Shaping a Web for Inclusion, by Andrew J. Dunn
PASAweb--the Short History
The Vice President, Secretary and a Committee Member of PASA all had some experience using the Internet prior to the PASAweb effort. In addition, a number of other Executive members had exposure to the Internet through their attendance at university or other post secondary schools.
Exposure to the Internet in the workplace was impossible by way of the employer, SAPOL, as there are no formal internet connections or connection protocols in the department.
In late 1995 Committee member, Andrew Dunn, placed a formal proposal to establish an Internet presence by way of a World Wide Web site on the table. The proposal received strong support and interested discussion ensued over several meetings. Broad budgetary considerations were addressed as were purpose and impact.
The developers of PASAweb all gained their knowledge of the Internet at home on their private ISP connections. When PASAweb was adopted as a project a number of accounts were obtained for the PASA office. PASA members still connect with PASAweb in the main from home Internet connections because the employer simply doesn't have any Internet connections at the workplace! Some members of course can connect during duty time from other places--just not their workplace. Many PASA members undertake post-secondary and tertiary education and as result of those studies had knowledge of and often access to the Internet.
Approval was granted and a budget allocated in the first quarter of 1996 with a target date for a live Web site for May 30, 1996. PASAweb was a little late in going live, although the masked Web site existed in April 1996.
PASAweb now consists of over 50 web pages that equate to well over 500 printed pages of information. The Web site is written and published entirely in house with the assistance of a cooperative ISP and hardware salesperson.
Publishing in house has obvious budgetary relief for any organization. PASAweb has chalked up publishing costs in the vicinity of $4000 at lower than average costings.