Merlin Update: Pilot Announcement & Summer Timeline

The PBS Interactive team is continuing to work its magic on Project Merlin this week with the launch of its first pilot test program.  To ensure geographical diversity during the test, thirteen pilot stations have been selected from across the country to help fine-tune the new features of Merlin's database and feed content.  Congratulations and thank you to WNJN, OPB, WETA, WGBH, KNME, KETA, WTTW, WHYY, KUAT, KQED, KETC, KLRU, and WPBT!

If you need a reminder of what Project Merlin is all about, visit the Merlin Resource Center on Station Remote Control (You'll need your station's SRC login to access it).

As PBS gears up to launch the new Merlin-powered, the Station Products & Innovation team will be using information from the pilot program to accomplish several goals this summer.  While pilot stations test the processes of adding local content to Merlin, the SPI team will be receiving feedback to improve site functionality and ensure high-quality user experiences.  Additionally, the test program will allow SPI to improve documentation for stations and plan for the nationwide rollout of Merlin later this year.  Pilot testing will also help PBS determine the best practices of station participation within Merlin, refine local content strategies, and streamline administrative workflows.

Starting this week, Chicago's WTTW will begin the first phase of Merlin alpha testing.  WTTW has volunteered to help provide initial frontline feedback on the system's administrative performance by populating Merlin with real local information and testing the workflow for setting up and managing a station account. 

By June 24th, the remaining twelve pilot stations will join WTTW for the first phase of Merlin beta testing.  The pilot group will be testing the ingestion of basic local content into the Merlin database and RSS content feeds.  Information gained from the beta test will be vital to the smooth and successful rollout of Merlin to the entire PBS system.  During this period, SPI will be working closely with stations to solve any problems revealed during testing.  The SPI team also be continuing its revision and enhancement of Merlin documentation, FAQs, and best practices guides for stations.

PBS Interactive is continuing to perform its wizardry on the OawvInRaf4 of Project Merlin.  We'll have more updates as the project continues to evolve, so stay tuned to our blog for more Merlin news every week.

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