'Blogging' at the Dept for Education and Skills

A little project I (finally!) managed to put live today… ‘hot topics in education and skills‘, on behalf of the Department for Education and Skills. The ‘hot topics’ series of web-friendly articles had been running for some time, but the page management and presentation left a lot to be desired. As a series of short text items, with freshness a key element in the presentation, they were a perfect candidate for a blogging platform.
So is this a second ‘government blog’, following in David Miliband‘s footsteps? I say ‘no’. Certainly, it uses a blogging engine, in this case Typepad. And it uses blogging tools and techniques, such as permalinks, date-based archives, RSS and categories. But I think people take the word ‘blog’ to mean a personal soapbox… and it certainly isn’t that.
I’m really pleased with the project. It was remarkably quick to put together, and once I got used to Typepad’s quirks, very easy. We’ve done some quite nice little touches, like mapping a dfes.gov.uk domain on top of Typepad’s own, and redirecting all old page addresses using Apache’s mod-alias. But there are still a few rough edges to smooth out, not least in the design.
I’m fascinated to see how it all pans out. I remain convinced that blogging platforms have many other uses beyond what we know as ‘blogs’. Don’t be surprised if you see more DfES content being served in similar ways, in the near future.

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