More than a makeover:
UCAR's new umbrella site
A major revamping of the umbrella Web site for UCAR, NCAR, and UOP debuted in May. The site showcases key research goals and accomplishments in everyday language, spotlights Web pages of individual programs, and provides a research area for scientists. The previous UCAR site, which was several years old, emphasized links to divisions and programs. Some users reported confusion about where to find information on specific types of research. The new site emphasizes research initiatives and the broad scope of atmospheric science.
"The main benefit is that the new site really integrates everything in one place," says NCAR's Markus Stobbs, the site's designer. "It's thematic. You can follow your interests, exploring topics instead of being bound by organizational structure, divisions, and programs."
Markus Stobbs co-chaired a Web redesign group of more than 20 UCAR staff. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)
The new home page has six slots that are regularly updated. These include a "fast fact" about the atmosphere and a spotlight on an internal Web page (both updated hourly); two recent news releases (updated every time a news release is issued, which is about 1-2 weeks on average); and two feature stories, one on research and one profiling a scientist (both updated monthly).
From the home page, a user can click on Our Organization, which has links to all divisions and programs as well as an overview of UCAR, NCAR, and UOP. Our Research provides a sweeping overview of the organization's studies of the atmosphere and the Earth-Sun system. "Designed for a nonscientist audience, it's essentially an introductory education on a wide spectrum of atmospheric science topics pulled together into a compelling and eye-catching series of pages," Markus says.
Users can also link to News Center, where they'll find news releases and other topical items, and to Education, the home page for UCAR's Education and Outreach Program, with links to other UCAR-based educational programs.
An important feature for scientists is the new Research Tools page. For the first time, scientists can go to a single Web page for links to a wide array of data sets, models, computing applications, and more. The navigation bar also has a Libraries tab that takes users to the NCAR Library as well as several digital libraries managed by or based at UCAR.
UCAR umbrella site
Choice photos by the megabyte:
UCAR's Digital Image Library
A smorgasbord of more than 1,000 photographs—free for educational use—is now on line at UCAR's new Digital Image Library. The DIL brings the extensive photo archive managed by UCAR Communications into a Web-friendly format that serves both commercial and noncommercial users. Below is a sampling of DIL imagery.
Visitors can browse by category (natural disasters, clouds, climate change, pollution, and the like) or search by keyword. They also have the option of creating a virtual lightbox where potential selections can be compiled and reviewed minutes or days later.
Most of the images can be downloaded as high-quality, high-resolution TIFF files, suitable for publication, with resolutions on the order of 15 to 20 megabytes.
The site allows users to identify whether they need an image for commercial or noncommercial purposes, since a given customer might use the site for both needs at different times. For instance, a university professor might draw images for both a classroom lecture and a profit-making book. Noncommercial use is free, while commercial use generally requires a onetime fee, payable via an online credit card transaction.
"We live in a time when science and technology play an immediate and discernable role in our daily lives, yet it is photographic images that humanize science stories," says UCAR's Nita Razo, site manager. "With this new online catalog, we want to help visually bridge the gap between people's daily lives and the domain of scientific research."
UCAR Digital Image Library
A potpourri of images from UCAR's Digital Image Catalog. All photos are by Carlye Calvin unless otherwise indicated.
Clockwise from top left:
- Moisture-laden clouds over the Atlantic Ocean.
- Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds. (Photo by Benjamin Foster.)
- The Naval Research Laboratory's P-3, with the ELDORA radar in its tail.
- Montana's Robert wildfire of 2002, with Doppler on Wheels in the foreground. (Photo by Herb Stein)
- Thunderstorms in the Texas Panhandle. (Photo by Bob Henson)
- A depiction of the carbon cycle. (Illustration by Elizabeth Johnston.)