Academic journal article Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline

Assessment of Project Website Sustainability: Case of the Arctic EIA Project

Academic journal article Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline

Assessment of Project Website Sustainability: Case of the Arctic EIA Project

Article excerpt

Abstract

In many cases, temporary websites may be simple, accessible solutions for knowledge management and dissemination of information. However, such sites may become outdated as the funding ends, but yet in many cases, still publicly available through the Internet. The issue of website sustainability is a relevant topic for all organizations that have websites. Website lifecycle, knowledge management, and website sustainability issues are discussed through a theoretical-based literature review. These issues are then summarized and used as lessons learned for the case study approach of this paper. The aim is to identify a solution to address a website's life and longevity, post project. A practical case study assessment of the issue of project website sustainability is needed to address the website's longevity--post project--as creation is often made through temporary endeavors. Recommendations for future project websites are made as the outcomes and results of this study and are expressed in the form of suggested practices for project website sustainability in future projects.

Keywords: websites, lifecycle, knowledge management, sustainability, case study

Introduction

A practical case study assessment of the issue regarding a projects' website and its sustainability is needed to address the issue of a website's life, post project. Websites are often created through temporary endeavors, such as grant funded projects, and may become outdated once the project and its funding have ended. However, the website is often left available and accessible to the public. Often a project website's life--past the project's lifecycle--has been left unplanned and thus has resulted in outdated and dead links. Website lifecycle, knowledge management, and website sustainability issues are discussed and covered through a theoretical based literature review which are then summarized and used as lessons learned for the case study approach of this paper. Recommendations for future projects are made in regards to dissemination of results via a website as the outcomes and results of this study are expressed in the form of suggested practices for project website sustainability in future projects.

Information structured as web content is extremely important for an organization that needs to distribute knowledge and share information with a wider audience. Publishing web content is becoming a complex process that requires an adequate information system. This information system has to meet not only the changing Internet-related technologies, but also the creation and maintenance needs of both website authors and editors. Implementing a publishing and collaboration system where content is easily updated and system specifications are met becomes a tradeoff between these requirements (Pastore, 2006). Besides the collaboration between the authors and editors, the issue of sustainability--website's lifecycle above and beyond the project--is a relevant and timely issue because the amount of grant project work is ever increasing, especially in the field of academia.

During the past few decades, research has been conducted in project website quality, lifecycle, and statistics (Auer, Lehmann, Ngomo, & Zaveri, 2013; Griffiths & Christensen, 2005; Olsina, Godoy, Lafuente, G., Rossi, 1999). In addition, as stated by Gellersen, Wicke, and Gaedke (1997), the maintenance of web applications is a difficult and error-prone task because many design decisions are not directly accessible at run time, but rather embedded in file-based resources. In conducting research via search engines, it has become apparent that the dead links will stay active, and users will get an invalid, no content, or error page. Many web pages contain hyperlinks to other related pages, downloads, source documents, and other web resources. Website administrators can choose to change or update their web content. However, by neglecting to change and update sites, outdated information will be cached creating a black hole of information that will waste the users' time and energy, and seriously impact the user experience. …

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