Dr. Greg O'Toole, Ph.D.


  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

This site is an archive of work by Greg O'Toole.

Other resources can be found at:

"Reflected in the pursuit of creative outlets found in the view of Terman's Genetic Studies of Genius, that the 'laws of nature are correlative, not compensatory', that good things go together... Gregory O'Toole can be likened to the Niagara Falls, beautiful to behold but also harnessed to light up the city of Buffalo and environs."  Dr. Walter S. Nosal, Ed.D. Professor, Emeritus, John Carroll University (1918 - 2015)

(Read more comments on Greg's work.)


Curriculum vitae
Prof. Dr. Greg O'Toole, B.S., M.A., Ph.D.
Professor of Web Technology & Data Science

Web Doc
Dr. O'Toole in the B.R.A.I.N. Lab (Biomedical Response Analysis to Information Networks).
College of Information Sciences & Technology
The Pennsylvania State University
Abington College - University Park
gto1 - @ - psu.edu

Philadelphia, PA
greg - @ - openwebby.com

My updated curriculum vitae is now greg.openwebby.com.





E-mail Print PDF


Last Updated on 19 September 2014 15:35

Scientific UX Building

E-mail Print PDF


Last Updated on 19 September 2014 15:35

Custom Drupal Theming for Education and Research

E-mail Print PDF

Custom Drupal 7.xx Theme


TECHNOLOGIES / METHODS Drupal, HTML5, Javascript, CSS3, Firebug, Photoshop, PHP, Aquia Dev Desktop, Textmate

ROLE Drupal Themer, Developer, Integrator

PROJECT DESCRIPTION A custom Drupal theme that has been designed and engineered for the College of IST at Penn State. This is a collaboration with the great professionals at MediaBarn user research and design firm in Washington, DC.

Visit the site on any device: ist.psu.edu

Last Updated on 12 November 2015 14:13

Openwebby iOS (iPhone, iPad) App

E-mail Print PDF


Openwebby. Research building education.

Apache Cordova, Phonegap Build, Objective-C, HTML5, Javascript, CSS3, Firebug, Xcode, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Apple Developer Member Center.

App Designer, Developer

Available soon in the Apple App Store

The official openwebby native mobile app engineered and built specifically for the iOS operating system. The app will soon be freely available the Apple App Store.

Last Updated on 20 August 2014 15:20

Openwebby Android App

E-mail Print PDF


Openwebby. Research building education.

Apache Cordova, Phonegap Build, Java, HTML5, Javascript, CSS3, Firebug, Dreamweaver, Photoshop.

App Designer, Developer

openwebby on Google Play

The official openwebby native mobile app engineered and built specifically for the Android operating system. The app is now freely available on Google Play.

Last Updated on 25 July 2014 14:27

The Life of a Web Technologist

E-mail Print PDF


In an earlier post I wrote about "Making Life Easier With Drush". I just learned about another technology that will also improve the life of a web developer: Git hooks. If you are unfamiliar, Git is distributed versioning control intended for code (but it also works well with other media, like poetry, for example). Special Git hooks super charge Git to allow builders to manage processes like uploading directly to a webserver whenever you push to your master remote instead of having to upload your site with an ftp client. Check out Customizing Git - Git Hooks (http://git-scm.com/book/en/Customizing-Git-Git-Hooks) for more information.

As I was working on this, I started thinking more about the busy, cyclical life of a web technologist, defined as a professional working in web science and technology, design, development, building, research, and teaching. It's a complicated profession, just like a lot of the technologies we work with. To me it makes sense to break down the stages of a web technologist into five general categories:

1. Monitor changes in the industry. In times past history professors, tax lawyers, and medical doctors would all keep up with the new discoveries in their respected fields mainly by reading a few choice journals. Usually this would be done quarterly, when the new issue was published. Today, of course, this is still being done, but as we all know well, things have also changed in many ways, not the least of which has been -- at least for web technologists -- the quantity of these resources and the speed at which the innovations come down the line. Who knows, there might be a hundred competent resources out there documenting relevant updates in the web technology sector at any given time. Maybe a thousand.

Last Updated on 26 June 2014 13:21

Responsive Web Building

E-mail Print PDF

Responsive Web Building

This mobile responsive Web application is a biographical and portfolio site for Greg O'Toole.

Joomla, HTML, MySQL, PHP, XML, Javascript, Firebug, Dreamweaver.

Author, Web Designer, Web Developer


This site has been around in many iterations since I started building on the web in the year 1994. In fact, there is still legacy HTML on the site that I wrote way back at that time. A few years ago I moved the static HTML site into a dynamic data driven application using Coldfusion and a Microsoft Access database. Later, I moved on to PHP and MySQL and embraced open source and content management frameworks. I eventually moved the site into a Joomla version which is where it resides today. The theme used wasn't mobile responsive, so I retroactively fitted it to respond to just about any and all tv, desktop, tablet, and phone platforms, OS's, browsers, resolutions, and models. This has been a great project for me to learn and build, and therefore I've referred to it many times over the years to my students who are learning topics like UI, UX, documentation, responsive building, clean code, HTML5, PHP, MySQL, content management, and the open source community. I imagine this site will continue to revise through the philosophy of progressive enhancement and will be around for many years to come.

Last Updated on 28 May 2014 08:52

Media, Meaning, & the Legitimation Problem (Atropos Press, 2014)


Media, Meaning & the Legitimation Problem is forthcoming from the Atropos Press THINK MEDIA EGS Media Philosophy Series (New York, USA • Dresden, Germany)

This book titled Media, Meaning, and the Legitimation Problem: From the Eradication of the Metanarrative to the Present is a qualitative analysis on the current state of extracting meaning from mediated message since Lyotard largely diminished the role of the metanarrative. The work started at the University of Denver and continued on in Media & Communication at the European Graduate School, Saas-fee, Switzerland. The philosophy and research degree culminated with the oral dissertation defense in Berlin, Germany in May 2013. The ways in which we extract meaning and understand the world around us as well as the workings of the semantic Web are key nodes of the sustainable Web ecosystem.

Buy it on Amazon



openwebby®  is a part for-profit, part non-profit organization that works tirelessly in helping to envision, research, build, and maintain an open, fair, green, and accessible Internet for everyone, from both a technical as well as a political and educational perspective. openwebby is located along the I-99 PA Innovation Corridor, home to the Pennsylvania State University, the I-99 Innovation Corridor is a global center for advanced materials research; information sciences and technology; product distribution; health services and life science applications.

openwebby is a website, a mobile app, a business home, a business practice, an interactive elearning module inspired by Humboldt University of Berlin Blogna Lab's Diversity of Knowledge model, a social channel, a blog, and probably other things to other people. At it's core openwebby is an open source web and native mobile app framework for researching, building, teaching and learning sustainble web systems. The idea of openwebby started out in a completely different format. Openwebby began as a traditional, paperback book and ebook titled Sustainable Web Ecosystem Design which was published by Springer the international publisher of science, technology, and medicine in 2013. (Edition one is currently available from the publisher.) I learned quickly that this was not the optimal format for teaching and learning about proper Web building nor it's inherent often vicissitudes. I have been teaching online and in-residence at universities and colleges, blogging, building web sites and native mobile applications, using social media channels, and developing approachable, asynchronous instructional materials for 20 years, so an interactive version of the idea of openwebby was a natural fit for a composite of these various communication models.

Logo image: Earth by Nikki Rodriguez from The Noun Project. Font is Montserrat by Julieta Ulanovsky.


Penn State News: O'Toole Discusses Sustainable Web Ecosystems

E-mail Print PDF

By Stephanie Koons, June 6, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Greg O’Toole, a lecturer and senior Web UI engineer at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), plays a dual role in the college as a Web media technologist and educator. His new book, “Sustainable Web Ecosystem Design” (Springer, 2013), is intended to serve as both a resource for Web professionals and a learning guide for his IST students.

Read Article on Penn State News

Read Article on College of IST News

Last Updated on 13 August 2013 10:15
E-mail Print

greg-otoole-190Hello, World! My name is Greg O'Toole and this is otoole.info. I am a Lecturer of Web Technology and Sr. Web Engineer at the College of Information Sciences & Technology at The Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA, USA where I teach Sustainable Web Ecosystem Design and work in open source web design and development, web research, and education. The web projects I've worked on over the years are currently in use by over 8 million+ web users globally each month (Quantcast). Feel free to take a look at what other people are saying about my work.

Additionally, I am a research Web Technologist faculty member in the Penn State Earth and Environmental Systems Institute which is part of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and the Penn State Institute for Energy and the Environment. I am an adjunct faculty in the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State. I am studying Data Science in the faculty of arts and sciences at Harvard University. I am fascinated by web technology and how it is changing what it means to be a human being.

I am honored to be an invited visiting professor at Ochanomizu University in Tokyo, Japan and an invited host professor in an exchange program between Penn State and Instituto de Educação Superior de Brasília. After a lively oral defense in Berlin, Germany in May 2013, I am very proud that my Ph.D. was conferred Magna Cum Laude in Media & Communication at European Graduate School in Saas-fee, Switzerland. I am involved with the open source community and partners in private industry through the organization I founded called Openwebby, Research Building Education.

For 20+ years I have been working professionally in technical creative media. (Before that time, I started painting still life in first grade.) A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I took an HTML class at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, got instantly hooked on the intersection of computer science, creative expression, and human psychology and never looked back.

Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany

Over the years I've worked as: --- A web developer for Oprah Winfrey in Chicago --- An environmental engineering technical writer and eLearning specialist for Sunoco, Inc. in Center City and at the South Philadelphia refineries --- An author, editor, and reviewer for a wide variety of publications and publishers including Yale University Press, John Willey & Sons, Springer, The International Journal of Arts in Society, and Atropos Press --- A professor and web applications developer for the College of Law at the University of Denver --- And as a research web technologist for the Social Science Research Institute and other research institutes at Penn State University. These days I spend my professional time on the following topics: lightweight, scalable, accessible, mobile, usable, creative web building, research, writing, and user interface engineering which can be summed up as creating sustainable web ecosystems

If you'd like to know more about these adventures, read the book!


In addition to web technology, my other main interests are sports and culture. I've lived in or traveled to all 48 contiguous United States, Canada, Mexico, Frankfurt, Basel, Saas-fee, Zurich, Berlin, Tokyo, Amsterdam. Headquarters is University Park, PA -- valid rooting distance from the home of the Philadelphia Phillies, Flyers, and Union.

I am lucky to live 8 minutes from the best ice complex in the country, and, at the same time, on the edge of 2.3 million acres of protected public wilderness -- a stone's throw from some of the best trout streams in the country. I spend a lot of significant time making art, playing-watching sports and otherwise appreciating a great life with my brilliant three kids and wife. We enjoy doing just about anything outside and spend a lot of time running, ice skating, playing hockey and soccer. Our favorite teams are: Phillies, Union, Flyers, Canadiens, ChelseaFC, Bayern Munich, and Hertha BSC Bundesliga 1 clubs. We are in a perfect location for NASCAR, fly fishing, racing our Traxxas R/C cars and trucks, and hanging around at the New Jersey shore.

Images: (above) Greg O'Toole; (lower) Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany, the historic Olympic Stadium built in 1916/36 is the home pitch for German Bundesliga club Hertha BSC. Photo by Carey O'Toole.



Last Updated on 10 July 2015 14:37

Sustainable Web Ecosystem Design (Springer, 2013)

E-mail Print PDF

Sustainable Web Ecosystem Design PROJECT (BOOK, eBOOK)
This book works toward a unified theory of front end Web-human interface engineering

A new, currently available book by Greg O'Toole and Springer's SpringerBriefs in Computer Science Series features an uncomplicated approach to a rather complicated condition.

Author, SME, Theorist

$39.99 USD, Springer
Download Free Chapters on SpringerLink
On Amazon.com

ISBN 978-1-4614-7713-6 - In a new book from Springer and part of the SpringerBriefs in Computer Science Series: In our current media-rich environment a Web site is more than a collection of relative html documents of text and images on a static desktop computer monitor. We now have an unlimited combination of screens, devices, platforms, browsers, locations, versions, users, and exabytes of data with which to interact. Our mediated atmosphere surrounds us all of the time, and in nearly every place. It is an ecosystem that is part human, part hardware, and part software. A unique condition is upon us. This book is about a process of creating Web-based systems (ie, Web sites, content, etc.) that consider each of the parts, the modules, the organisms – binary or otherwise – that make up a balanced, sustainable Web ecosystem. Written in a highly approachable, practical style, this book is useful for stakeholders, system administrators, developers, designers, content managers, and the anonymous Web user in industry and the same plus faculty, staff, and students of all levels involved in teaching and learning in information technology.

Sustainable Web Ecosystem Design is a methodology, a development model, and a theory of creating digital and electronic interactive screen media interfaces. The model emphasizes an attempt at a unified theory of front-end Web-human interface engineering. The model considers not only all of the requirements of building a successful digital media application, but it also considers the human user interface, and ideals of sustainability in all stages of the product's development.The development model exists out of necessity due to the current, media-rich environment where Web sites are becoming increasingly complex and in many cases are more than a collection of relative html documents of text and images on a static desktop computer monitor. The contemporary Web designer and Web developer need to consider an nearly unlimited combination of screen sizes and resolutions, devices, platforms, browsers, locations, versions, users, and exabytes of data with which their applications and users can interact.On this side of the access digital divide, this informational-mediated atmosphere surrounds us nearly all of the time, and in nearly every place. It is an ecosystem that is part human, part hardware, and part software. This model is about a process of creating Web-based systems (i.e. Web sites, content, etc.) that consider each of the parts, the modules, the organisms – binary or organic – that make up a balanced, sustainable Web ecosystem. 

Download the updated SWED infographic

Creative Commons License
The Anatomy of Sustainable Web Ecosystem Design by Gregory O'Toole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at http://www.otoole.info.

Last Updated on 01 July 2014 11:22

Open Source Poems and Otherwise (Civic Media Press, 2013)

E-mail Print PDF

Open Source Poems & Otherwise 2003 - 2013PROJECT
Open Source Poems and Otherwise is a selection of poems written by Greg O'Toole in and around North America during the years 2003 - 2013. 

Poetry/creative writing, Adobe In-Design, Open Office, Github, Amazon CreateSpace

Poet, Webmedia UI/UIX Expert, Sr. Web/Mobile Designer/Developer

List Suggested Donation: $10.00
5.25" x 8" (13.335 x 20.32 cm) Black & White on Cream paper 100 pages
Publisher: Civic Media Press, Rhythm Mountain Studios
ISBN-13: 978-0971112537 ISBN-10: 0971112533 
BISAC: Poetry / American / General

Open Source Poems and Otherwise is a collection of poems that was written from 2003 - 2013 which have not been published in other books or other venues. In conjunction with all of the open source Web development work I have been doing for several years now, this book of original creative writing is the worlds first collection of poetry to be offered as open source. The book will be available from Civic Media Press in several formats: traditional print bound and contemporary platform and device agnostic eformats/ebooks from Amazon CreateSpace. As a contribution to the open source community, the book will also be available from Github.

Donate $10.00 to the project the safe and secure Paypal way and have a paperback version of the book shipped right to your front door!


Creative Commons LicenseOpen Source Poems and Otherwise 2003 - 2013 by Dr. Gregory O'Toole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at http://www.otoole.info.

Last Updated on 09 May 2014 07:45


eLearning with Open Source

I am looking forward to a new project with The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division to rewrite a course titled IMD344 eLearning II. The deprecated version of the course used a leading Adobe solution called Captivate which is a robust elearning design and development platform. Keeping in step with all things Web, we want to push this course into using even more universal tools such as HTML5 and open source content management options that are developed and maintained by the strong open source communities. As a matter of mentioning, we are currently considering WordPress and Drupal. Onward!

Upcoming Events

<< February 2017 >> 
 Mo  Tu  We  Th  Fr  Sa  Su 
    1  2  3  4  5
  6  7  8  9101112