- Andrew Millar - 22 September 2019, 09:16
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One noticeable change to profiles on the University website is the exclusion of an automatic feed from Pure. This may seem strange, especially as we move towards REF2021 and all the work that is being undertaken to support that assessment.
I wanted to take a minute to explain the reasoning behind this move.
Our Pure repository and the display system called Discovery (discovery.dundee.ac.uk) has improved its visual look and underlying capabilities hugely since the last REF exercise. Far from being a simple repository of publications, it houses rich information on Projects, Activities, Press/Media and Student Theses. There is also a rich relational architecture that shows the interdisciplinary work that is going on and is a feature of so much of our work. This richness of content far exceeds what can be displayed on a single profile page and to replicate would mean rebuilding Discovery within the new website.
While a cloud hosted system like Discovery has benefits, it also has its disadvantages. The capabilities that allow us to pull information from the repository often change with each release. Sometimes these releases are non-breaking and go unnoticed. Unfortunately, they can, and do break existing integrations. At a time of rapid development for the new site, the more time that we spend on repairing these linkages, the less time there is to spend on other much needed functionality.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, as we’ve investigated how profiles are used by those visiting the page, we are finding that many users are getting “stuck” and not progressing on to view the rich content that is available, with many bouncing off the site completely. When we consider our primary aim of these profiles is to reduce the reputational deficit we have as a University currently, it becomes more important to funnel users through to this rich content so that the full story can be told.
These new staff profiles are one of our core building blocks and represent a big leap forward in capabilities for the site. They are the product of months of consultation throughout the University and with staff, students, external contacts and the Vice-Principal of Research (Professor John Rowan) to try and understand user requirements, and also balance those with essential business requirements.
Web Services undertakes regular review and analysis of the website to measure and track its effectiveness. We welcome any and all feedback which we will feed back into our feature road maps for future development.