jump to navigation

#35-Monitoring Web Page Changes: http://www.WatchThatPage.com

February 04, 2004

LTA Overview

Despite the best of intentions, busy professionals may not have the time or discipline to systematically monitor relevant professional, political, media or scientific websites for new information. Perhaps readers of this LTA have already defaulted on one or more of their New Year’s resolutions:

Credits

Ellen R. Cohn PhD CCC-SLP
Assistant Dean for Instruction
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Associate Professor
Department of Communication Science and Disorders
University of Pittsburgh
ecohn@pitt.edu

Bernard Hibbitts LL.M.
Professor, School of Law
University of Pittsburgh
Hibbitts@law.pitt.edu
http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/

all LTAs by this author…

One way of keeping up with new website additions that has been getting a lot of press lately–largely driven by the buzz about blogs–is by subscribing to a given site’s RSS feed, which will automatically and periodically notify you of new content in a so-called “news aggregator” which may be a separate desktop application or a web-based application provided by a third party. The LTA of the Week site is available via RSS.

But most websites do not yet provide RSS feeds to readers, and many never will. How do you monitor those pages? Given that RSS is rather “take it or leave it,” how can you control precisely what changes on a website you are notified of? And how do you monitor website changes convenienty without using yet another solution or having to (re-) open your browser all of the time? This LTA describes a solution–a free easy-to-use, web-based service that enables registered subscribers to monitor text-based changes to selected web pages in a customized and confidential fashion. The generated reports are delivered to the user’s e-mail, and/or appear in a protected area of the WatchThatPage website: “Your Profile.”

ATS Consulting, an Oslo, Norway based consulting firm, launched WatchThatPage.com in November 2001. The site URL is:

http://www.watchthatpage.com/

For a quick tour of WatchThatPage.com, visit:

http://www.watchthatpage.com/tutorial.jsp

LTA Outcomes

Potential outcomes of this LTA are as follows:

  1. Readers will acquire a new and unique tool to monitor web page changes.
  2. Readers will use WatchThatPage.com to receive alerts and information concerning changes on web pages of interest.
  3. Webmasters will promptly be alerted to missing or broken links to their web pages.
  4. Webmasters and IT supervisors will monitor if/when scheduled changes were made to web pages, via both the periodic WatchThatPage.com reports, and the archive feature.

LTA Technical Requirements

This LTA requires little technical expertise aside from basic word processing and e-mail and internet access skills.

LTA Procedures

The procedure is simple:

Log-into http://WatchThatPage.com. First time users will need to register and create a customized profile.

Subscribers will then need to consider the following options:

Lta35.01  Lta35.02  Lta35.03

Sample Report

The following is an actual report for January 9, 2004. Though the subscriber monitors three web pages of JURIST, the legal news and education portal, the report reveals that only one web page changed:

WatchThatPage: 1 page changed ************************************************ Differences in page http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/ ************************************************ Friday US law and business press review [http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2004_01_04_indexarch.htm]  Law in Friday's foreign press [http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2004_01_04_indexarch.htm]  This day at law - Suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt born [http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2004_01_04_indexarch.htm]  PM legal news brief - Former Enron CFO wife's plea bargain accepted [http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2004_01_04_indexarch.htm]  AM legal news brief - US insists on right to declare citizens "enemy combatants" [http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2004_01_04_indexarch.htm]  Thursday US law and business press review [http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2004_01_04_indexarch.htm]  Law in Thursday's foreign press [http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2004_01_04_indexarch.htm]  Sorry for my faulty memory -- I remember the story, and the name of the reporter, and so many details of the fabricated articles. I don't know why it remains so vivid -- perhaps because it was a rare occurrence; perhaps because the article about the young.... [more] [http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/lawreporting/2004_01_01_indexarch.htm]  FEATURE WEBCAST  International War Crimes Trials: Making a Difference? University of Texas School of Law Recorded 11/6-7/03 [http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2003/102303_warcrimes.html]  More webcasts... [http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/live.htm]  Bush Immigration Proposal Would Reward Lawlessness Prof. William G. Ross Cumberland School of Law, Samford Univ. JURIST Contributing Editor William G. Ross says that although it may be well-intentioned, the President's plan to grant temporary amnesty to illegal aliens suffers from significant legal, moral and practical infirmities. [http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forum/forumnew134.php]  Read his op-ed. Published 1/9/04 Submit your op-ed [http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forum/forumnew134.php]  Is Justice Colorblind at Guantanamo? Prof. Darryll Jones U. Pittsburgh Sch. Law Published 12/19/03 [http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forum/jones/jones5.php]

Web-based Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

WatchThatPage.com’s web-based accessibility was assessed using the online version of Watchfire Corporation’s Bobby software:

http://bobby.watchfire.com/bobby/html/en/index.jsp

Please refer to http://jade.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/lta/archives/lta40.php

As of the time of this writing, (01/09/03), the WatchThatPage.com website did not meet the requirements for Bobby approved status for the checkpoints established in Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act. Therefore, the WatchThatPage.com website might not be easily navigated by persons who are blind (or otherwise unable to read) and require assistive technology to audibly present web-based text. The WatchThatPage.com website failed to provide alternative text for all images (in 21 instances) and to “explicitly associate form controls and their labels with the LABEL element” (in 2 instances).

Because it is text-based, WatchThatPage.com would likely not alert subscribers to meaningful graphical changes on a website unless these were accompanied by textual descriptions.

More Information Regarding Change Detection Services

The link below is to an article written by Steven Bell of Philadelphia University that is related to a variety of “Change Detection Services” in addition to WatchThatPage which is specifically described in this LTA.

http://staff.philau.edu/bells/keepup/detectit.htm

Conclusions:

WatchThatPage.com is a unique and useful service that is free, and easy to use for individuals who do not require assistive technology to audibly present web-based text. WatchThatPage.com has numerous potential applications to scholars and researchers, website supervisors, news services, and virtually every industry. One of the tool’s chief strengths is its capacity to “push” customized web-based information to subscribers, in a manner that does not require them to intentionally visit the website.

Advertisements

Comments»

No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: