FAQ: Calendars & Automation

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Table of Contents

General Calendar Importing Overview

We have developed an automatic event importing feature to allow us to pull in feeds of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign calendar events intended for the public. Here are the benefits:

  • Reduces work (both for you and for us)
  • Streamlines the process of posting your events
  • Collect as many University-related events as possible

While the importing process is automated, Public Engagement Portal staff review and moderate all calendar events before they become publicly visible.

Calendars we import

We currently have the ability to pull events from the following calendaring systems:

If you maintain your events in a different calendar system which has the ability to produce an XML feed, feel free to contact us to discuss the feasibility of pulling events into the Public Engagement Portal automatically from your calendar!

Best Practices (or How to Make Sure Your Event Gets Into the Public Engagement Portal)

Calendar events go through a vetting process before appearing in the Public Engagement Portal. Check the What can I find on the Public Engagement Portal listing to get a sense of the types of University-related programs & events in the Public Engagement Portal. Here are some tips to ensure that your public engagement event or program gets into the Public Engagement Portal:

  • Our favorite thing to see noted on a calendar event is "open to the public."
  • If your event is not fully open to the public but connects to the public in some way, we still want to include it! We just need to know the participation details (e.g. "open to high school teachers" or "for 2nd graders at Kenwood Elementary School").
  • We require some type of contact information (phone number, email address, or contact form link).
  • We require a reasonably detailed description.
    • Think about your audience (How would describe your event to someone unaffiliated with the University?).
    • Remember the 5 W's: Who? What? When? Where? Why?
    • Acronyms are not your friend. Don't assume people know what your acronym stands for; spell it out!

Calendar Importing: Workflow

Here's how an event gets from its original calendaring system into the Public Engagement Portal.

  1. Sponsoring unit enters event in their calendaring system (e.g. WebTools).
  2. Public Engagement Portal's automated system periodically checks external calendaring system's XML feed for new events.
  3. When new event is found, our system pulls it into a Calendar Moderation section.
  4. If the event is appropriate for the Public Engagement Portal (see Best Practices section), a moderator annotates and approves it.
  5. Approved event then moves to Entry Moderation queue where a moderator checks entry for accuracy, accessibility, completeness, and additional annotation.
  6. Event is now publicly visible and linked in Public Engagement Portal Calendar!

Event Importing Timeframe

We moderate based on event timeframe rather than creation date. We prioritize moderation of events coming up soon, so distant events can take longer to appear on the Public Engagement Portal.

If you need an event publicized immediately, contact us to ensure it receives prompt attention. Examples of situations where you may want to contact us include:

  • Your event takes place many months in the future but has an imminent registration deadline.
  • You just entered a calendar event which takes place in the next couple of days.