This Is AuburnAUrora

This Goodly Land: Creating an Online Reference Source


Coates, Midge
Coates, Mildred


This paper describes the creation of the online literary map This Goodly Land: Alabama's Literary Landscape, from January 2005 through June 2011. The literary map was designed and created at Auburn University by a small paid staff assisted by volunteers from around the state. Funding was a combination of grant support from state arts organizations and grant and in-kind support from the university. In its fullest form, the project consisted of 168 author profiles, nine audio podcasts, one streaming video, 23 lesson plans created for the site and links to 19 external lesson plans, a calendar-based reading list, and an interactive feature "This Day in Alabama Literary History." Page views showed that use of the resource paralleled the academic year but increased from one year to the next. Factors in the project's success included support from Auburn University, state funding agencies, and stakeholder organizations, a modular design (core content first, features later), a dedicated project manager, and effective use of volunteers. Additional recommendations for those planning similar projects include: 1) a descriptive project name; 2) target audience research; 3) granular user tracking; 4) online promotion; and 5) a sustainability plan updated annually.