10/20/2008 | 1 MINUTE READ

Keeping Current Is Critical

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On many Web sites, it is hard to distinguish new information from old. On your site, keep the most recent news in the forefront, and eliminate any pages that are no longer relevant.

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When you read a magazine or newspaper, chances are you have a pretty good idea of how current the publication is. Most likely it’s one of the most recent editions that you’ve just received in the mail or picked up off your desk. Or, perhaps you’re browsing through some back issues for research purposes. Either way, you already know or quickly check the issue dates, and therefore the potential timeliness of the information is quite apparent.

As is the case in many other fields, success in a technology-driven industry such as ours requires close attention to the latest trends and advances in processes and equipment. That’s really the main purpose of reading technical publications such as Production Machining in the first place. And that’s why it is important for us, as editors, to continue to visit knowledgeable shops and suppliers and report to you what’s new.

Problems arise, though, when certain outdated information is fed to readers in such a way as to appear current. And no medium is more susceptible to this concern as the Internet. In early September, a 6-year-old news story began re-circulating on the Internet. It was a prime example of the harm old news can do when it is broadcast as new. The story told of the pending bankruptcy filing for a major airline. That airline’s stock proceeded to plummet in value more than 75 percent in a matter of hours. (The stock was halted in late morning, re-opened about an hour later and ended down 11 percent at market-close.)

When PM’s new Web site went online at the beginning of this year, it included a feature that allows editors to tag articles for review or expiration (removal from the site) after a specified amount of time. Articles are also posted with dates to let the reader know how long the article has been available.

You, too, should include a formal process for regular maintenance and review of your site. It’s an important step in establishing a practical, credible resource.

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