Nearly two months ago, thirteen valiant PBS member stations embarked upon a journey that would carry them to the cutting edge of the Internet frontier. These brave public media warriors had been selected to participate in a pilot program for Project Merlin, an initiative to bring PBS into the next generation of online content distribution. Now, at the end of its second month, the pilot has already proven to be a tremendous success.
So far, pilot stations have been hard at work ingesting local content into the new Merlin database. Their contributions are helping PBSi ensure that local content will have a strong presence within Merlin and on the new PBS.org. Pilot stations are also continuing to provide great feedback about the training needs for rolling Merlin out to the rest of the PBS system. For their excellent work so far, we'd like to give a gigantic thank you to our thirteen pilot stations: WNJN, OPB, WETA, WGBH, KNME, KETA, WTTW, WHYY, KUAT, KQED, KETC, KLRU, and WPBT!
Currently, we are working closely with our team of pilot stations to make sure their RSS content feeds are properly adapted to the custom specifications our tech team has designed for Merlin. The pilot stations are also starting to collaborate on a plug-in that will help Wordpress feeds work seamlessly with the Merlin database - a tool that will likely prove to be highly useful to other Wordpress-using stations once Merlin is officially launched.
The system-wide launch of the new Merlin-powered PBS.org is scheduled for early this fall. If your station is just now learning about the project, the SPI blog already has several articles that can serve as a starting point for any Merlin preparations you may need to make:
- An Introduction to Project Merlin: Preparing Your Station Content for the New PBS.org
- Project Merlin, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Content Channels
- Keys to the Merlin Kingdom: PBS Login Accounts Explained
- Taxonomy, Topics, and Tags: Welcome to the Merlin 'T' Party
- Be sure to also check out the SRC Merlin Resource Center!
If you are interested in receiving more news and articles about Merlin features, be sure to bookmark or subscribe to our blog! As pilot stations continue their hard work, the SPI team will be explaining several other important features of the new PBS.org, including:
- User Localization
- TV Schedules
- RSS Specifications
- COVE video support
- How content will surface in the new PBS.org header, footer, right rail, and dynamic lead.
As the new PBS.org launch grows closer, the SPI team will be hosting system-wide webinars to give stations a preview of the new site. During these webinars, we will be sharing best practices and lessons learned during the pilot program. If your station has any questions about the project, feel free to contact us at PBSI_StationServices@pbs.org.