-04): 1,328
FY 2008 Most Popular Video Products Downloaded
- Cleaning a Stone Grave Marker (2007-01): 3,738
- Iron Fence Repair (2007-03): 3,467
- Walls of Stone: How to Build Drystone Walls and Rock Fences (1996-01): 1,262
- Building Dry Stone Retaining Walls (2002-06) : 827
- Glass and Stained Glass Conservation (1998-28): 641
- USS Arizona: Preserving a War Memorial (2004-23): 551
- Secret of Lake Meade (2004-17): 538
- Dry Tortugas: Searching for the Windjammer Avanti (2004-22): 525
- Application of Advanced Computer Simulation and Visualization to Enhance Cultural Resources Documentation (1997-06): 519
- Landscapes and Lives (1997-27): 514
2005- 2008 Most Popular Sections by Page Views (excludes home page and search)
- Product Catalog: 2,222,710
- Training: 1,209,671
- News: 1,040,283
- Jobs, Employment, Internships: 803,044
- Hurricane Recovery: 758,866
- Grants: 569,783
- Architecture & Engineering: 299,206
- Archeology & Collections: 190,317
- Heritage Education: 176,583
- Contact Us: 170,476
2005-2008 Most Popular Print Products Downloaded
- Testing the Energy Performance of Wood Windows in Cold Climates (1996-08): 27,249
- Historic Landscape Resource Manual (2000-18): 19,903
- Historic American Timber Joinery (2004-08): 13,206
- Nondestructive Method for Hardness Evaluation of Mortars (1999-02): 11,103
- Standard Practice for Determining the Components of Historic Cementitious Materials (2002-20): 10,922
- Manual on Conservation Methodology for Historic Buildings and Structures: 8,726
- Draft Code for Historic Buildings (2002-01): 8,653
- Protective Glazing Study (1996-06): 8,177
- Classroom Testing of Model Secondary Level Historic Preservation-Based Lesson Plans (2002-04): 7,592
- Timber Framing: No. 67, March 2003 (2004-09): 6,990
2005-2008 Most Popular Video Products Downloaded
- Cleaning a Stone Grave Marker (2007-01): 4,051
- Iron Fence Repair (2007-03): 3,476
- Building Dry Stone Retaining Walls (2002-06) : 3,031
- Walls of Stone: How to Build Drystone Walls and Rock Fences (1996-01): 2,775
- Culture Shock: Fire Protection for Historic and Cultural Property (1995-01): 2,354
- Preserving America’s Landscape (1996-02): 1,952
- Retaining America’s Dry Stone Heritage (2002-05): 1,913
- Secret of Lake Meade (2004-17): 1,874
- Glass and Stained Glass Conservation (1998-28): 1,409
- Dry Tortugas: Searching for the Windjammer Avanti (2004-22): 1,311
In-office Computer Systems
Utilizing current computer technologies facilitates the accomplishment of NCPTT’s mission. Information technology staffers are continually researching and updating the in-office systems to make them as efficient as possible for the staff. The National Center’s IT department faces many of the same challenges that larger IT departments face. Of particular emphasis has been security, data storage and disaster recovery. The IT staff has always strived to stay ahead of the curve in these areas but recent major events nationally and on the state level have caused the National Center’s IT staff to address these issues at greater length. The IT staff is confident that its continued diligence in these areas will continue to safeguard the National Center’s electronic data.
The Center’s IT staff has implemented new stringent log-on procedures for all workstations in the office and has updated security patches for all NCPTT servers. This spring, staff will install and configure Extensis Portfolio 8.5 in order to increase data management of NCPTT’s growing knowledge base. Portfolio is a powerful digital asset management tool that will allow users to visually organize, sort, and preview NCPTT’s complete library of digital assets.
One of the major functions of the NCPTT website is to provide a central location to search for preservation publications. In the last six months, approximately 40 publication orders were mailed to the public by NCPTT IT staff. The majority of these orders were submitted via the online product catalog, averaging three products per order.
Over the last six months, the IT staff has successfully completed the cataloging of the Center’s library. This means an addition of more than 250 items to the library database. Plans are underway to post the database via the NPS network for viewing by other offices and parks. Once the library database is available online, each Center workstation will be able to access it through the intranet. Although not a lending library, it is important to inform the preservation community of the available library resources at NCPTT.
TELNPS/ Webex Training
The Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Network is the mechanism whereby thousands of National Park Service employees receive competency-based training at or near their work site at little or no cost to them. The Network has over 230 receiving stations across the Service spanning five time zones. The highly interactive training allows students immediate access to their instructor. This interactivity is the key component to the success of broad and varied training opportunities.
From Oct. 1 through March 20, five classes were taken at NCPTT with 15 participants. Some of those participating were staff from the Cane River Creole National Historical Park and the Cane River National Heritage Area Commission and CRNHA staff. The Center’s TELNPS system received an equipment upgrade in FY2007.
The installation of the TELNPS station at NCPTT has provided Center employees and NPS employees from the surrounding area with the opportunity to gain high quality training specific to their jobs at a convenient location. The Center is excited to be a part of the NPS’s continued growth of interactive distance learning activities.
In addition to the TELNPS training, NCPTT has provided area offices with resources for Webex Training. This spring NCPTT has hosted 30 individuals participating in 8 different Webex sessions.