This page contains information about the team members, the formation of the team, how we worked on the website, the roadblocks we faced, and acknowledgements.
The Making of Virtual Bookshelf
The four of us study in the same school but we come from diverse backgrounds.
Eesha was born and brought up in West Bengal, in the eastern part of the country. Her family belongs to the ancient Indian warrior class, and is settled in the state of Uttar Pradesh. She and her parents moved to Delhi, the national capital, four years ago. To go to Eesha’s page, click here.
Neehal belongs to Andhra Pradesh and Telugu is her mother tongue. She has stayed in cities like Mumbai, Nagpur, Hyderabad and Kolkata before shifting to Delhi 3 years ago. She is good in studies and has obtained a national rank in the International Informatics Olympiad and hence she is a valuable asset to the team. To go to Neehal’s page, click here.
Suhasini and Vrinda are first cousins. They were born in Delhi and have lived there since. Their paternal and maternal grandparents were born in Punjab. The tragic tales of partition often told by their grandfather have left an indelible impression on their minds. The pain that he narrates makes the recent amplification of communalism and narrow-minded, jingoistic politics in India exceptionally painful to both of them. To view Suhasini’s page, click here. To view Vrinda’s page, click here.
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The team was formed by volunteers for participating in a website design competition. Little did we know that the competition we volunteered for, would be a global competition on such a large scale! Eesha, Neehal and Vrinda initially constituted the team. Suhasini joined us a little later.
We decided on the topic of ‘books’, as that was a common interest all the team members shared. We had in fact often wished for a site such as this to refer to, when in doubt about what to read.
We started by listing down the common favourites, and asking all our friends, family and classmates about their favourites. The conclusions of that survey are the basis of this website. The ‘Hot Ten’ list that has the series or books read the most by the people in our age group (available on our Books page).
After we had the list ready, we went about writing the synopses of the books on it. All these have been written by us in as unbiased a manner as possible, as we wanted the readers to able to judge the book without our expressing any opinion on it. We also wanted to give the viewers exhaustive information on every book that we were writing about. That is why we took special care to include the all the official sites, and as many fan sites as we could.
After that, we started thinking about what we wanted our website to look like. You might have noticed our colour scheme is based on woody colours to resemble a library, and its solemnity. The background of each page is actually a photograph of handmade paper taken by the team. The banner at the top of the page has been created completely by Neehal. It displays quotes by famous people about books.
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Although the making of this website was a lot of fun, it was not very easy, and there were difficulties along the way. However, these challenges made our project a lot more interesting to work on.
One of the problems we faced was not getting enough time to discuss our project in school, because we had to work around our class schedules. Each one of us being in a different section, was free at different times, so the only time available was the twenty-five minute lunch break. However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because this forced us to find time after school, and we met at each others' places. This helped us get to know one another better, and become good friends in the process. Even our parents came to know one another this way!
Access to a computer was also a problem in school, as children outside their classrooms are often suspected to be 'bunking'. In spite of plausible explanations, we were often not allowed to work in school. The USB drives we used to exchange information in school got infected by viruses. Eesha had to have her home PC formatted to get rid of a pernicious infection carried by the USB drive.
A lot of us didn't have all the software required to do our work. This caused a lot of problems, as we live quite far off from each other, and coming to each others' houses was not always practicable. We thought that delegating tasks among ourselves would solve this problem to an extent. However, this created further complications because everyone's work looked different whereas the website had to look centrally unified. This required us to extensively edit our web pages many times over.
Working through these roadblocks has taught us some fundamental concepts of planning and management. First and foremost, we learnt to work as a team. There was no team leader; we delegated tasks by consensus. We learnt to share ideas, judge them impartially and accept the best one. We learnt the importance of time management and effective communication. It helped that we became good friends because there were no bitter arguments or hard feelings. Another important learning from this process, was how to leverage each others' core strengths, so that the best of each member's abilities was harnessed for the web site.
It has been a wonderful and educative experience as it has given us a sense of accomplishment in overcoming the roadblocks to achieve a common objective.
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The making of this website would not have been possible without the moral support, inputs and guidance of certain special people whom we would like to acknowledge. Our parents, for their love and for instilling in us a love of books; our friends, for their inputs and for being enthusiastic about what we were doing. Also, our classmates for bearing with our persistent questioning!
We would also like to thank our friends Tanisha and Ishani, great lovers of books themselves, who gave us some very valuable inputs; Ms Anjali , Mrs Suhasini, Mr Jam and Mr Cole for sharing with us their knowledge of web design; Ms Shubhagata for taking our photographs; Mr Kavindra for help with research; and Mr Venkatesh for support and encouragement.
Last but not the least, we would like to acknowledge our coach Ms Punita, for her guidance.
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