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  • 2000 NativeWeb Annual Report

    NativeWeb experienced steady growth during 2000. We continue to add links to the resource database, book titles to the Book Center, and have steadily expanded the number of Indigenous organizations and groups for which we provide hosting services.

    Amherst Meeting

    On September 23, 2000, NativeWeb had its first in-person meeting of board members at Peter d'Errico's house outside of Amherst, Massachusetts. This was an incredibly productive meeting, and the following is a brief summary of the outcomes of the meeting:

    • We ascertained our actual & perceived Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT analysis).
    • We decided to give up on using volunteers-can't develop the site with them, and it probably won't happen until we have salaried staff.
    • We worked on identifying funding sources, and devised plans for future development.
    • We decided to close the general message board-it has become more of a hassle than it is worth. Since lists tend to be problematic, we'll only agree to host them on a case by case basis, and normally they should be moderated.
    • Syracuse University law school is following through on our 501c3 status, and David will stay on top of it.
    • We decided to keep multiple administrative lists which will function as a group filing system, and add another nw-fyi list.
    • We decided to proceed with plans to accept advertising, and approved Carmel's advertising agreement.
    • The e-commerce mall (nw.com) is a much larger project with many inherent difficulties. We're not yet ready for this.

    Funding

    The BOD agreed to form a funding committee to coordinate and focus our efforts to obtain grants and other support. Tara began building a database of potential grant agencies based on information from The National Indian Grant Directory. Peter subscribed to an email grants information list and receives daily summaries of private and governmental funding opportunities. This information will be used to prepare letters of inquiry to specific agencies. A basic precondition to receiving grants is granting of 501c3 status, a process which David is supervising in conjunction with Syracuse University Law School. Interim non-profit status meanwhile allows us to solicit donations via PayPal, check, and money order. An explanation and call for donations page was posted on the site.

    Technical

    During the fall of 2000 we made several significant changes to the server:

    • we shut down the public message boards;
    • we purchased and subsequently installed a Merak Mail server to replace winserver, which will provide us with more reliable email capabilities;
    • we upgraded the site to use PHP 4;
    • we began to use our nativeweb.net domain to provide free email addresses through everyone.net; and
    • we have added a more powerful and comprehensive search engine which allows people to conduct keyword searches of our resource database.

    Future plans include:

    • redevelopment of the database system to expand information center capabilities, better organize data, and make data easier to search;
    • integrate syndication technologies into the site, both to syndicate our own materials, and to add new resources syndicated from other sites;
    • build information center portal to better integrate information services from multiple locations; and
    • develop e-commerce capabilities.

    Advertising

    Over the course of the past year, NativeWeb has agreed to begin to accept limited advertising from native or native-related groups to support our activities. The Advertising Policy and Advertising Kit (including statistical information and banner ad sizing) are now available on our web site. We are currently in the process of contacting people and organizations with respect to advertising on NativeWeb. An email account for "advertising@nativeweb.org" has been established and will be utilized for the purpose of soliciting advertisers and responding to any requests for advertising. We plan to send out a minimum of two solicitations per week to potential advertisers.

    Another new project is the selection of "banner ads" for positioning on strategic pages of NativeWeb (ie., main page, category pages and sub-category pages) where we want to sell ads. We will soon have the scripting in place to display these banner ads that will open a separate page to the advertisers site, leaving the main page still showing NativeWeb. Once these are in place, we should notice an increase in interest for advertising on NativeWeb.

    Hosted Sites

    NativeWeb continues to expand its hosting service for Indigenous peoples and organizations. Currently, we have 37 hosted sites (http://www.nativeweb.org/hosted/) on our server. During the past year, we have added the following sites:

    • Federación Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indígenas y Negras (Quichua, Ecuador)
    • Escuela de Formación de Mujeres Lideres Dolores Cacuango (Quichua, Ecuador)
    • Confederación Sindical de Colonizadores de Bolivia (Quechua, Bolivia)
    • Indigenous Law Institute (USA)
    • Pintores de Tigua: Indigenous Artists of Ecuador (Quichua, Ecuador)
    • Federación de Comunas Unión de Nativos de la Amazonía Ecuatoriana (Quichua, Ecuador)
    • Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (Lakota, USA)
    • Fundación Agri-Cultura Marcos Orozco (Maya, Guatemala)

    In addition, NativeWeb has also expanded its hosting services to include on a fee-based system other sites that are consistent with NativeWeb's vision and mission. We have begun hosting two sites under this catagory:

    • Fair Trade Resource Network (http://www.fairtraderesource.org/)
    • The People's Geography Project (http://www.peoplesgeography.org/)

    Over the course of the next year, NativeWeb plans to expand these hosting services that have proven to be both an important service to Indigenous peoples and an important resource to the public in general.

    Resource Database

    The resource database has always been the central piece of NativeWeb. Even though we are now expanding hosted sites, free email, and other community-based activities, the database remains the reason most visitors come to our website. At this time, we have links to almost 4300 Internet resources: 3150 in the main database, and 930 in the Bookcenter. We add approximately 10-15 new links per week, but this is increasing as NativeWeb becomes more popular and the submittals rise. We also attract a larger number of inappropriate or nuisance submittals, usually by businesses that have no relation to native or indigenous matters. Approximately one of three submittals is rejected.

    The main categories of the database have remained largely unchanged during the past year. Some categories were promoted from sublevels to main categories, of which we now have 32. The Bookcenter has approximately 40 main categories, almost completely unchanged from a year ago.

    During the period October-December, 2000, the most requested resources from the database as a whole include History, the Bookcenter, Law and Legal Issues, and Genealogy.

    After experimenting with two less than successful search engines, a fully comprehensive search engine was added in November. During the period October-December, 2000, this search page was the most requested page on the website.

    Because of the database, NativeWeb has grown in prominence during the present school year beginning in September, 2000. Daily unique visitors have risen during some months above 4,000. Unlike a year ago, NativeWeb is now featured prominently in over 300 other website lists of important links. NativeWeb was added to the Institute for Scientific Information premium collection of academic websites, our second top honor in addition to being one of the first informational 20 sites listed by the National Endowment of Humanities. A further indication of our popularity is that Internet spiders now attempt to probe our site on an increasing basis. During the period October, 2000, through January, 2001, the file ROBOTS.TXT rose from the tenth most requested file to the fifth most requested file.

    Most important to NativeWeb colleagues, the standards for submitted site acceptance has become quite standardized in most areas. Non-native products and businesses are routinely denied listings. However, we still need to expand our definitions of who/what belongs or doesn't.

    However, several major tasks remain. First, NativeWeb must better deal with, and categorize, the wide varieties of recognized and non-recognized tribes, nations, bands, clans, and groups. This is primarily an issue with native Americans, where an increasing number of individual organizations are banding together into groups seeking federal BIA recognition. Second, NativeWeb must separate out the businesses and products from the more informational websites, and perhaps create a separate database listing under a NativeWeb mall or other business-oriented grouping. Third, NativeWeb must develop a better and more regular method of testing broken links. This is so time-consuming that it is done only on a yearly basis.

    Summary

    As we move into the year 2001, we continue to work diligently on a variety of projects. We continue our efforts to raise funds to ensure the continued survival of NativeWeb, and to build an e-mall which would provide a commercial space on the web for native vendors. Our goal is to be able to hire paid staff in order to assure the continued success of the project. We have grown to the point where it is difficult for us to function on a solely volunteer basis.





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