From the Steerage • SWET’s New Online Look

by Richard Sadowsky

In mid-2012, SWET enters a new era with a visually redesigned and enhanced website at setting the groundwork for SWET’s future development. From now on, the website will be the place to go for SWET news, articles, and information for members and others with an interest in SWET topics.

The website will continue to be based on the ExpressionEngine CMS (Content Management System) that our webmaster Sako Eaton developed and maintained over the last decade. As Sako steps down, I would like to acknowledge the huge debt of gratitude we owe him for his achievements in creating and maintaining a robust site. The Steering Committee agreed to commission SWET’s site redesign to professional website designer Jade Michael Carter, formerly a Nagoya-area resident and president of Vancouver-based Resourcecode Media.

One of the many features of the redesign will be an online directory that will make it easy for potential clients to find SWET members by their professional skills. In due course, we intend to extend the directory functionality from a contact form to a personal page that allows each member to maintain an online presence through SWET. From the outset, the renewed site incorporates a job board that is open to all for posting jobs, and open only to SWET members for viewing.

Under the initial redesign, two sections—“Columns” and “Professional Resources”—will give visitors and members access to SWET’s expertise, both archival (from past SWET Newsletters) and ongoing as new articles are published. A front-page blog format aims to add value to this information through judicious curating that calls attention to SWET’s hidden treasures. The site will facilitate a more timely publishing of write-ups, topical articles, and other volunteer contributions.

Some possible future uses of the website include posting recordings or videos of talks, hosting an interactive “Ask the Experts” section to give exposure to Japanese-English language issues, and publishing online updates of SWET’s valuable print-only Japan Style Sheet. Long-term uses for the SWET site could include client education—pointers on language conventions for English publishing endeavors related to Japan—or professional self-training tools for wordsmiths.

The website is also linked to a SWET Facebook Page, which we will keep updated with input from members. The SWET Newsletter in its recent form ceases printed publication with No. 130, May 2012. The information SWET publishes for the benefit of its members from now on will be available online, and members can sign up to receive notices of new items as they are published. Such new items include upcoming events, book reviews, pointers to timely information or relevant blog posts, short event reports, and notices of other site updates. Longer articles will be published regularly as professional resources, and we will look into the possibility of publishing annual anthologies in some form, perhaps ebook or print. As we digitize past issues of the SWET Newsletter, we will also build in full keyword-search access as a perk of membership.

All of these projects, aimed at sharing SWET’s expertise and experience—the SWET “brand”—will involve many small steps and depend on the help of volunteers. Examples of small tasks include tagging articles for searching, creating hyperlinks in articles that need to be spruced up for the Web, scanning (using OCR software) and proofreading earlier newsletter articles, or guest-writing blog posts to bring attention to items of interest to colleagues in one's field.

The launch of the redesigned SWET website will create the opportunity for more dynamic online interaction among members and other professionals, one that we hope will trigger more active involvement of members in the activities of the Society. We are excited about developing new sections that will promote mutual education, and wish to take advantage of the latent talent within SWET. Please contribute in some small (or big) way. All efforts—technical, clerical, creative—to enhance the website will be valuable and beneficial. We would like to thank everyone who has helped out so far, even by renewing your membership early, and look forward to your continued contribution.

Originally published in the SWET Newsletter, No. 130, May 2012.