Unidata Community Portal (PlazaElectra)
Since last spring, when the Unidata Community Portal was first discussed with User Committee members, a lot of groundwork has been laid to ensure that the future of this project is successful.
Since Unidata has historically measured success by how well it meets the needs of its community, we took the step late in the summer of forming an advisory committee, chaired by Tony Rockwood, and reporting to the User Committee. It is envisioned that this committee will work directly with PlazaElectra staff to help set priorities for tools development and deployment. The group may also be asked to assist with site testing and community needs assessment.
Unidata deployed its first piece of PlazaElectra functionality late in the spring when we went live with the user survey and registration system. Later in the summer we introduced on-line software licensing and downloads. At the time of this report, the Plaza Electra site has handled 275 new registrations, 113 complete surveys, and over 725 software downloads (each file downloaded counts).
In the near future, we will transition our current site into the portal framework and begin in earnest with the deployment of some simple web-based tools (such as discussion forums and opportunity boards) which will give community members a glimpse at what is to come.
This project is currently staffed with one software engineer. We anticipate having a student assistant on board within the month. Given the extensive laundry list of possible projects for inclusion in the Plaza, we are prepared that progress may be slow, though we hope to have meaningful collaborations with other UCAR groups, and universities (including Cornell, the technical lead in the NSDL/CI project) to help speed and smooth progress.