Church News - Archival? Gospel Library?

Discussions around miscellaneous technologies and projects for the general membership.
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greenwoodkl
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Church News - Archival? Gospel Library?

Postby greenwoodkl » Fri Feb 09, 2007 11:27 pm

I don't know if this is appropriate for the forum, but I feel its a little more complicated than a feedback response on LDS.org and I wanted to hear ideas about this.

I feel the Church News is a pseudo-official Church publication and is a great source of news, articles, etc... I realize that it is a publication and service of the Deseret Morning News and therefore they have rights to restrict access to the publication and distribution.

However, I'd like to see the web availability of this publication become better and a partnership explored.

Since becoming a student in Utah, I've wanted to have a Church News only subscription but it is required to come with the Deseret News in the subscription area. I find their website deplorably out-of-date and it inspires no confidence in me to signup for their web access plan. When I have had a Deseret News subscription, there is no clear way to logout of the CN site, update the account profile, etc... Even their main news site is more effective than the Church News site which hasn't looked like it's been updated in 6+ years since I first visited the site.

I'd like to see an agreement made between Deseret News and the Church to integrate Church News archives into the Gospel Library or some similar site for all issues 5-10 years old and older (based upon business agreement to the economical value for Deseret News). Then some of the awesome web designers from the Church or similar people help upgrade the existing CN site or work on a new site to allow access to recent and current issues. Perhaps utilize the Church system or an extension to host the Church News and require a Deseret News subscription for newer issues on a rotating basis. (1997 issues available for free after 2007) Some Church events and speeches by Church leaders have only been available from the Church News and not other Church magazines.

Thoughts?

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ajames
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You took the words out of my mouth...

Postby ajames » Sat Feb 10, 2007 12:39 am

I cannot agree more with KGThunder on the Church News. Just earlier today I wanted to find information that I knew was in the CN, but when I googled it, searched several online databases I know (including lds.org) I could not find the information I needed without a membership for the CN (being that I too am a student in Provo, and don't have a desire to read two newspapers in the morning).

While I understand the need to protect the interests of the Deseret News, I can't help but feel that at the very least, any non-proprietary information (i.e. information supplied directly from the Church) should somehow be available to the general membership without having to subscribe to the Deseret News.

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cottrells
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On-Line Church Almanac

Postby cottrells » Sat Feb 10, 2007 2:22 am

I've been a subscriber to the web-edition of the Church News since it was first offered. The site looks pretty much the same today as it did when it first started (although they have updated their masthead graphic just recently). The content of the site is usually free to view for a couple of weeks around General Conference time.

The on-line archives go back to 1988 and I have found the site to be very useful. It is basic but still functional. It would be nice to see articles/reports on speakers linked in some way to the original content. Maybe it would be possible to include results from CN appear in LDS.org searches with a note to say the content is only for subscribers?

As a weekly publication I'm not sure if an RSS feed would be high on my list of priorities, but that is another suggestion. Top of my list would be an web version of the Church Almanac. I have them all going back a number of years but it would be wonderful to be able to search these on-line.

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WelchTC
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Postby WelchTC » Sat Feb 10, 2007 5:44 am

kgthunder wrote:I don't know if this is appropriate for the forum, but I feel its a little more complicated than a feedback response on LDS.org and I wanted to hear ideas about this.

You are right....this is not appropriate for these forums. ;)

The reason is that these forums are reserved for technical discussions about technical issues. Also I'm fairly confident that your complaints will not be seen by anyone who would have the ability to change this.

Thanks for your cooperation.

Tom

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greenwoodkl
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Postby greenwoodkl » Sat Feb 10, 2007 8:15 am

I suppose I felt that the complaint portion of my post was inappropriate, but I feel that the idea to integrate the Church News into the Gospel Library or come up with a partnership between the websites of the Church and the Church News was a technical idea of integration to improve the content available for the users of the Church websites.

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ShellineSE
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Postby ShellineSE » Mon Feb 12, 2007 8:40 am

As the architect/developer of the original ldschurchnews.com site (and it pains me greatly to see that little has been done to update it), I can tell you that the issues around integrating Church News content with the Gospel Library would not be technical. Anything that undermines the economic value of the Church News to the Deseret News, however, is unllikely to gain much traction among the decisionmakers.

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greenwoodkl
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Postby greenwoodkl » Mon Feb 12, 2007 8:49 am

shellinese, thanks for your comments. As I mentioned earlier:
I'd like to see an agreement made between Deseret News and the Church to integrate Church News archives into the Gospel Library or some similar site for all issues 5-10 years old and older (based upon business agreement to the economical value for Deseret News).
I don't know how much economical value the Deseret News gains from their archives vs. current issues. But if there is a point in the past (statistically) at which archives cease to provide economic value (i.e. most users only search the last 3 years?) then anything older could be provided through the Gospel Library.

I suppose my idealistic situation would be the Church News available on the LDS.org Gospel Library. All issues could be searchable. Those issues old enough to not provide the same economic value to the Deseret News could be free while newer issues could require a current login to access. Whether such a portal would be best served from the Church side or the Deseret News side, I'm not sure. However, I would prefer the LDS.org interface to the current CN interface - no offense shellinese ;) - which is outdated by today's web standards.

I feel that if an integration were arranged, it could bring economic value to the Deseret News. While those of us in Utah or with strong Church ties may well be aware of the fact that the Deseret News provides the Church News, many LDS.org users may not. In an integrated platform, finding the need to use a login screen for current issues could bring more business to the Deseret News. As it would be nice to allow such users to register on the spot, perhaps a joint effort off of the main LDS.org page would be best to avoid any potential issues of non-profit vs. for profit aspects of the Church on the Web.

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ShellineSE
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Postby ShellineSE » Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:12 am

The economic argument for making the older archives available for free runs counter to current thinking about "long-tail" content, at least from the DN's perspective. And the user experience of being randomly (to the user) presented with a login screen to access some content would be confusing.

That said, I agree that Church News content deserves greater exposure than it currently gets. Perhaps there is greater interest now for that than there was seven years ago.

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Postby greenwoodkl » Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:18 am

Perhaps the content prior to the current 1988 cutoff for the archives back to the early days in the Salt Lake Valley could be provided in the Gospel Library or another archival portal. This could be a project for some group at BYU since I imagine the content is not currently digitized. This could be a "beta" for the interest in the Church News content though it is not current, it is still of value historically and would not crop on the current market of the Deseret News.

An afterthought - This could also be something of interest to the Family and Church History Department and if not integrated into the Gospel Library, perhaps a database from the Church History site.


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