There have been a number of excellent comments on the “Website Under Construction” blog post put up recently by Jeffrey Tucker. For instance, there have been good suggestions to make sure the word “Economics” is used instead of “Austrian School”, adding a “more from this author” button, putting up HD & SD versions of the same files (as YouTube & Vimeo currently make possible) and quite a few great comments about things people would like to make sure are maintained.
The good news is, a great number of the comments are things that I’m already working on.
I’m already in the process of tagging each file with appropriate subjects & descriptions, marking older files as incomplete or in need of some audio/video reconstruction, and generally getting things not only more organized in large chunks (putting files into a better hierarchy, as I have already mostly completed doing) but also getting each individual file to a point where it’s effectively searchable – there are a great number of files right now that I imagine are not appearing on any searches simply because their meta-data content is lacking.
These things will make any searching for known files MUCH easier.
Also, in my original proposal, I discussed adding media playlists and in-window playback of audio & video media, so I want to assure everyone that the design is progressing steadily in that direction as well. Please understand that it will take some time to accomplish these things, but the point of the mock-up that was posted the other day was to provide a more tangible rough draft of where I’d like to see things go. Fortunately it does seem like quite a number of people support the general change in direction.
However, I do want to address a couple of the concerns some people are having:
There appears to be some concern that the site is going to lose search functionality. I can assure everyone that this will be far from the case. It should be clear by now that every aspect of these changes are designed both to entice new visitors and to improve the ability of long-term regulars to find exactly what they want in a much more intuitive and accessible manner.
One comment noted:
It is my experience at least, that people visiting the media page are not looking for some random suggestion, but rather already have an idea of what they are looking to find.”
I think that comment is entirely true, but it’s my professional opinion that this is a function of the status quo rather than a goal the Mises Institute should actually be aspiring to.
Obviously, most people who currently visit the media page do so because they are already knowledgeable of specific files they wish to watch or listen to – but this only furthers the cloistered nature of the presentation of libertarian thought.
So it seemed to me worth mentioning that all of these changes aren’t merely designed to catalog existing materials for people who already have their Austrian School library cards, but to start presenting the ideas and material in ways that are appealing to those who do need suggestions and don’t necessarily have the attention spans or time to randomly sift through thousands of hours of media. I just want to make sure we all remember that the ultimate goal is always to get the ideas of Ludwig von Mises & the Austrian School on Economics and the Philosophy of Liberty disseminated to the public as best we can.
The improved search features will basically take care of themselves as the subject & categories on each file are re-organized – which I am diligently working to accomplish. Everyone will always have access to that, so if they know what they’re looking for, those items will only become easier & easier to find. But the overall focus has to remain on attracting new visitors and getting them to watch, listen, read and most of all come back.
With all this in mind, I’d like to ask the regular visitors here to extend some trust to me and my expertise in these matters. But I do appreciate and welcome input. I know everyone has their favorite videos or audio recordings, and to be most constructive, I’d like to put out these questions to the regular users of Mises.org:
- Which are your favorite Ludwig von Mises Institute media recordings, and why?
- Which of your favorites do you think are the most likely to draw in new guests and get people interested & familiarized with the Austrian School of economics & philosophy of liberty?
Everyone’s contributions on which media to feature will be extremely invaluable in the long run. I just want everyone to know that I am doing my best to guide this process and make sure it comes out with much better organizational system and a much more enticing design created to draw in new visitors. If you have any additional questions, comments or concerns; please feel free to address me directly through the mediums provided below.
Thank you all,
Sean W. Malone