Blog


Jul 30, 2021


Click to edit elements


A user emailed me that it was hard to find where to edit certain parts of their website. For example, how do you edit the text under the site avatar? Is it in Headers and Footers? Site avatar? Contact?  Answer: depends on the theme. Result: hair-pull...


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Jul 22, 2021


Owlstown Newsletter #31: Special Domains?


Hello Owlstowners! No new features this month :( I was working on a few features, but I didn’t finish any of them in time for this newsletter. I did clean up a bunch of code and made changes to speed up the server, so enjoy some speedier loading times...


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Jun 24, 2021


Owlstown Newsletter #30: Summertime


Hello Owlstowners! In grad school, I spent all of my summers in Pittsburgh. It was hot and humid, but I have fond memories of 4th of July fireworks, the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge, sunsets at Schenley Park, and fireflies. I spent part of those sum... (Link)


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Jun 22, 2021


Better control of pictures on your page


It used to be the case that the thumbnail of your project is also the primary picture that appears on the project page. This meant three things: You can’t choose different pictures for your thumbnail and the primary picture. The primary picture alway...


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Jun 1, 2021


Add source code to pages


You can now add source code to your pages. Source code highlighting is done automatically to make your code easier to read. It looks like this: To add source code to your page, edit the content of your page. Add a block and select "Source code" in t... (Link)


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May 23, 2021


Old documents as resources for PhD students?


The responses to this Twitter thread by @DanikaPfeiffer has been super insightful. Danika asked if old documents from time as a PhD student would be a useful resource for other PhD students. So many ideas on what to include in your academic website. ...


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May 19, 2021


Content checklist for your personal academic website


This is a checklist of content that for your personal academic website. You might find this checklist useful if you are: Planning to create a personal academic and don’t know where to start Thinking about content to add to your existing academic webs... (Link)


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May 18, 2021


Twitter threads about academic websites for May 2021


Here are some Twitter threads about academic websites I saw in the past month. You might find these threads useful if you're still on-the-fence about having an academic website.



May 18, 2021


Owlstown Newsletter #29: May flowers


Hello Owlstowners! The saying “April showers bring May flowers” proved true in Boston this year. It was quite rainy in April. Now, it’s May and we’re seeing a lot of flowers on our neighborhood walks. In April, I also started a bunch of improvements ... (Link)


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May 15, 2021


Picture block


Picture block allows you to have more control over the pictures that you add in your page content. You can edit the following: The maximum width of the picture. The caption that appears under the picture. Below is an example of a picture block. The ...


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May 7, 2021


Icons for social links


Finally, I've added icons next to social links. Many Owlstowners have requested for this feature. I'm grateful for their patience. The icons are determined automatically based on the URL of the social link. If the icon doesn't exist in the list below,...


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May 3, 2021


Fix link dialog


I love getting feedback from users. They help improve Owlstown for everyone.   In this case, an Owlstown user alerted me that they couldn't add links to their academic website. I found that the dialog for adding links was broken (see Old version). The ...


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Apr 25, 2021


Owlstown Community


Owlstown Community is a feature that lists the latest pages and blog posts from academic websites made in Owlstown. It's one way for academic content from you and fellow Owlstowners to reach a wider audience. Each listing links to a page and has: The... (Link)


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Apr 20, 2021


Owlstown Newsletter #28


Hello Owlstowners! I have lots of updates in store for you in this newsletter. I wrote blog posts for each of the updates, so I’ll just link to them below with a short description. Visit each post for more details. The Owlstown Editor has a new desig...


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Apr 7, 2021


Less clicking on the Editor


I changed the Owlstown Editor to be easier to use. The old editor separated the editing screens into sections: Profile, Content, Design, and Config. This required clicking on a section before reaching an editing screen. In the new editor, editing scre...


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Apr 2, 2021


Elbowpatch theme


I just released a new theme called Elbowpatch (demo). It's the eighth theme in the list of Owlstown themes. Elbowpatch is a simple theme. The header has a small title and subtitle on the top-left corner, and a small avatar on the top-right corner. Whe...


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Mar 29, 2021


Pageviews


Ever wonder how many views your academic website is getting? Owlstown has a new feature called Pageviews that can help. Pageviews displays the number of pageviews your website receives everyday. Pageviews is a simple feature that preserves your visito...


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Feb 22, 2021


Unsplash pictures


You can now add beautiful pictures from Unsplash to your Owlstown website. Here’s an example: Not familiar with Unsplash? Unsplash is a free service where you can find awesome pictures to use on your website. It has millions of pictures that talente...


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Jul 30, 2020


Your academic website needs a sitemap


One way that people find your academic website is to use a search engine. They do a search with your name or your research topic, and your website appears as one of the search results. Of course, this depends on how well your website ranks among other ...


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Dec 31, 2019


Happy New Year!


Happy New Year, Owlstowners! I hope you’re enjoying your much-deserved break. Or if you’re busy, I hope you're making good progress. Hello, you’re awesome! I started Owlstown a few years ago with the mission of helping academics share their research ...


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Nov 7, 2019


Markdown support


I’ve added support for Markdown for content fields in Owlstown. You can use Markdown with any of these content types: about, courses, custom pages, posts, projects, and publications. Just select Markdown editor on the content field. If you have edited ...


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Oct 30, 2019


Member Highlight: Melody K. Waring


This week’s member highlight is Melody K. Waring. She has been using Owlstown since June 2019. You can find her academic website at http://www.melodywaring.com. Melody is in her fifth year of doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s S...


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Sep 26, 2019


Your academic website should have your contact info


Okay, so you have an academic website. That’s great! Now, make sure that you have your contact info is on that website. And make it easy to find. You’d be surprised how many academic websites don’t have this information or make it difficult to find. ...


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Sep 19, 2019


Support for blog posts


Hi Owlstowners! I just added support for writing posts on Owlstown, which means you can use Owlstown like a blog for your academic work. You can also post short snippets if you prefer posting short updates. This same feature is the same blogging plat...


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Sep 18, 2019


Share project pages, not just publications


TLDR: Share pages that describe your projects. It will help introduce new readers to your work. The internet is full of places to list/share your publications: Google Scholar, Academia.edu, ResearchGate. They are super useful because they help dissemi...


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Sep 14, 2019


The smallest academic website you can make


TLDR: When creating an academic website, start small. And finish small. Then grow from there. So you want an academic website, but you don’t have the time. That’s okay. You’re an academic. You’re busy. Creating an academic website feels like a daunti...


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Sep 6, 2019


Using a .com domain name for your academic website


TLDR: A domain name ending in .com is fine for an academic website. I’ve seen many people ask on blogs or on Twitter whether it’s okay to use a domain name ending in .com for an academic website. The main concern from askers is that a domain ending in...


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Aug 26, 2019


Should you use your university’s domain or your own domain name for your academic website?


TLDR: Get your own domain name for your academic website. First of all, what is a domain name? A domain name is the address where Internet users can access your website. For Owlstown, the domain name is owlstown.com. For a university, it probably ends...


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Aug 10, 2019


Custom pages in Owlstown


You can now add custom pages to your Owlstown site. For example, you can add pages such as your teaching statement, your list of achievements, an FAQ, or any page you may need to share more of your academic work. User interface to add your custom page...


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Jul 11, 2019


Prettier websites with banner images


Hi Owlstowners! I just added a new feature to Owlstown to make prettier websites. You can now add banner images to pages. Here's an example: I added the feature to all themes, so you should be able to add banner images to your pages. To use, go to ...


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Jun 29, 2019


Course pages


Happy summer, Owlstowners! I hope you're enjoying the sunshine. Owlstown now supports adding courses to your website. You can add courses that you're teaching or have taught. Each course has its own page where you can describe it and add links to its ...


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