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New Vanderbilt News site launched; new video player available campus-wide

Posted by on Monday, June 21, 2010 in Launch.

Keeping up with the latest news from Vanderbilt is now easier than ever. The redesigned Vanderbilt News website launched June 14, featuring a dramatic new look, a robust new back end and features that are available for all Vanderbilt departments.

New features and technology available

Video is a focal point of the new site, showcasing the weekly VUCast newscasts, campus lectures, concerts and more. A new video player has been created, which includes easy Facebook- and Twitter-sharing icons as well as an updated look.

Vanderbilt departments can utilize the new video player if they host files on the streaming server. An easy-to-use form is available on the University Web Communications site for departments to build their own player.

Departments can also use the new player to display video playlists. For example, all videos tagged “commencement” automatically show up on the Commencement site as a playlist, which can be displayed in a number of different ways.

University Web Communications is also currently developing an html5 video player (with fallback to Flash) and looking at the viability at making it available for institutional use.

Audio files on the News site have a new smaller-form mp3 player as well.

Now powered by WordPress, the Vanderbilt News site is tag-driven, so users can subscribe to specific topics, such as Commencement, politics or engineering (click the links to see examples). As the new site continues to be populated, tags will eventually be used to create archive pages for specific faculty, departments and schools – keeping track, for example, of every news story, podcast and video featuring a specific faculty member. View a dynamically updated list of available tags.

News and resources

Breaking news and announcements can be found under Latest Stories. People can also receive their Vanderbilt news through e-mail subscriptions and multiple RSS feeds, which makes it easy to receive content updates in Google Reader, My Yahoo!, Newsgator, Bloglines and other news readers. Vanderbilt departments can use the topic-specific RSS feeds to populate their websites as well. View a dynamically updated list of available rss feeds.

News from all parts of the campus and Medical Center can be found under Stories From Around Campus, a regularly updated section which pulls news from alumni publications, the Vanderbilt View, InsideVandy, Exploration, House Organ, the Reporter, and more.

The site offers a list of resources for journalists, such as access to experts, information on media fellowships, audio and VUStar, the on-campus broadcast facility. Resources such as media training for faculty and staff can also be found on the new site.

Visitors can keep up with all of Vanderbilt’s official social networking sites at the bottom of the site: a feed of all Vanderbilt-related Twitter updates; a Flickr photo stream; and an easy way to connect with Vanderbilt’s Facebook presence.

The Vanderbilt look

The site utilizes the new Vanderbilt brand bar, a design element that unobtrusively lets users navigate the Vanderbilt site, access frequently-used tools and search, while still maintaining a unique look and feel for each site. The brand bar is available to all departments that would like to update the look of their website.

The News site is designed to be viewed by all modern standards-compliant Web browsers, accessible by those with disabilities, and minimally readable by all Web-reading software. The file sizes are smaller and the site has been optimized to reduce load time, making the site faster and also lessening the load on the Vanderbilt network.

The Vanderbilt News site was developed and designed by University Web Communications. Questions about the brand bar or the new video player can be sent to

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  • John Lawlor

    October 3rd, 2010

    Due to the fact that Flash delivered videos do not play on the iPhone, iPad and iTouch — will there be an alternative delivery method (video player) for Apple’s Flash-challenged devices?

  • Lacy Tite

    October 19th, 2010

    John …

    Yes. We’re working on implementation of an html5 player – with flash fallback. For browsers that support html5, the html5 player will be used; other browsers will fall back to the flash player.