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I would like to build my academic homepage and I am not sure how to organize it. I did research in several very different and unrelated topics, and in every topic I have different types of materials (e.g. introductory texts for students, published papers, presentations, working papers and open questions).

One option is to arrange the website by topic. This will help students and fellow researchers quickly find the material that they interests them and maybe lead to useful collaborations.

On the other hand, potential employers (academic personnel) looking at my website may wish to see the material arranged by type, e.g. see all the publications by years, all the teaching materials, etc, regardless of topic.

What is a good way to arrange such a website? Examples of good multi-topic academic homepages are welcome.


CONCLUSION: Thanks to all the repliers. I learned from all the answers and examples, and finally created my academic homepage here: http://erelsgl.github.io . The main technical decision I took was to use Jekyll - a tool for automatically building a static website from templates. It allows me to put all publications in a single data-file, and then automatically creates pages for each topic and a general "publications" page. It is very flexible and lets me easily manage a bi-lingual website.

EDIT: one thing I am very happy to have put in my website is the wishlist page. In it, I put some open problems and research projects I am interested in. So far, 4 different researchers have contacted me regarding these questions. In two cases, this have already lead to a joint paper. I warmly recommend this idea.

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    I've struggled with this myself, all the more so because "topic" is an amorphous notion with poorly defined boundaries. I've considered trying to do something with a tag cloud, but that doesn't seem quite right either. – jakebeal Jan 7 '16 at 2:37
  • Why not both? Many publication list web solutions such as bibbase or bibtexbrowser allow displaying your publications sorted by both type and keywords. – Federico Poloni Jan 24 '16 at 8:57
  • I never thought about having my own page/blog. After reading the edit of your question, I think I am going to have one. Thanks for adding the info. – scaaahu Dec 27 '18 at 13:35
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+50

Firstly, this question is not really academia-specific, since it is applicable to any relatively complex multi-topic multi-user-type website (or any other information resource, for that matter) - however, I will answer it, since some time ago I was facing the same problem, so I understand your situation.

Secondly, this problem lies within the scope of the very large interdisciplinary field of information architecture (IA) (for some introduction, beyond the corresponding Wikipedia article, see, for example, this page and this page.

Thirdly, there is a multitude of approaches to solving this problem and finding the one ("good way", as you put it), which is close to the optimal approach, requires consideration and prioritization of multiple factors, including perspectives for different types of potential users of the site.

Since different types of users have different priorities and preferences, your analysis will most likely generate several (relatively) optimal designs. As some have already mentioned in other answers, those user-type-based optimal designs might be combined on a single site via tabbed interface, with each tab, focused on a particular type of user. Then, within each tab area, relevant topics can be arranged, based on topics hierarchy, using various methods (smaller tabs, navigational side tree or menu, etc.), plus, the hierarchy's content might be adjusted, based on the relevant type of users and their interests. This just one of the most straightforward and simple ideas. While the sky is the limit in generating site designs, I suggest applying KISS principle to the site's IA for the optimal UX.

There are many nice academic websites out there, but I can't really recommend much due to their diversity and lack of time (I'd have to dig through my vast number of bookmarks). If you care, feel free to visit my own personal professional website, which targets both academia and industry, but academic content is quite limited so far. Please keep in mind that I haven't had a chance to fully update the site in terms of both design and, especially, content, which I hope to get my hands on eventually. Nevertheless, overall IA of the site might give you some useful ideas for implementing on your site (i.e., main menu structure, project types dynamic filtering in the Portfolio section, etc.).

P.S. Despite warning, I have decided to made a quick review of my bookmarks in regard to the topic and here is a tiny subset of academic websites that I find useful, interesting and attractive:

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  • @ErelSegal-Halevi: You're very welcome. I appreciate the bounty award. Good luck with building your academic website! After you're done, feel free to post a link to it here as a comment - I curious to see the result :-). – Aleksandr Blekh Jan 30 '16 at 23:51
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My opinion...Perhaps instead of trying to sort the 'topics' or 'content' on the site, you could instead sort by user with a menu bar on the home page.

Have separate tabs/buttons in the menu linking to separate pages: 1 for "Students"; 1 for "researchers/peers"; and 1 for "prospective employers".

That way, you can put exactly what you want that particular audience to see (even if some content is the same across audiences) on individual pages. You will have 1 site, with 3 distinct sets of content arranged by topic independently of each other. On each of those 3 pages, there can then be a specific menu or something for the content on that specific page, for that audience, arranged by either a topic, date, tags, whatever.

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  • This is also what most universities do. I don't quite do this on my homepage (which is not the model of organization) but I do have duplication/cross-links in different sections. – Kimball Jan 23 '16 at 22:50
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Is a typical user a student or fellow researcher? Than focus on them, and keep your material in a way that makes it easily accessible, e.g. by topic.

Potential employers will not necessarily expect to find a resume style first page when visiting your website, but make sure that you make it clear where such a place for them would be. A menu link saying something like "For potential employers", "CV", "About me", are all valid ways. In here, I would have a manually curated resume that puts it in an order that makes sense for the employer.

This allows you to also post informal things, such as blog posts or non-peer reviewed articles that you still think will help your fellow researchers, while keeping your list for potential employers more formal.

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What is your principal audience? Presumably you'd contact prospective employers directly, with a polished CV. Many publications you'll have to publish as preprints (if at all), so perhaps a page listing publications (with links where available) ordered chronologically (including papers, class notes, whatever) might be enough. Or perhaps segregate into "formal" (papers, conferences) and "informal" (class notes, miscelanea). Leaves students or random drivers-by. Organize by topic for them.

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I suggest by-type-then-date organization, with a "Research Interests" menu which, when an item is clicked, leads to another page which is also organized by-type-then-date, but contains only materials relevant to that particular area.

By doing so you can keep the format consistent across multiple views, which provides a friendlier navigation interface to visitors than if they were faced with multiple disparate organizational schemes.

Of course it is possible to provide more than one level of "zoom" into a topic. Also, your topic-specific pages may want to include materials which you are not author of. In this last case you may also find that some of the topics are well-covered by group pages and you can link to them instead of maintaining your own.

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