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Getting started

Welcome to UMW Lablogs!

This is a tutorial that will walk you through the process of setting up your own blog as well as customizing it to act as a repository for your labs. Most of what gets covered here is specific to the setup you will need to do for this class, to learn more about UMW Blogs and the specifics of WordPress (the publishing platform we are using) you can find the support and documentation pages here.

Step One: Get a blog

This is quite simple. Go to http://umwblogs.org/wp-signup.php and enter a username and your UMW e-mail (you will have to use your UMW e-mail, for this is the mechanism to limit who gets a blog to the Mary Washington community). After that specify a subdomain name and your blog title. Once you’ve done that, you’re finished. You will receive an e-mail thereafter with a confirmation link and your login information.

Please note: If you already have a blog on UWM Blogs, you can skip this step and just login in on the frontpage of UWM Blogs and then return to the homepage (http://umwblogs.org) and click on the “Get a new blog” link. You don;t need to sign-up twice to get another blog.

Step Two: Activate the FeedWordPress Plugin

After you’ve gotten your blog, you should login into it. Once in the administrative backend of your blog, you should look for the Plugins tab (to the far right of the admin screen) and activate a plugin titled FeedWordPress. Plugins provide additional functionality to your blog, and this plugin in particular will allow you to bring the work you do in your biology lab into your own web space. Once you activate this plugin, you can find the control panel in the new tab that programmatically appears titled Syndication.

Step three: Adding the URL (or XML feed) for your personal lab to FeedWordPress:

This step may seem the most abstract, but it is actually the logic behind having you get a lab notebook. FeedWordPress is the tool that will include your online lab work into your own personal web space (your lablog). Professor Gallik will be providing each of you with a unique URI that is actually a XML (Extensible Markup Language) file that will format your work in very specific ways so that it can be exported to a variety of different locations on the web (for example this blog).

The URL will look something like the following (note it will not be the following, nor will any two students have the same URL):


Once you have this URI, you will copy and paste it into FeedWordPress

Add your lablog feed to FeedWordPress

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As you can see from the image above, you need to take the URI for your lab work that prof Gallik provides you with, and copy it into the text box indicated by the arrow above.

Once you have copied in the URI, click on the “Syndicate” button to test the feed.

Check feed

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You will be taken to new page, and if you see something similar to what’s shown in the image above, then simply click on the “Use this feed” button. If you’re feed isn’t recognized, contact me, Jim Groom, at ext 1997 or jgroom_at_umw.edu.

Step four: Changing the Options in FeedWordPress

Next, you need to setup the options. Click on the Syndication–>Options subtab and you will see a list of options. You should change a few things:

Options for FeedWordPress

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Also, be sure to add a new category for this feed titled lablogs.

Add category Lablogs

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Choose your preferences for the comment settings as shown below.

Options for comment settings

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Once you’re done with the options save your changes.

Step five: Update your feed

Finally, when you are finished saving the options, go to the main syndication page and check the radio box next to your link. After that, click on the “Update checked links” button.

Update this feed

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After that, you’re all done. View the front page of your lab notebook to see if everything worked out.

If you have any trouble with this process, please feel free to contact Jim Groom at jgroom_at_umw.edu, or ext 1997.


1. chousley - August 30, 2007

a bit confusing but i think i got through it

2. dtcell - August 30, 2007


3. reverend - September 1, 2007

@chousley: Excellent. If you can give me an idea of what was confusing that would be great so that I can streamline the instructions.

@dtcelll: Well done!

4. cocoasweetness - September 1, 2007


5. Megan Roadley - September 2, 2007

I think I got it…

6. aguillot - September 2, 2007

Okay, I’m pretty sure I did it all right…

7. reverend - September 2, 2007

You guys are on the way to becoming full-fledged Jedis!

8. whumayon - September 2, 2007

Is this it! am I done or not, now how will i know that.

9. rjcowen - September 3, 2007

i did it!

10. jbullock - September 4, 2007

is this working? I think so.

11. Taylor - September 5, 2007

My laptop is currently out of commission.

12. strawberry kiwi - August 30, 2008

think i got it.

13. Acai Berry Burn - February 11, 2009

thanks !! very helpful post!