Digital Learning Support (DLS) and the Digital Knowledge Center (DKC) are making some exciting changes to our web publishing platforms UMW Blogs and Domain of One’s Own.  We wanted to provide a brief overview of these changes since many of you use these platforms for aspects of your teaching, learning, professional, and personal lives. 

Summary of changes: 

  • We are launching a replacement for UMW Blogs called Sites@UMW in January of 2023. 
  • Starting in January 2023, no new UMW Blogs accounts will be created as we transition to Sites@UMW. Anyone with an existing UMW Blogs account will continue to have full access and all current sites will be fully functional until summer 2023 courses are complete. 
  • All UMW Blogs sites will be archived after courses after summer 2023 courses are complete. When archived, the sites will still be online, but users can no longer access them or make changes. 
  • We are creating a new login page to access both Sites@UMW and Domain of One’s Own on the same page, launching in January of 2023. 

Background: 

UMW Blogs started at UMW in 2007 as a way for the UMW community to easily create sites on the open web using WordPress. Many students, faculty, and staff use this system for class blogging, course websites, or their own projects. Domain of One’s Own, invented right here at UMW, is a more advanced platform providing a free domain (a web URL you choose), web hosting space, and an online control panel that allows installation of many different types of open-source software. Both platforms have been at the heart of moving UMW forward as a leader in Digital Humanities over the last decade. 

What is changing and when? 

We are making three major changes:  

First, in the Spring of 2023, we will release a new web-publishing platform to the UMW community called Sites@UMW. This platform will allow easy website creation using WordPress, just like UMW Blogs. For UMW Blogs users, the experience on Sites@UMW will look and feel almost exactly the same, but with some much-needed behind-the-scenes improvements. 

Second, we will archive the UMW Blogs platform in Summer of 2023. All past UMW Blogs sites will remain viewable online, but will no longer be editable.  We will close UMW Blogs to new user registration and disable the creation of new sites starting in January of 2023, but current users will have full access until Summer of 2023. We will work with UMW Blogs users to move any sites you’d like to keep active onto Sites@UMW. 

Third, we will create a new web portal that will serve as the shared entry point for both Sites@UMW and Domain of One’s Own. This portal will provide a side-by-side comparison of the two platforms, allowing users an easy way to evaluate their needs and choose the platform that makes the most sense for their goals.  Aside from the new shared entry point, Domain of One’s Own will remain unchanged in this process. 

Wait! I have more questions! 

We are happy to answer them!  You can also contact us anytime at dls@umw.edu, but also check out our FAQ below to see if we’ve already answered your question.

We will be regularly communicating about this project, and look forward to working with all of you to improve our web publishing platforms for the UMW community. 

Timeline 

SemesterUMW BlogsDomain of One’s OwnSites@UMW
Fall 2022DLS staff will work with faculty to migrate to new system for classesNo changes for fallBegin testing and piloting new system. Begin migration assistance reachout
Spring 2023Turn off new user registration and work with existing users to migrate content to new platform.New landing page for logging in to Domain of One’s OwnGo live! Users will login at new landing page. Continue to help users migrate to new system.
Summer 2023Finish helping users migrate content.
Set UMW Blogs in to archival mode. All sites become static
Users will no longer be able to access backend.
No changes Finish helping users migrate content.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Are UMW Blogs sites being deleted? 

No! All sites created on UMW Blogs will remain viewable online. However, once UMW Blogs is archived sites will no longer be editable, and the creation of new sites and new user accounts will be disabled. 

What if I have a UMW Blogs site I want to keep active? 

We can help you migrate! Contact us at dls@umw.edu and we will be happy to work with you on this. 

What if I want to delete my content from UMW Blogs before it is archived?

We’d be happy to help! Contact us at dls@umw.edu and we can work with you.

What if I want to delete my content off of UMW Blogs after it has been archived?

Contact us at dls@umw.edu and we will work with you to remove your content.

Why are you doing this? 

The original UMW Blogs platform has become very large and outdated over the past 10 years, making it increasingly difficult to maintain. In addition, many users are confused about the difference between UMW Blogs and Domain of One’s Own. This project will allow for much-needed upgrades to UMW Blogs and help users select the platform that best suits their needs. 

Why keep both platforms? 

Though similar, the two platforms serve different needs. UMW Sites is WordPress only, and all site URLs end with “umwsites.net.” It is better suited for smaller projects, or those that won’t be needed after the end of a course. Domain of One’s Own allows installation of WordPress along with many other applications, the site url can be customized however you want, and the site and URL can be taken with you upon leaving UMW. It is better suited for public-facing projects and things that will continue beyond the conclusion of any one course. UMW Sites is quicker and easier to get started, but Domain of One’s Own allows for more choice and complexity.