Web Magazine for Information Professionals

Web Focus: Institutional Web Management

Brian Kelly reports on the Netskills Institutional Web Management Workshop held in Newcastle.

In July 1997 a 2 day workshop on Running An Institutional Web Service was held at King’s College London. As reported in Ariadne issue 11 [1] the workshop proved very successful. Comments received on the workshop evaluation form indicated that participants would have likely a longer workshop and would have liked certain topics, including web design, database integration and management issues, to be covered in more depth. In addition several participants would have likely more time to be devoted to group sessions.

This year’s workshop aimed at institutional web managers took onboard these suggestions. The workshop, which was organised jointly by UK Web Focus and Netskills, was held at Newcastle University from lunchtime on Tuesday 15th September till lunchtime on Thursday 17th September. An initial report on the workshop is given below.


"Brilliant! Useful, informative, friendly. Superlatives are appropriate. I want to come to the next one. We should have at least one a year." - just one of the many positive comments given on the workshop evaluation forms. Other comments received included:

These comments appear to reflect the majority of the participants’ views. The initial analysis of the workshop evaluations forms show that the workshop content was given an overall rating of 4.45 on a scale of 1 (for poor) to 5 (for excellent). No fewer than 28 participants gave the workshop the maximum rating of 5, with 25 giving it a rating of 4 and only 3 giving a rating of 3. Nobody gave a rating lower than this.

So what impressed the participants so much? A summary of the workshop programme is given below.

Workshop Programme: Presentations

The workshop programme included presentations from twelve members of the UK Higher Education community, together with a presentation from a member of the British Council and a commercial design company. Unfortunately the two presentations from commercial companies which were intended to open the workshop were cancelled about half an hour before the start! What could have been a disastrous start was rescued by the flexibility of the workshop speakers who were willing to reschedule their talks. Many thanks to Brian Lantz (UCE), Andrew Aird (Goldsmiths College) and Jon Wallis (University of Wolverhampton) for their flexibility in this matter.

A brief summary of the talks is given below.

The main themes which emerged from the presentations was the importance of backend databases for storing and managing structured information, such as prospectus and events information.

Colin Work’s talk entitled Publish and be Damned? - Freedom, Responsibility and AUP was given the highest rating in the evaluation forms, with an average rating of 4.58, with 35 people giving the highest score of 5 (excellent), 17 giving a score of 4 and 3 giving a score of 3. Colin also achieved equal top scores for his talk at last year’s workshop, and was highly praised for the discussion group session he ran on Management Issues.

It is pleasing to report that the next highest-rated talk was Paul Booth’s presentation on The DISinHE Centre - Accessibility and the Web. Thirty-two people gave this talk the maximum score of 5 with 20 giving a score of 3. These high scores would appear to reflect the importance place on the provision of accessible institutional web sites.

In third place was Jon Wallis with his comprehensive description (34 slides!) of the use of a web service, warts and all, within an academic institution.

Brian Kelly, the author of this article, gave the next most highly-rated talk on Deploying New Web Technologies.

Workshop Programme: Parallel Sessions

On the Wednesday afternoon five parallel session were held. The aim of these sessions was to provide the opportunity for participants to address certain topics in some depth, and to allow all participants to have the opportunity to discuss and debate issues, and not simply listen to an expert.

Details of the parallel sessions are given below.

Web Design

This session was coordinated by Andrew Aird. The aims of the session were:


This session was coordinated by Andy Powell and Brian Kelly. The aims of the session were:

Web Server Management

This session was coordinated by Andrew Cormack and Helen Varley Sargan. The aims of this session were:

Web Tools

This session was coordinated by Dave Hartland and David Lomas. The aims of this session were:

Management Issues

This session was coordinated by Colin Work and Damon Querry. The aims of this session were:

Reports on the parallel sessions, including any conclusions reached, will be given in the workshop report which will be available shortly [15].

Workshop Conclusions

A more complete workshop report and analysis of the feedback is still to be carried out. For now the following comments are made, which are based on comments and suggestions made at the workshop an in the evaluation forms.

Further discussion on the workshop, including announcements of the availability of the workshop materials and reports on the workshop will be made on the website-info-mgt [18] Mailbase list.


  1. Running An Institutional Web Service, Ariadne 11
    <URL: http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue11/web-focus/>
  2. ‘Dumbing Down’ - Making the UCE Web Site More Accessible,
    <URL: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/webmaster-sep1998/materials/uce/>
  3. Does Web Content Grow on Trees?,
    <URL: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/webmaster-sep1998/materials/aird/>
  4. Publishing And Devolving Maintenance of a Prospectus,
    <URL: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/webmaster-sep1998/materials/prospectus/>
  5. DataWeb: Three Worlds Collide,
    <URL: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/webmaster-sep1998/materials/ral/>
  6. Information Management and the Institutional Website - Promoting and Supporting Organisational Change,
    <URL: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/webmaster-sep1998/materials/wolves/>
  7. “He Left the Course 3 Months Ago?”: Web-based Front-ends to Student Databases,
    <URL: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/webmaster-sep1998/materials/manchester/>
  8. Events Online,
    <URL: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/webmaster-sep1998/materials/events-online/>
  9. The Use of Online Databases to Manage Student Support and Learning,
    <URL: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/webmaster-sep1998/materials/newcastle/>
  10. Deploying New Web Technologies,
    <URL: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/webmaster-sep1998/materials/web-technologies/>
  11. Intermediaries: Ways Of Exploiting New Technologies, Ariadne 16
    <URL: http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue16/web-focus/>
  12. The DISinHE Centre - Accessibility and the Web,
    <URL: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/webmaster-sep1998/materials/accessibility/>
  13. Publish and be Damned? - Freedom, Responsibility and AUP,
    <URL: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/webmaster-sep1998/materials/aup/>
  14. The British Council on the Web: An Overview,
    <URL: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/webmaster-sep1998/materials/british-council/>
  15. Workshop Report
    <URL: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/reports/web-manage-98/>
  16. .gamut
    <URL: http://www.gold.ac.uk/gamut/>
    <URL: http://www.ucisa.ac.uk/TLIG/homepage.htm>
  18. website-info-mgt, Mailbase list
    <URL: http://www.mailbase.ac.uk/lists/website-info-mgt/>

Author Details

Brian Kelly
UK Web Focus
Email: B.Kelly@ukoln.ac.uk
UKOLN: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/
Tel: 01225 323943
Address: UKOLN, University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY