I’ve written a good deal in recent months about our future plans and our efforts to raise funds. Based on user response and our own continuing assessment, we’re modifying some of our plans, while others are going forward or have already been completed. Here’s an overview of where we’re headed.
We’ve just completed the move of all our web sites and mail domains to outsourced servers managed by hardware specialists. This is a substantial shift in how we do business, based on prevailing market conditions. There was no way to make the transition painless, especially with the mail service, but there are several great advantages to the change. We will save money—well over $1,500 per month. Moreover, staff time previously spent on hardware management can now be concentrated on other projects. Most important, when we experience a spike in traffic, as we did when John Paul II died and Benedict XVI was elected, the outsourced servers should be able to handle the load. This should work out especially well for users of our larger sites, such as CatholicCulture, Catholic World News, and New Advent.
Our site redesign is well underway. We’ve pushed it back just a little in favor of doing the outsourcing, but during the course of the summer you’ll see some major visual changes which should not only make the site more interesting but make it easier for you to find just what you need in our ever-growing collection of resources.
Work on the Fathers of the Church has reached an important milestone. We’ve completed the introductions to some 2,000 Patristic texts and have loaded everything into our database. There the documents will undergo a final review to catch obvious problems. After this final step, the entire collection will be released as a selectable resource with full-text search. This means that you’ll be able to search the Fathers separately or together with our other resources, gathering results from our general library, our website reviews, and the Fathers on any topic you choose.
In the area of Catholic Leisure, I’ve decided to make new (and considerably smaller) plans. While this concept did very well in our poll, it has proved impossible to attract the wide variety of writers necessary to pursue it on a large scale. At the same time, many users enjoyed the colorful and interesting presentations exemplified by our sample articles. For these reasons, the leisure material has been temporarily removed and it will return as one facet of a broader effort to create visually appealing special features. The current presentation on Our Lady of Fatima is a good example. We’ll develop these features and present them as they become available, without focusing exclusively on any one area of interest.
Finally, you may have noticed that April was a singularly unsuccessful month for us in terms of fund-raising, May has started off a little better, and I would not mind at all if our users joined together to push this higher. Let’s let April be nothing more than an unpleasant financial memory! With fund-raising as with the cultivation of virtue, the future is always more important than the past.
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