About Sites for Scholars

& About Me

Sites for Scholars is an initiative of Ilse Oosterlaken, a freelance content manager and web designer / developer who also has more than 10 years of experience in academia, both as a researcher and in administrative positions.

A Short Web-Related Bio

In 2005 I became responsible for the website of a tiny NGO where I was hired as the only employee. The rudimentary site needed urgent work, but I did not have any budget for it. So I had to figure out how to do it myself – fortunately I could rely on the technical skills and generous help of my husband.

In the decade after that I worked (part-time) as all-round coordinator of several new academic collaborations / initiatives (while also getting a PhD and doing two postdocs). In each of those jobs I also became responsible for managing the development and content of a website. In those early cases I still worked with external web designers/developers, expanding my own knowledge and skill set in the process.

I kept noticing how much pleasure and satisfaction working on websites gives me. It requires creativity, technical skills, thinking about communication goals, structuring and writing. Online courses on topics like HTML, JavaScript, PHP, content management and search engine optimization (SEO) gave me the confidence to start building sites myself for a number of academic employers and clients. Adding to my skill set is a minor in journalism and, more recently, a course in (copy) editing.

In 2018 I decided to launch ‘Sites for Scholars’. My strength is that I combine all-round web-related skills with more than 10 years of experience in academia (both as a researcher and in administrative positions) and an interdisciplinary background (comprising philosophy, the social sciences & engineering). This enables me to understand what my customers need.

Ilse Oosterlaken

Ilse Oosterlaken

On a more personal note:

I am trying to learn Japanese at the moment and practice zen meditation. In my free time I enjoy gardening and crafts / do-it-yourself projects. I am married and have a cat named Nussbaum. My place of residence is Breda, The Netherlands.

The Extras I Bring to the Table

Of course my web related skills are essential to a successful project. But I believe that the following factors also help me to create value for you:

Extensive experience in academia

I have more than 10 years experience in academia, both as a scholar and in administrative positions. I have completed a doctoral dissertation, published articles, edited books, reviewed manuscripts, written a monograph. I have (co-)written successful grant applications, organized large international conferences and other events, and served on the board of an academic association. I have given tutorials and lectures and supervised students writing their master thesis. I have been responsible for (co-)managing the start-up phase of several research centers and schools. This involved tasks in areas such as policy making, organization development and communication, and required me to collaborate with various support services of the universities in question. In short: I know from first-hand experience how academia works.

Multidisciplinary background

I have a bachelor degree in technology & society, including courses such as economics and psychology and with architecture as my technical major. My master specialization was in technology and development studies. I also have a bachelor degree in philosophy. My doctoral dissertation was in the field of philosophy / ethics of technology, and written as part of a project in which I worked with industrial designers. In short: I am a generalist who is able to communicate with a wide range of specialists. It would be my pleasure to help you bring across what your research or academic initiative is about.

I have been you - the client / user

Before I learned how to build websites myself, I had already been responsible for several websites – both for managing the process of having the website build by a professional web designer / developer, and for managing the content of the site after its launch. So I know what it is like to be in your shoes.

Not Just a web Professional …

I love working on websites, so I discovered over the years. But I also love variety and learning new things. Hence I sometimes work in other capacities as well. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in any of these services:

All-round coordinator

I love being the spider in the web of new collaborative initiatives, getting them up and going – as I have in the past done for the 4TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology, the Dutch Research School of Philosophy, and the John Stuart Mill College. Currently I am a part-time project manager at the Delft Design for Values Institute.

Event organizer

Over the years I have organized many different types of events of different sizes. The largest so far was the 2011 conference of the Human Development & Capability Association, with ±375 participants from about 40 different countries and 7 pre-conference events.

Research consultant

I am available for conducting literature reviews and writing issue papers. My areas of expertise include responsible innovation, ethics of technology, design for values and the capability approach of Sen & Nussbaum.

One of My Inspirations

"Why Some of Us Do Not Have One True Calling"

In this TEDx talk Emily Wapnick introduces the concept of a ‘multipotentalite’: somebody who combines many different pursuits and projects in her life. Watching this talk a few years back was an eye-opener for me. I realized that I could leave my identity as a scholar behind without needing another single professional identity to fill the gap.

See Some of the Web Projects

I’ve Done So Far