I had a couple of hours this afternoon to play around, and thought I'd put a little time into finding some new feeds for the east-village.org aggregator. I thought it would make sense to add some news about NYU to the mix, and include news from NYU itself.
This led me to an interesting place. Either I can't find them, or NYU simply doesn't have feeds with news about NYU itself.
If you go to the home page, nyu.edu, you'll see that someone is adding news to it, keeping it current. There are items about Jon Stewart speaking at an NYU class. And the U.N. meeting in NY in September. A new study-abroad center opens and a new NYU bookstore on Broadway. Lots of other stuff. But no feeds?
In searching I came across the NYU libraries. Often a good place to find news-related information. They have blogs (that's cool) and there are tutorials about RSS and podcasting, but again, no site-wide resource for news about the university.
The NYU campus is unlike other campuses I've been on. Tulane has very definite boundaries, as does UW-Madison and Harvard. You always know when you're on campus or off-campus. But at NYU, even at the heart of what we think of as the campus, there's a huge public space, Washington Square Park that's not part of the university. And the campus itself is very dispersed, all over lower Manhattan. And it's growing.
Possibly this is why as I was a student growing up in New York, I was aware that there was an NYU, but if you asked me where it was, I couldn't have said. I even had family members who went to NYU.
So it kind of makes sense that it would be hard to find the central flow of the university's web presence. It's also why the university should over-compensate, do an especially good job of giving itself a recognizable center on the web.
I have some other ideas. One of the things I learned in my Harvard experience was to let the ideas out slowly, one at a time. And not expect to influence too much change. But another thing I learned from my Harvard experience is that there is a price to being too cautious and staying too much within the boundaries -- you miss things. While we were doing some nice stuff there in 2003 and 2004 at Berkman, I completely missed the Facebook bootstrap that was happening next door at the college.
If something like that is happening at NYU now, I want to be involved!
But the first step: let's find the pulse. And if we can't find it, help it become discoverable.