Talk:Main Page

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Spring 18

Loyola University Chicago


  • 2013, Pharmacy technician at Express Scripts


  • 2010 - 2013, Maricopa Community colleges
  • 2013, Arizona State University, Biomedical Engineering

The list of labs on the front page is pretty long. Perhaps we should go to a map of labs (not users) as Tom suggested? Can we get a map that looks relatively professional and to which labs can be added easily?

Relevant links

  • Austin 15:27, 7 July 2006 (EDT): I'm not sure how a map would work that well for the labs we have. What do we do for the 16 labs at MIT? Having 16 points pretty much exactly on top of each other probably doesn't work well for any of these maps. Having a map for the different schools might be good, but at the lab level, I'm not sure a map makes sense.
    • RS 15:42, 7 July 2006 (EDT): Good point, perhaps each institution on the map should have a call out box (perhaps one that only appears when you hover over it with the cursor) that lists the labs at that institution.
  • User:Jamesh008 21:18, 18 October 2006 (GMT): I like the map idea. How quickly are labs being added?
    • Reshma 17:58, 24 October 2006 (EDT): Not entirely sure. Perhaps once a week or so? I think everyone likes the map idea, it just needs to move up the priority queue to get implemented.
  • Liam Purdy 19:15, 20 January 2015 (EST):Liam Purdy first post

Labs on Front Page

Sri Kosuri 19:07, 15 May 2006 (EDT):I think we should remove labs that do not have active sites in development on OWW off the front page. We can place a link for other labs in development linked off the front page. There could be a requirement of substantial content, which could be fulfilled by a number of means:

  1. recent editing of the site
  2. more than one page of content, ie., not just a link to their static website.


  • Jennyn 19:18, 15 May 2006 (EDT): I think that is good --it may encourage labs to create a wiki page rather than have their static site linked to it. I think a long time ago we removed the UT labs that did not have wikis.
  • Kathleen 19:37, 15 May 2006 (EDT): Can we couple this with some sort of email to the person who set up the link to the front page in the first place? If we let them know that their link is being removed from the front page, maybe it will renew interest in developing their lab site.
    • Sri Kosuri 19:39, 15 May 2006 (EDT): Agreed, any removal from the front page will be preceded by a notice to the editors of the particular page, that the site is being moved.. if they would like any help on getting started, to please let us know, et cetera.
  • User:Jamesh008 21:18, 18 October 2006 (GMT):As above, how quickly are labs being added?


  • Austin 17:10, 24 March 2006 (EST): What does need to be considered is where the "support OWW" logos should be placed. I'd vote not on the front page but it should either be easily accessible from the front page to get to the logos or in the sidebar or bottom on every page.
    • Jennyn 18:20, 24 March 2006 (EST): Could we put one of the banners in the space under toolbox and link it to the Support OWW site?


  • Jennyn 22:40, 23 March 2006 (EST): What happened to the favicon?
    • Sri Kosuri 09:02, 24 March 2006 (EST): The favicon still shows up for me? Maybe you need to clear your cache?
    • Jennyn 10:26, 24 March 2006 (EST): I see the W, but what happened to the handshake?
    • Austin 10:45, 24 March 2006 (EST): The handshake is there and has been ever since the moment you put it up on the wiki. So as Sri said, clear your cache.
    • Jennyn 14:33, 24 March 2006 (EST): Gotcha.
  • Kathleen 09:11, 30 March 2006 (EST):No matter what I do in Safari (clear the cache; remove the OWW bookmark, quit, and restart), I can't get the favicon to show up. Works fine in Firefox on my computer. Not sure if I'm missing something obvious or if this is an actual issue, but figured I'd bring it up in case anyone had any suggestions.


  • Kathleen 18:32, 21 March 2006 (EST): Changed "About" to "Community", but now the word is too long so it falls below the icon. Any saucy way to fix this so it looks like Main Page v2?

Looking Back

  • Jennyn 01:18, 18 March 2006 (EST): Wow, I was just browsing at the Main Page history, and realized that OWW has been through a LOT of changes! I look back at Sept. 8, and see that Suggs lab was the only outside-MIT lab. Just wanted to share how proud I am to be a part of OWW --how it fosters collaboration and how it has networked universities from all over the world to a common ground for sharing information. Imagine next year?!

Icons added

  • Jennyn 12:56, 16 March 2006 (EST): I added some baby icons to the sidebar for looks. That was too much fun. I need to change my major to pixel-art or something.
  • Austin 13:29, 16 March 2006 (EST): Can you create a favicon.ico icon probably based on the OWW logo for the browser's url bar to replace the current W?
  • Jennyn 14:15, 16 March 2006 (EST): What about this?
  • Austin 15:01, 16 March 2006 (EST): Looks nice but I don't know about the box around the outside.
  • Jennyn 15:15, 16 March 2006 (EST): This can work, too.


  • BC 14:52, 13 March 2006 (EST):I was wondering if we should add some sort of small title to the highlights bar at the top of the main page. If you are a new user/visitor it might not be that clear what these items are exactly.
  • Jennyn 15:16, 13 March 2006 (EST): I made a small title, but not sure if it's too small or not.
  • BC 20:42, 14 March 2006 (EST): What do people think about the community news section at the bottom of the page?. It looks somewhat bare and I'm not even sure how often people scroll down and see it. Maybe the content of community news should on a new page and linked to from the highlights bar and the community portal?
  • Kathleen 20:50, 14 March 2006 (EST): I agree that it should be it's own page and the link to it can be either in the highlights section or maybe even in the navigation sidebar. I often forget it is there and rarely scroll down. Good call BC!
  • Jennyn 22:19, 14 March 2006 (EST): To keep everything pretty on the top highlights bar, what about the idea of making all the icons static. For instance: Getting Started, Community Portal, Community News/Highlights, and Recent changes. And each of those lead to their respective pages. Getting Started and Recent Changes are already defaults there. Just thought we could make the middle two into defaults, too. We can also update the description at the bottom so that people will know when there's a change.
  • BC 22:34, 14 March 2006 (EST): I like this approach, it also takes care of my earlier concern that there aren't visual or written cues that all these items are "highlights".
    • Jasonk 23:08, 14 March 2006 (EST): One issue with this is that we lose the highlights (when I say highlights I mean highlighted science pages on the site, not links to recent changes or getting started) being something which is featured on the front page directly -- now they would be on a seperate page and thus be less likely to be hit by people visiting the homepage. i like the highlights on the front page directly because:
      1. It creates incentive for people to make nice pages ("i'll be linked on the frontpage and get my work noticed")
      2. It enables people to discover great content on the site.
    • I think the highlights will lose some of their potency if they move to a subpage. One option would be to move getting started and what's new into one of the columns but give them icons so they can be more easily noticed. Then the top bar could be dedicated to rotating highlights that change each month rather than just being a menu bar type thing.
  • Jennyn 23:51, 14 March 2006 (EST): I like this idea better. Good point, Jason. I'll make a bitty icon for the getting started and move it to the top of the column.
  • Jennyn 14:45, 15 March 2006 (EST): I have made baby icons for Getting Started and Recent Changes in the META section. John, when you update highlights, you are free to change ALL FOUR icons.
  • --Johncumbers 08:35, 20 March 2006 (EST) ok cheers, will do

Changing Discussion Module

  • Jennyn 13:56, 12 March 2006 (EST): I was thinking about changing the Discussion module to something like In the News, Support OWW, or something that can utilize that space since we want to use the Community Portal as our main source of discussion info. Mentioning where we are in the news can spread more publicity and in turn make it easier to recruit new labs in joining. Going along with Jason's idea about posting a small image so that other labs can paste it on their lab websites, etc. saying "Join OWW" similar to the "I support PLoS" image to further recruit members. Let me know your thoughts.
  • BC 16:20, 12 March 2006 (EST):I'm in favor of removing the discussion section from the main page. I like having the support OWW on the page somewhere. Another thing that we could put up if we want to fill space might be some statistics such as total number of pages (48,406) and number of users. This would only work if there were automatic ways to generate these figures either using magic words or however the Special:Statistics page is generated. As long as these stats look impressive they might be good advertizing on the main page.
    • Jasonk 23:56, 12 March 2006 (EST): agree with removing it for the time being. But would like to see it come back in the future to highlight scientific discussions occuring, not OWW-specific stuff. (I realize that's down the road, but just wanted to mention it).
  • Jennyn 21:57, 12 March 2006 (EST): What about something like these? We can also make horizontal banners. Please comment on them here


I changed back to the old format for individuals since with each person's name listed it was too long a list for the main page I think. Please chime in if you think this is wrong. In general, I think the policy for the main page should be to let individual instances of things pile up until there are too many, and then start to group them. For instance, will likely need to move to institution links rather than lab links soon, see Main Page v2. --JK

Shared Resources

  • I'm trying to figure out what we want these pages to be. I think the Materials page is good in that it outlines recipes and info for things that most labs use. However, the Endy lab restriction enzyme list is there. Does this belong here? I think we want some easy way for people to find out if another lab has a restriction enzyme (or other material) they need in a pinch, but realistically you aren't going to go to another institution to borrow it. Same goes for (most) equipment. Also, I noticed some of the computing resources are MIT-specific. Does it make sense to separate some of these resources onto institute-specific pages to clean things up a bit?--Kathleen 16:36, 2 Dec 2005 (EST)

Lab Listings

  • The list for labs on the front page is getting a little long. I was wondering what people would think if we removed from the front page those labs that are still just developing their wiki. I think this would highlight those labs that are participitating a lot, while still giving an opportunity for labs still getting off the ground. What do people think? --Sri Kosuri 15:55, 7 Nov 2005 (EST)
  • So at what point does a lab earn the "right" to be featured on the front page, and can a lab be removed if they don't meet their "quota" of edits? How many pipet points do I need to accumulate to get my personal page linked on the front page? Maybe a better solution would be to have institutions/universities linked on the front page and links to individual lab pages on institution/university-specific pages. Potentially, "free agents" (or those not specifically associated with a particular lab) could also be included on the institution/university page. This would give some current "orphans" a home so others can find their pages and should help to clean up the front page a bit. --Kathleen 20:59, 7 Nov 2005 (EST)
    • I like that idea (institution home pages) in the long term, however I wonder if there is enough mass to create portals for each school currently. I think sharing the same space is also useful for encouraging contributing to shared resources. That said, it is a little crowded, I think we could at least require that labs have an actual wiki to be linked to from the homepage (rather than just a link to their lab website). --JK
  • I actually think the current format is great. It doesn't seem crowded at all to me and I'd rather be able to see all the labs at a glance. If someone wants to make it multiple columns to even it out a bit with the other ones, then that could increase aesthetics. The idea of linking to university pages is unnecessary at this point, although having a page for each university could still be useful. I also agree that linking to labs that don't even have a page on the wiki seems a bit silly (seems to be 2 such labs at this point). --Austin 09:16, 8 Nov 2005 (EST)

I am removing the links off the frontpage to offsite webpages. Even putting up something as simple as the Hu Lab site will be sufficient for now to have front page access. --Sri Kosuri 06:29, 26 Nov 2005 (EST)

  • The list of groups on the main page is already pretty long, and the current format is likely to get unwieldy as new labs (like ours!) are added. It also relies heavily on name recognition (i.e., "I am looking for the Silver Lab") and is not very conducive to searching for particular types of information (i.e., "I am looking for resources related to Systems Biology"). How about breaking it up into "Labs by Institution" and "Labs by Research Interest". Here is an example (Categories would link to a page listing labs and other resources that fit):

Labs by Institution


IISc, Bangalore


Texas A&M

UC Berkeley

University of Chicago

University of Delaware

UI Urbana-Champaign

UT Austin

Labs by Research Interest

Cell Biology

Synthetic Biology

Systems Biology

Protein Structure and Function

RNA Structure and Function

Biological Chemistry


Dstrick 12:39, 16 December 2005 (EST)

  • Hey Devin, this is a great idea. Check out the Main Page v2 site maybe you (and others) could start making those changes there. --Sri Kosuri 14:57, 16 December 2005 (EST)
  • I went ahead and made these changes to the v2 page. I am not sure what the right categories are for Research Interests, or who belongs in what category. I hope that people who have clearer ideas about this will make the needed changes. --Devin 12:05, 19 December 2005 (EST)
  • I think that organizing labs by research interest can get a bit sticky. I don't like labels in general, and it seems like everyone falls into a new "category" every 5 years or so. It may be best to set up a few categories (maybe just those you want to put your lab into) and let other labs put themselves into categories on their own and add new categories as they deem appropriate.--Kathleen 12:29, 19 December 2005 (EST)
  • I also don't think organizing by research category will be very easy. For me, having a direct list of labs on the front page is the most clean-cut organization (or maybe only by schools if there really get to be too many). If you want to know about labs that work on biochemistry, why not just do a search for biochemistry? This lets labs use any arbitrary keywords that they want on their pages instead of us specifying the categories that labs should fit into. The only real benefit of not just using the search button for everything (e.g. enter "Silver lab" instead of linking to it all) is for people who are browsing and are just curious. I would suggest that anyone who cares about biochemistry knows that they care about biochemistry and so can easily enter that search term in the box. People may not know all the schools or labs at those schools on OWW so cannot easily search for those and therefore they must be browsable in this format. --Austin 13:15, 19 December 2005 (EST)
  • Another suggestion is to create a single page where all labs have a 2 sentence description of themselves. Then anyone who just'd like an overview of the labs can look at this page. --Austin 13:15, 19 December 2005 (EST)
  • I like this idea, especially if we separate labs by university. It may help to bring a sense of cross-institution community to OWW once there are too many groups to be handled by a front-page listing.--Kathleen 13:30, 19 December 2005 (EST)
  • I think all these are good suggestions, and I especially agree that putting labs into categories is a sticky topic. I think the way to deal with this is to create the categories organically over time ather than by fiat at the beginning and prune and combine them as needed. (As I said, mine are only suggestions.) I would also argue that "by institution" is an even more artificial grouping than "by research" and perhaps preferable only in its concreteness. It seems to me that the strength of the wiki approach is that it allows us all to tailor our web presence such that we cluster ourselves more naturally than institutional affiliation allows. --Devin
  • I agree with Devin. One additional thing that is nice of institutional groupings though is the ability to talk about community resources (clusters, equipment, etc). --Sri Kosuri 22:14, 20 December 2005 (EST)

OWW Description

I started a discussion on the ideas page to discuss possible changes to the description at the top of the page. Please post your comments there. --Sri Kosuri 17:50, 17 Sep 2005 (EDT)

OpenWetWare Front Page

I think this page has all kinds of awesome uses. We should try and make it good enough that other labs use this as their day-to-day front page and their "lab" front page is just for the rest of the world to see what they are up to. Some ideas:

  1. help section
    • points to info for getting started on editing the wiki
  2. groups section
    • lists the various front pages of the participating groups
  3. shared technical stuff
    • protocols, equip, strains, etc.
  4. news section
    • place to post announcements, i.e. "4 new papers from Sauer lab here are the links", "we added a new group check out the BioEnergy page they want new members!", that sort of thing.

Basically if we set the standard of a shared front door (back door?) we are way more likely to get collaborations. --Jasonk 20:20, 22 Jun 2005 (EDT)


We are going to reorganize this page. This is going to become a replacement for the lab website. The overall structure is going to be place at Main Page v2. Here where ideas for the new structure of our Wiki are being discussed.


We're trying to decide whether or not to make this wiki world-writable (it is currently only world-readable). If you have any strong feelings or thoughts on this matter, please let us know.

After much discussion, we decided on the following plan. We are going to continue to make the wiki writable to registered members of the MIT community. After population of things such as the protocols section and other information, we will move towards making a sister site that will be world writable.

Thanks for your patience.

What's drawing the best and the brightest in science to synthetic biology?

Re: Feature article on synthetic biology for ASM's Microbe magazine:

I'd like some short comments on why synthetic biology is drawing young scientists in --the excitement of it. I'd also like to know which discipline you come from (engineering, microbiology, biochemistry, etc.) This should be of interest to the folks at ASM. Surprisingly, we haven't had a Feature article on synthetic biology until now and I'd like to make mine as comprehensive as possible.

You can put the comments on my page or e-mail them them directly to me.

Marcy <> <>

Thanks in advance for your help.