Project Spotlight: SNIA Educational Library and Dictionary

Project Spotlight: SNIA Educational Library and Dictionary

These projects showcase how moving from static to dynamic content adds value for visitors.
Andee Wilcott and Rudy Dominguez

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) is a non-profit organization globally recognized as a trusted authority for storage leadership, standards and technology expertise. Part of their mission is to promote vendor-neutral educational services in such areas as storage management, persistent memory, and data security. SNIA holds several yearly conferences, sponsors and promotes technical work, and offers a certification program to storage professionals.

SNIA Educational Library

Because of all these events and initiatives, SNIA generates a lot of educational content. Up to now, much of this content has been pubically available on static HTML pages accross different areas of the site with no way to organize or search items.

"SNIA had a major online issue," said Michael Meleedy, Business Operations Director for SNIA. "We produce a large amount of valuable content for our industry, but the content was fragmented on our website.  There was no one place to go to aggregate all of our great resources."

We set out to create a place on their website where all of their educational content – videos, presentations, tutorials, webcasts, podcasts, technical work – could be easily cross-referenced, searched on, and accessed. With a select team of technical and marketing professionals, we defined the features, content requirements and user experience.

SNIA Educational Library
SNIA Educational Library Detail Page

Leveraging their site’s Drupal CMS, we created a main content type and several taxonomies to store item details like name, authors, abstract, related event and categorization. The SNIA and A+R teams spent several weeks identifying items and collecting related information into a massive datafile. Once approved, we bulk imported all of the items and related data into Drupal.

The next step was to build the interface. Leveraging Drupal again, we developed the library search interface as a custom Drupal View. Views functionality allowed us to build an interface that takes advantage of the extensive cross-referencing work done earlier.

Now, the SNIA Educational Library is up and running with over 2,000 different items. Site visitors now have a central location to find and download education materials on a variety of storage topics while content managers now have an easy to use interface to add new educational items as they are produced. Since its launch, the Educational Library has become one of the most frequently visited pages on the SNIA website, and has garnered acclaim from storage industry professionals.

"[The Education Library] has streamlined our website significantly. We were able to eliminate hundreds of webpages (that were hard to find to begin with…) by consolidating all of this content into the Library.  The solution has worked perfectly for us!" - Michael Meleedy

Online SNIA Dictionary

SNIA first started publication of a glossary of storage terms nearly 20 years ago and continues to publish its print edition to this day. The dictionary’s online experience, however, lacked the kind of functionality you would expect in a digital version.

"SNIA publishes a dictionary of Industry terms for distribution at trade shows," said Michael Meleedy. "Our online version of the dictionary was problematic in that it was not searchable – basically it was just flat files, a separate file for each letter of the alphabet.  It made using the dictionary online a poor experience."

We started by gaining an understanding of the SNIA Dictionary’s structure and desired features that the SNIA team felt were indispensable. Though several Drupal modules existed that came close on functionality, we ultimately decided to leverage Drupal once again to create a customized taxonomy and view that delivered search functionality plus alphabet and context filtering.

Online SNIA Dictionary

The result is a dynamic user experience that allows you to search and filter through over 1,900 terms, crosslink to other dictionary terms and access permalinks for easy reference. The management interface allows content editors to easily add and edit dictionary terms going forward.

"We worked with A+R Media Studio to implement a new online version of the dictionary on our existing Drupal platform.  In just a week, A+R Media Studio designed and implemented an Online dictionary tool that includes the ability to search for a term (and search the term definitions), plus a context filter to make the searches more robust." - Michael Meleedy