The importance of your internet presence
As a scientist, you may have some anecdotal evidence suggesting that having a presence on the web might be important. In fact, studies examining internet as a source for scientific information suggest that your observations are not unique. A Pew Research foundation study found that ~20% of Americans use the internet as their primary source for information about science, second only to television. Additionally, some 87% of internet users cite the internet as an important research tool. Over the coming decades, these numbers are likely to increase, as younger users report that the internet is their #1 source of science information. As scientists, we are not immune to this trend as search engines, journals, news letters, and library collections have all moved online. This prominence of the internet as a research tool also presents an opportunity for scientists. For very little cost, you can now present your work to any scientist, potential graduate or undergraduate student, granting organization, or anyone in the general public who is interested, without an intermediary. You are an expert in your field and it is important that you are seen as such in this new medium, particularly to people who are unfamiliar with your work. The internet has become an important part of our field: it’s time to take advantage of it.
That being said, it may not be enough to just have a presence on the web. The look and feel of your website will also contribute to your aura of legitimacy and the perceived importance of your research. If it makes sense for you to have a website, it makes sense for you to do it right. As a research scientist, I am experienced in communicating both my research and that of other scientists to both colleagues and the lay public. With over 10 years of experience designing websites, I know how to effectively use the web to communicate your research. Let me build an attractive and effective web presence for you.
Here are some recent examples from my portfolio of work with a few different scientists and scientific organizations. I have given a description of what each of these folks was looking for in a site and what solutions I can up with. I have also linked to each so you can check them out.
KEYS MARINE LABORATORY
The Keys Marine Laboratory is a marine research and education facility located in the center of the Florida Keys island chain. Its location is somewhat unique as it allows access to nearly all the marine habitat types in southern Florida for visiting research and education groups. The lab was severely damaged 5 years ago by Hurricane Wilma and has been under renovation since then. With the recent completion of the renovation of the physical plant, the lab decided it was time to update the website. The site initially loads with a picture slideshow of the research and education activities of the lab as well as local habitats. I incorporated the KML Blog into the site as well as several Google Maps, random image generators, lightbox overlays, and other dynamic content. This allows for a lot of information to be presented without a lot of clutter. Since one of the most important things a marine biologist needs to check each day in the field is the weather, I created a KML weather page where researchers and KML staff can check current weather conditions all in one place. All of the content of this site can be easily edited by KML staff using Cushy CMS, a free content management system. This means that the lab can upload new photos and edit text without my help and without having to mess with the guts of the page. Along with the blog (editable from blogger) and the Google maps, this means that KML can keep the information on the site as up-to-date as possible - which was their number one priority when hiring me to make this site.
FRIEDRICH SCHILLER UNIVERSITY JENA
Dr. Küsel is a biogeochemist in the Institutute of Ecology at FSU Jena, located in Jena, Germany. She runs a large lab with 5 different areas of research, lots of students and postdocs, and was looking for a better way to communicate her work to colleagues, potential students, or anyone else who might be interested. I first developed a new logo for the lab, followed by developing the website using the same general theme. I set the page up with lots of images of ongoing work at the lab and with dynamic pages linked to Flickr so that lab members can upload new images to photo galleries. I also made extensive use of embedded Google Maps and Lightbox overlays to convey information without having to add a lot of clutter to the page. Dr. Küsel was also able to choose the great general domain name “www.geomicrobiology.de” for the site, even thought the site is hosted on the university server.
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
Oceanography Department at FSU. He runs a large lab focusing on the roles microorganisms play in natural and contaminated sediments in a variety of different environments. Although his work is highly interdisciplinary, a central theme is the issue of water quality. Joel wanted to update his website to better reflect the current research in his lab and improve communication to potential students (graduate and undergraduate) and collaborators. I put together a theme for Joel that incorporates the water quality theme. Additionally, I set up a random image generator on the front page to cycle through images of the Kostka Lab’s work. I also developed a logo for Dr. Kostka that incorporates both his contaminated subsurface and coastal ecology work. Dr. Kostka has a large and active lab, so I also included photo galleries, a video gallery, profiles on each of the group members, descriptions of the various projects, and, most importantly, a research news blog, where he Kostka can announce new publications, grants, students, and other news. All of this portrays Prof. Kostka’s lab for what it is, a dynamic and active place of research, contributing to the discipline on many levels.
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Get a Quote!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in this form to get a quote for your website needs. There are several different routes to making you a successful site. If you are a mac user, I can make a template for you in Rapidweaver and you get to fill in the content. This is likely the least expensive option, depending on what you want. More commonly, I offer complete sites, all set up and ready to go. Prices for these will depend on the size and type of content you want to include. I can also help you set up a Blogger.com site too, for a small fee. Let me know what you need and we will work something out. I look forward to hearing from you!