OPAC launches new website

Searching for information about Yale online is now a multimedia experience.

The Office of Public Affairs and Communications’ Yale News website, which replaced Yale Bulletin on Friday, features a new design as well as videos, slideshows, podcasts and social media access to accompany OPAC’s press releases. The site will feature articles written by members of OPAC as well as links to content published by Yale’s professional schools and to stories printed in newspapers across the country, said Yale News editor LuAnn Bishop, who called it a “Huffington Post” model for all Yale-related news.

“[The new website] allows us to showcase the rich diversity that’s here at the University and allows various voices to come through as we include pieces that might appear in the external media,” Bishop said. “We’re essentially now curators of the news.”

The site’s new emphasis on multimedia content and social mediawill help OPAC connect with a broader audience, developers said. Yale News, unlike the Daily Bulletin, prominently displays links to Yale’s Facebook page, Twitter feed and Flickr stream.

“It is exciting to be in this particular business because you get to change and evolve like everyone else,” said Elizabeth Stauderman, deputy chief communications officer. “The press release is not the best way to get the word out anymore. Now you have to think about whether the information would spread more through a Facebook campaign.”

The website was the brainchild of current Chief Communications Officer Thomas Mattia, who is due to retire on Dec. 31. His position will be filled by Stauderman, who plans to continue expanding the site’s multimedia offerings.

Though the new site features more content and requires specialized skills to maintain, Stauderman said OPAC is not planning to hire any additional staff. She expressed confidence that current OPAC writing staff would be able to adjust and think creatively about using multimedia to complement their stories.

Over the past one and a half years Bishop solicited recommendations for the new site from communications staffs across the University’s 13 schools, she said, as well as from officials in centers such as Yale University Art Gallery.

Bishop and Stauderman credited the site’s user-friendly interface and aesthetic appeal to the underlying software system, Droople, a program the Stauderman said White House uses for its official website. Stauderman said the Droople software provides a platform to integrate social media and more coherently organizes content.

Three students interviewed said they found the new website more visually appealing and more accessible because of its emphasis on social media.

“The site looks extremely cool,” Joseph Yagoda ’14 said. “Sometimes my parents send me Yale-related news, but it’s good to know that I can find it all in one streamlined location now.”

Although OPAC launched the site on Friday, it spent the weekend correcting bugs with the intention to officially announce the project’s completion in an email to Yale faculty and staff on Monday.

OPAC ceased print publication of the Daily Bulletin calendar this summer.

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