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My name is Avior Byron and I am a musicologist, blogger and composer. I write books, articles and a blog about music, performance, research, and theory. Read more at my about page

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Some thoughts on the Israel Musicological Society’s website

The Israel Musicological Society opened a new website (http://israel-musicological-society.huji.ac.il). I wrote in my post Review of the IMS conference 2008: what there is and what there is not to read in Hebrew in Music that it is sad that much money was spent on this website. The result is poor. The decision was made three years ago, and at that time it was perhaps a reasonable one. Today, it is almost free of charge to build a site with content management systems like Joomla. Moreover, one can use services such as Google analytics for receiving valuable information on the behavior of visitors on one’s website. The only reason that I write this, is to point to fruitful directions that can be done in the near future.

A word about search engines

Websites have a potential of attracting visitors from all over the world. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN scan websites constantly for new information. After they index a new page that is added to a website, it leads traffic to it, when it thinks that it contains relevant information for web surfers. Search engines like websites that are constantly being updated. New information can include: new pages, blog posts, forum posts, comments, etc.

The goal

I think that the goal of building a website for the IMS should be, to attract people to its activities in the real and virtual world. In other words, the website should make people aware of the publications of IMS members, conferences and other activities, as well as to any of their activities on the web (that at present, apart of Min-Ad, almost do not exist).

The problem with the current site

The current site does not encourage its member or visitors to take actions on the website. A website that wants to attract visitors must create new texts all the time. These texts must be interesting in order to create further action by members and visitors. The current site includes CVs in attached documents. It is clear that most people will not bother reading more than one of two CVs. It would be useful if more personal information would be added. For example, scholars could write about their fields of interests, how they became musicologists, what they are working on in the present, plans for the future, etc. This information is more fun to read and is likely to attract more reactions than CVs (remember, reaction on the web is the most important thing). People can ask for advise from other scholar and web surfer concerning their research. People can recommend and review new and old books. Students may be encouraged to write for the website, participate in forum discussions and be active in other activites on the website.

Writing on the web

One can find music journal on the web (see my post on Where to publish online articles on music: journals review). The web can encourage a kind of writing that is less formal than in journals. This has disadvantages, however, it also has advantages. I would never write an article as I write a post in my blog. Yet, writing a blog helps me improvise on ideas, test them and communicate with a relatively big number of people. Believe me, this is fun.

The real problem

The real problem is that it is really hard to make people react and be involved in a website. I tried many things in my blog and some of these things worked. But the truth is that most forums and blogs do not survive more than two months.

The solution

What one needs to do is to think hard how a website could be a ground for involving IMS members to write about what they care of and to constantly be active and participate on the website. This is hard. But it is perhaps the only way. Technology is almost free today and there are possibilities. Things can be built relatively fast. However, first one must think about the ways to achieve social participation. I think that the IMS members should participate in this thinking and perhaps some good ideas will come up. Please comment in the form below!

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