UThink Migration Strategies

Due to reduced usage, security concerns, and campus support of comparable tools such as Blogger, Sites, Moodle, and Drupal, UThink will be decommissioned on June 30, 2015. Additionally, no new blogs may be created after June 30, 2014.

Support Requests

For guidance on how to migrate your UThink blog, please contact uthink@umn.edu.  Please be advised, none of these migration options will give you a perfect conversion of your blog into a new platform.  All of these options require work on your part, both to manipulate your data and create your site's "look and feel" on a new platform.  Unfortunately, there is no easy way to move from one platform to another.

Before contacting uthink@umn.edu for support, think about what you want to preserve out of your blog. Do you want your blog entries, comments, images, video, audio, or uploads? Do you want a copy of your blog to archive on your computer or in the cloud? Do you want the blog to live on in a new platform like Blogger, WordPress or Drupal? Note that your blog is most likely already archived in the Internet Archive.

Exporting your media files
If you need assistance with exporting your images, video, audio and other uploaded content, please contact uthink@umn.edu. We can send them to you in a compressed folder (ZIP, RAR, TAR). Alternatively, advanced users can try using Wget to retrieve files from the UThink web server: http://www.gnu.org/software/wget/

Exporting your blog entries and comments
You can export your blog entries and comments as a text file by going to Tools > Export. 

Exporting to WordPress or Drupal
Advanced users may find reading on using the Movable Type Backup feature for importing into systems like WordPress. If you find steps that require this, please contact uthink@umn.edu.

Local copy of your blog files
We can use a free tool called WinHTTrack to capture an entire blog and create a local copy that you could store on a CD or cloud server. The advantage of WinHTTrack is that it looks for external files that your blog depends on, downloads them, and then updates the link in the code. In short, the local copy can stand on its own as a static archive, though you'll lose functionality such as commenting, creating new entries, and any server-side dynamic scripting like PHP.

Initial Considerations

Inevitably you will have to do some initial setup of the new location of your blog, and we believe that in all cases it will be easier to start over at the beginning with a new template than to try to emulate the exact look of your UThink blog. For most users, it will not be worth their time to keep the exact look of your UThink blog, but there is no reason why choosing a tool like Blogger, Sites or Drupal should mean a loss of functionality or content. If your UThink blog has a lot of customization, you might need web development support within your department that goes beyond the support that uthink@umn.edu can offer.

Functionality

Start by making a list of what you need your blog to do. Here are some ideas:

  • Will authors make blog posts or more sophisticated page content?

  • Does it need to be mobile friendly?

  • Do you need ...

    • to restrict view access?

    • to restrict edit access, or do you want to allow anonymous posting? (If you allow anonymous posting, spam could become an issue.)

    • RSS feeds?

    • to be able to edit HTML and CSS?

    • to run scripts (Javascript, PHP)?

    • page analytics (tracking user visits)?


Then take a look at our Feature Comparison Chart. Contact uthink@umn.edu if you are uncertain which tools will suit all of your needs.

Notice

This page changes frequently as we learn from individual migration experiences. Check back often! If you are logged into UMN Google Apps, you can subscribe to site changes under the More menu. If you do not see the More menu, click the Sign In tab.

Recent Announcements

  • 2014-07-28 Update: new template for WordPress and Drupal migrations We've updated the tabs for Drupal and WordPress which now includes a method for creating a template in your UThink blog that generates a file that looks like a WordPress export file, making it easier to use WordPress' import function and Drupal's migration options for WordPress. This should allow for more complete migrations.
    Posted Jul 28, 2014, 2:21 PM by Charles Heinz
  • 2014-05-30 : Internet Archive and WinHTTrack New! Information has been posted in the General Options tab about the Internet Archive and using WinHTTrack to copy your blog.
    Posted May 30, 2014, 12:20 PM by Charles Heinz
  • 2014-03-24: UThink will be retired on Dec 31st Please be advised that University Libraries and University IT will retire the UThink system, and sites within the UThink domain no longer will be available after December 31, 2014.    The decision to retire UThink was based on several factors, including:  Reduced usageOverall UThink usage has been decreasing at a steady rate. Since 2008, UThink sites have dropped from 1,000 active sites to 500 currently.Significant security issuesThere have been increased and consistent attacks by spammers, and battling these spam attacks takes system resources away from more important needs that support the University’s mission. There are now a number of more robust and secure U of M-supported technologies and software alternatives to serve the needs currently ...
    Posted Mar 24, 2014, 11:54 AM by Shane Nackerud
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