Overview of content related to 'drupal' http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/taxonomy/term/10737/all?article-type=&term=&organisation=&project=&author=&issue= RSS feed with Ariadne content related to specified tag en Editorial Introduction to Issue 69 http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue69/editorial <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser-article"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="/issue69/editorial#author1">The editor</a> introduces readers to the content of <em>Ariadne</em> Issue 69.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Never blessed with any sporting acumen, I have to confess to a degree of ambivalence towards the London Olympics unfolding around this issue as it publishes. That does not mean that I do not wish all the participants well in what after all is an enormous achievement just to be able to compete there at all. While I admit to not watching every team walk and wave, I cannot deny that the beginning and end of the Opening Ceremony [<a href="#1">1</a>] did grab my attention. Who could blame me? I suspect we sat as a nation terrified to discover what this would say about us all.</p> <p><a href="http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue69/editorial" target="_blank">read more</a></p> issue69 editorial richard waller bbc blackboard jisc jisc collections loughborough university ukoln university of bath university of glamorgan university of pretoria devcsi wikipedia accessibility aggregation api archives authentication blog cache content management data database digital preservation drupal ebook framework internet explorer json knowledge management licence metadata ocr opac open source perl refworks repositories research schema search technology shibboleth standards usability visualisation wiki xml Tue, 31 Jul 2012 11:45:13 +0000 lisrw 2372 at http://www.ariadne.ac.uk Moving Ariadne: Migrating and Enriching Content with Drupal http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue69/bunting <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser-article"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="/issue69/bunting#author1">Thom Bunting</a> explains some of the technology behind the migration of <em>Ariadne</em> (including more than 1600 articles from its back issues archive) onto a Drupal content management platform.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tools and strategies for content management are a perennial topic in <em>Ariadne. </em> With&nbsp;<a href="/category/buzz/content-management?article-type=&amp;term=&amp;organisation=&amp;project=&amp;author=" title="Link to overview of articles including references to 'content management'">more than one hundred articles</a>&nbsp;touching on content management system (CMS) technologies or techniques since this online magazine commenced publication in 1996,&nbsp;<em>Ariadne</em>&nbsp;attests to continuing interest in this topic. Authors have discussed this topic within various contexts, from&nbsp;<a href="/category/buzz/content-management?article-type=&amp;term=intranet&amp;organisation=&amp;project=&amp;author=&amp;issue=#content-overview" title="Link to articles discussing 'content management', within 'intranet' context">intranets</a> to&nbsp;<a href="/category/buzz/repositories?article-type=&amp;term=content+management&amp;organisation=&amp;project=&amp;author=&amp;issue=#content-overview" title="Link to overview of articles referring to 'content management', within 'repositories' context">repositories</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="/category/buzz/content-management?article-type=&amp;term=web+2.0&amp;organisation=&amp;project=&amp;author=&amp;issue=#content-overview" title="Link to overview of articles discussing 'content management', within context of Web 2.0">Web 2.0</a>, &nbsp;with some notable&nbsp;<a href="/sites/all/datacharts/hc/72-chart-wp.html#timeline" title="Link to timeline: articles referring to 'content management'">surges in references to 'content management' between 2000 and 2005</a>&nbsp;(see Figure 1 below). &nbsp;Although levels of discussion are by no means trending, over recent years it is clear that&nbsp;<em>Ariadne</em> authors have taken note of and written about content management tools and techniques on a regular basis.&nbsp;</p> <p>In the light of this long-established interest, it is noteworthy that&nbsp;<em>Ariadne</em> itself migrated into a content management system only recently. Although the formatting of its articles did change a few times since 1996, <em>Ariadne</em>&nbsp;remained 'hand-coded' for more than fifteen years. &nbsp;None of its articles had been migrated into a database-driven content management system until March 2012, when&nbsp;<a href="/issue68" title="Link to table of contents for Ariadne issue 68">issue 68</a>&nbsp;was published.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>As mentioned in the&nbsp;<a href="/issue68/editorial1" title="Editorial introduction: Welcome to New Ariadne">editorial introduction</a>&nbsp;to that first issue, launching the new content management arrangements, and as discussed in some more detail below (see 'Technical challenges in content migration'), the considerable size of&nbsp;<em>Ariadne</em>'s archive of back issues was daunting. &nbsp;With <a href="/articles" title="Overview of more than 1600 articles in Ariadne">more than 1600 articles</a>&nbsp;in hand-coded 'flat'-html formats,&nbsp;the process of migration itself required careful planning to result in a seamless, graceful transition into an entirely new content management arrangement. &nbsp;Over time, the sheer size of the <em>Ariadne</em> corpus had made it both increasingly rich in content and increasingly more challenging to convert retrospectively into a database-driven CMS as the total number of articles published within this online magazine steadily expanded.&nbsp;</p> <p>In looking back over the recent process of migrating <em>Ariadne</em> onto a CMS platform, this article discusses some tools and techniques used to prepare content for transfer, testing, and then re-launch. &nbsp;After explaining some of the background to and objectives of this work, this article focuses on key features of content management supported by Drupal.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="Figure 1: Timeline of references in Ariadne to content management" src="http://ariadne-media.ukoln.info/grfx/img/issue69-bunting/content%20management-timeline.png" style="height: 453px; width: 500px; " title="Figure 1: Timeline of references in Ariadne to content management" /></p> <p style="text-align: center; "><strong>Figure 1: Ariadne timeline of references to content management</strong></p> <h2 id="Requirements_Analysis:_Planning_the_Way_Forward">Requirements Analysis: Planning the Way Forward</h2> <p>Based on surveys of readers and authors conducted in late 2010, the <em>Ariadne</em>&nbsp;management team analysed the range of feedback, drew up sets of re-development requirements, and then considered the options available.</p> <p>The following table provides an overview of key findings regarding the range of enhanced functionality and features considered:</p> <table align="center" border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" id="500wtable" style="width: 500px; "> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="2" style="text-align: center; "><strong>Overview of findings derived from survey responses</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align: center; "><em>enhanced functionality or feature</em></td> <td style="text-align: center; "><em>interest recorded in surveys</em></td> </tr> <tr> <td>browsing by keywords</td> <td>73.4% of respondents</td> </tr> <tr> <td>updated look and feel</td> <td>62.3% of respondents</td> </tr> <tr> <td>browsing by title</td> <td>50.0% of respondents</td> </tr> <tr> <td>enhanced use of search engine</td> <td>48.0% of respondents</td> </tr> <tr> <td>improved display for portable devices</td> <td>34.0% of respondents</td> </tr> <tr> <td>more summative information on articles</td> <td>32.1% of respondents</td> </tr> <tr> <td>improved navigability from article level</td> <td>32.1% of respondents</td> </tr> <tr> <td>improved social media options</td> <td>29.5% of respondents</td> </tr> <tr> <td>browsing by author</td> <td>28.0% of respondents</td> </tr> <tr> <td>improved RSS feeds</td> <td>27.0% of respondents</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>In addition to these findings derived from surveys, the management team also recognised the need for some other functionalities to support monitoring of <em>Ariadne</em>'s on-going engagement with various domains and institutions across the UK and beyond.</p> <table align="center" border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" id="500wtable" style="width: 500px; "> <tbody> <tr> <td colspan="2" style="text-align: center; "><strong>Additional features to support monitoring of engagement</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align: left; ">identification of author domains (higher education, further education, research, commercial, etc)</td> <td style="text-align: left; ">to support analysis of <em>Ariadne</em> connections and reach across various sectors</td> </tr> <tr> <td>identification of authors by organisation</td> <td>to support analysis of <em>Ariadne</em> connections and reach in UK and worldwide</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>Taking into account the key findings derived from survey questions as well as the additional functionality identified as useful in monitoring UK and worldwide engagement, the <em>Ariadne</em>&nbsp;management team drew up sets of re-development requirements and considered how to proceed.&nbsp;Migration into a content management system represented the obvious way forward, as it became clear that <em>Ariadne</em>'s&nbsp;previous tradition of 'hand-coded' production (dating from the early days of the Web) had little chance of coping gracefully with the new sets of requirements.</p> <p>In a review of CMS options available, it also became clear that&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drupal" title="Wikipedia article: Drupal">Drupal</a>&nbsp;[<a href="#1">1</a>] was well positioned as a content management system (or, emphasising its highly modular and extensible design, <em>content management framework </em>&nbsp;[<a href="#2">2</a>] ) to supply required functionality and features.</p> <p></p><p><a href="http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue69/bunting" target="_blank">read more</a></p> issue69 tooled up thom bunting ibm microsoft ukoln university of bath datagovuk gnu wikipedia apache api archives bibliographic data content licence content management css data data set database drupal framework further education graphics higher education html identifier jquery json licence linux metadata mysql open source perl php preservation python rdf repositories research rss search technology software sql server sqlite standards taxonomy usability video visualisation web 2.0 xml Fri, 27 Jul 2012 16:47:36 +0000 lisrw 2348 at http://www.ariadne.ac.uk Peculiarities of Digitising Materials from the Collections of the National Academy of Sciences, Armenia http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue68/hopkinson-zargaryan <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser-article"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="/issue68/hopkinson-zargaryan#author1">Alan Hopkinson</a> and <a href="/issue68/hopkinson-zargaryan#author2">Tigran Zargaryan</a> give an overview of their experience of digitising paper-based materials in the Fundamental Scientific Library of the National Academy of Sciences, Armenia including some of the obstacles encountered during image processing and optical character recognition.</p> </div> </div> </div> <!-- start main content --><!-- start main content --><p>Early writing which first appeared as cuneiform protocols and then emerged in manuscript form and as printed materials is currently entering a new stage in its development – in the form of electronic publications.</p> <p><a href="http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue68/hopkinson-zargaryan" target="_blank">read more</a></p> issue68 feature article alan hopkinson tigran zargaryan abbyy british library eifl ifla jisc digital media microsoft middlesex university national academy of sciences national library of armenia stm tasi endangered archives programme adobe algorithm archives content management data database dcmi digital media digital repositories digitisation document format drupal dspace dublin core dublin core metadata initiative dvd eprints file format graphics infrastructure jpeg metadata national library ocr open access open source open standard optical character recognition preservation repositories research resource description schema software standards tiff Fri, 09 Mar 2012 14:06:59 +0000 lisrw 2235 at http://www.ariadne.ac.uk Editorial: Welcome to New Ariadne http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue68/editorial1 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser-article"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="/issue68/editorial1#author1">The editor</a> introduces readers to the new <em>Ariadne</em>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have it on good authority, from one of those who were there, that when the first issue of the JISC-funded electronic publication <em>Ariadne </em>was launched in January 1996, water was coming down the wall of their office in the hours of darkness; but they pressed on regardless. Having been present at the launch of one or two new publications myself, I can well imagine their apprehension.</p> <p><a href="http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue68/editorial1" target="_blank">read more</a></p> issue68 editorial richard waller drupal Sat, 10 Mar 2012 13:41:29 +0000 lisrw 2258 at http://www.ariadne.ac.uk Open Educational Resources Hack Day http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue67/oer-hackday-2011-03-rpt <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser-article"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="/issue67/oer-hackday-2011-03-rpt#author1">Kirsty Pitkin</a> reports on a two-day practical hack event focusing on Open Educational Resources (OER), held by DevCSI and JISC CETIS in Manchester on 31 March - 1 April 2011.</p> </div> </div> </div> <!-- start main content --><!-- start main content --><p>The Open Educational Resources Hack Day event was designed to bring together those interested in rapidly developing tools and prototypes to solve problems related to OER. Whilst there is a growing interest in the potential for learning resources created and shared openly by academics and teachers, a number of technical challenges still exist, including resource retrieval, evaluation and reuse. This event aimed to explore some of these problem areas by partnering developers with the creators and users of OER to identify needs and potential solutions.</p> <p><a href="http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue67/oer-hackday-2011-03-rpt" target="_blank">read more</a></p> issue67 event report kirsty pitkin cetis google harper adams university college jisc leeds metropolitan university oai open university ukoln university of bolton university of oxford w3c devcsi jorum oerbital xpert accessibility aggregation api authentication blog browser cataloguing creative commons data data set doi drupal facebook identifier infrastructure interoperability learning objects licence linked data metadata mobile moodle oai-pmh oer open source openoffice portal provenance repositories resource sharing rss search engine optimisation search technology software storify sword protocol ukoer url video visualisation vle widget wiki wookie wordpress youtube Sun, 03 Jul 2011 23:00:00 +0000 editor 1630 at http://www.ariadne.ac.uk Book Review: Practical Open Source Software for Libraries http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue66/rafiq-rvw <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser-article"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="/issue66/rafiq-rvw#author1">Muhammad Rafiq</a> takes a look at a work on the open source community and open source software.</p> </div> </div> </div> <!-- v2 inserting author's final edits 2011-02-20-18-44 REW --><!-- v2 inserting author's final edits 2011-02-20-18-44 REW --><p>Open source (OS) usually refers to an application whose source code is made available for use or modification in line with users' needs and requirements. OS projects usually develop in the public domain where contributors participate in a collaborative manner and update or refine the product. OS offers more flexibility and freedom than software purchased with licence restrictions. Both the OS community and the library world share many common principles. They share and promote open standards and believe in sharing.</p> <p><a href="http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue66/rafiq-rvw" target="_blank">read more</a></p> issue66 review muhammad rafiq cd-rom content management data database digital library digital media drupal dspace dvd firefox graphics instant messaging internet explorer interoperability licence linux moodle open source openoffice operating system podcast repositories research software vufind wiki wordpress Sun, 30 Jan 2011 00:00:00 +0000 editor 1617 at http://www.ariadne.ac.uk Editorial Introduction to Issue 64: Supporting the Power of Research Data http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue64/editorial <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser-article"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="/issue64/editorial#author1">Richard Waller</a> introduces Ariadne issue 64.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>In these cash-strapped times among all the admonitions to save money here, and resources there, I rather hope to hear much about the necessity of protecting and building the knowledge economy if the UK is to make its way in the globalised world, since we cannot pretend to compete easily in other areas of endeavour. Hence research has to be regarded as one of the aces remaining to us, and thus I hope the importance of gathering, managing and preserving for long-term access research outcomes will be widely appreciated and supported.</p> <p><a href="http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue64/editorial" target="_blank">read more</a></p> issue64 editorial richard waller bbc cerlim google ifla intute national library of australia rnib automatic metadata generation itunes u archives bibliographic data bibliographic record big data blog cataloguing curation data data management data set database digital curation digital library digital repositories digitisation drupal dspace e-science electronic theses fedora commons framework frbr google scholar higher education infrastructure interoperability ipad iphone itunes metadata mobile national library preservation repositories research search technology social networks software standards twitter vim web 2.0 Thu, 29 Jul 2010 23:00:00 +0000 editor 1559 at http://www.ariadne.ac.uk Retooling Libraries for the Data Challenge http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue64/salo <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser-article"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="/issue64/salo#author1">Dorothea Salo</a> examines how library systems and procedures need to change to accommodate research data.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Eager to prove their relevance among scholars leaving print behind, libraries have participated vocally in the last half-decade's conversation about digital research data. On the surface, libraries would seem to have much human and technological infrastructure ready-constructed to repurpose for data: digital library platforms and institutional repositories may appear fit for purpose. However, unless libraries understand the salient characteristics of research data, and how they do and do not fit with library processes and infrastructure, they run the risk of embarrassing missteps as they come to grips with the data challenge.</p> <p>Whether managing research data is 'the new special collections,'[<a href="#1">1</a>] a new form of regular academic-library collection development, or a brand-new library specialty, the possibilities have excited a great deal of talk, planning, and educational opportunity in a profession seeking to expand its boundaries.</p> <p>Faced with shrinking budgets and staffs, library administrators may well be tempted to repurpose existing technology infrastructure and staff to address the data curation challenge. Existing digital libraries and institutional repositories seem on the surface to be a natural fit for housing digital research data. Unfortunately, significant mismatches exist between research data and library digital warehouses, as well as the processes and procedures librarians typically use to fill those warehouses. Repurposing warehouses and staff for research data is therefore neither straightforward nor simple; in some cases, it may even prove impossible.</p> <h2 id="Characteristics_of_Research_Data">Characteristics of Research Data</h2> <p>What do we know about research data? What are its salient characteristics with respect to stewardship?</p> <h3 id="Size_and_Scope">Size and Scope</h3> <p>Perhaps the commonest mental image of research data is terabytes of information pouring out of the merest twitch of the Large Hadron Collider Project. So-called 'Big Data' both captures the imagination of and creates sheer terror in the practical librarian or technologist. 'Small data,' however, may prove to be the bigger problem: data emerging from individual researchers and labs, especially those with little or no access to grants, or a hyperlocal research focus. Though each small-data producer produces only a trickle of data compared to the like of the Large Hadron Collider Project, the tens of thousands of small-data producers in aggregate may well produce as much data (or more, measured in bytes) as their Big Data counterparts [<a href="#2">2</a>]. Securely and reliably storing and auditing this amount of data is a serious challenge. The burgeoning 'small data' store means that institutions without local Big Data projects are by no means exempt from large-scale storage considerations.</p> <p>Small data also represents a serious challenge in terms of human resources. Best practices instituted in a Big Data project reach all affected scientists quickly and completely; conversely, a small amount of expert intervention in such a project pays immense dividends. Because of the great numbers of individual scientists and labs producing small data, however, immensely more consultations and consultants are necessary to bring practices and the resulting data to an acceptable standard.</p> <h3 id="Variability">Variability</h3> <p>Digital research data comes in every imaginable shape and form. Even narrowing the universe of research data to 'image' yields everything from scans of historical glass negative photographs to digital microscope images of unicellular organisms taken hundreds at a time at varying depths of field so that the organism can be examined in three dimensions. The tools that researchers use naturally shape the resulting data. When the tool is proprietary, unfortunately, so may be the file format that it produced. When that tool does not include long-term data viability as a development goal, the data it produces are often neither interoperable nor preservable.</p> <p>A major consequence of the diversity of forms and formats of digital research data is a concomitant diversity in desired interactions. The biologist with a 3-D stack of microscope images interacts very differently with those images than does a manuscript scholar trying to extract the underlying half-erased text from a palimpsest. These varying affordances <em>must</em> be respected by dissemination platforms if research data are to enjoy continued use.</p> <p>One important set of interactions involves actual changes to data. Many sorts of research data are considerably less usable in their raw state than after they have had filters or algorithms or other processing performed on them. Others welcome correction, or are refined by comparison with other datasets. Two corollaries emerge: first, that planning and acting for data stewardship must take place throughout the research process, rather than being an add-on at the end; and second, that digital preservation systems designed to steward only final, unchanging materials can only fail faced with real-world datasets and data-use practices.</p> <p></p><p><a href="http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue64/salo" target="_blank">read more</a></p> issue64 feature article dorothea salo california digital library dcc google oai university of wisconsin hydra algorithm api archives bibliographic data big data blog cookie curation data data management data set database digital curation digital library digital preservation digitisation dissemination drupal dspace dublin core eprints fedora commons file format flickr google docs infrastructure institutional repository interoperability library management systems linked data marc metadata mods oai-pmh open source preservation rdf repositories research search technology software standardisation standards sword protocol wiki xml Thu, 29 Jul 2010 23:00:00 +0000 editor 1566 at http://www.ariadne.ac.uk Data Services for the Sciences: A Needs Assessment http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue64/westra <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser-article"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="/issue64/westra#author1">Brian Westra</a> describes a data services needs assessment for science research staff at the University of Oregon.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Computational science and raw and derivative scientific data are increasingly important to the research enterprise of higher education institutions. Academic libraries are beginning to examine what the expansion of data-intensive e-science means to scholarly communication and information services, and some are reshaping their own programmes to support the digital curation needs of research staff. These changes in libraries may involve repurposing or leveraging existing services, and the development or acquisition of new skills, roles, and organisational structures [<a href="#1">1</a>].</p> <p>Scientific research data management is a fluid and evolving endeavour, reflective of the high rate of change in the information technology landscape, increasing levels of multi-disciplinary research, complex data structures and linkages, advances in data visualisation and analysis, and new tools capable of generating or capturing massive amounts of data.</p> <p>These factors can create a complex and challenging environment for managing data, and one in which libraries can have a significant positive role supporting e-science. A needs assessment can help to characterise scientists' research methods and data management practices, highlighting gaps and barriers [<a href="#2">2</a>], and thereby improve the odds for libraries to plan appropriately and effectively implement services in the local setting [<a href="#3">3</a>].</p> <h2 id="Methods">Methods</h2> <p>An initiative to conduct a science data services needs assessment was developed and approved in early 2009 at the University of Oregon. The initiative coincided with the hiring of a science data services librarian, and served as an initial project for the position. A researcher-centric approach to the development of services was a primary factor in using an assessment to shape services [<a href="#4">4</a>]. The goals of the project were to:</p> <ul> <li>define the information services needs of science research staff;</li> <li>inform the Libraries and other stakeholders of gaps in the current service structures; and</li> <li>identify research groups or staff who would be willing to participate in, and whose datasets would be good subjects for, pilot data curation projects.</li> </ul> <p>The library took the lead role on the assessment, consulting with other stakeholders in its development and implementation. Campus Information Services provided input on questions regarding campus information technology infrastructure, and to avoid unnecessary overlap with other IT service activities focused on research staff. The Vice President for Research and other organisational units were advised of the project and were asked for referrals to potential project participants. These units provided valuable input in the selection of staff contacts. Librarian subject specialists also suggested staff who might be working with data and interested in participating. Librarians responsible for digital collections, records management, scholarly communications, and the institutional repository were involved in the development of the assessment questions and project plan.</p> <p>The questions used in the assessment were developed through an iterative process. A literature and Web review located several useful resources and examples. These included the University of Minnesota Libraries' study of scientists' research behaviours [<a href="#3">3</a>], and a study by Henty, et al. on the data management practices of Australian researchers [<a href="#5">5</a>]. The Data Audit Framework (DAF - now called the Data Asset Framework) methodology was considered to provide the most comprehensive set of questions with a field-tested methodology and guidelines [<a href="#6">6</a>][<a href="#7">7</a>][<a href="#8">8</a>][<a href="#9">9</a>][<a href="#10">10</a>][<a href="#11">11</a>]. The stages outlined in the DAF methodology were also instructive, although we elected not to execute a process for identifying and classifying assets (DAF Stage 2), since the organisational structure of our departments and institutes are not conducive to that level of investigation. From the beginning it was recognised that recruitment of scientists was based as much on their willingness to participate as their responsibility for any specific class or type of research-generated data.</p> <p></p><p><a href="http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue64/westra" target="_blank">read more</a></p> issue64 feature article brian westra arl edina imperial college london jisc johns hopkins university microsoft uk data archive university of edinburgh university of essex university of glasgow university of illinois university of oregon university of oxford university of washington archives authentication csv curation data data management data set data visualisation database digital curation digital library drupal e-research e-science file format framework gis higher education infrastructure institutional repository metadata mysql open access provenance repositories research usability visualisation Thu, 29 Jul 2010 23:00:00 +0000 editor 1568 at http://www.ariadne.ac.uk Intranet Management: Divine Comedy or Strategic Imperative? http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue62/white <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser-article"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="/issue62/white#author1">Martin White</a> suggests that a failure to recognise the value of intranets is a symptom of a failure to recognise information as a strategic asset.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to Dante in his Divine Comedy the inscription above the door to Hades reads "Abandon hope all ye who enter here". For many this could also be the sign on the home page of their organisation's intranet as, with business-critical decisions to make, they begin the daily hunt for information that they are sure should be somewhere in the application. It could just as easily be the sign on the door of the intranet manager of the organisation, though this door usually also carries a number of other job descriptions, all of which seem to be given more priority by the organisation than the care and development of the intranet. Most organisations of any size will have a full-time web manager, often with a support team, but this is rarely the case with the intranet.</p> <p>There are a substantial number of intranets in the UK. Statistics from the Office for National Statistics indicate that 22% of all businesses have an intranet [<a href="#1">1</a>]. As the size of the business increases so does the level of penetration, and most businesses of more than 500 people will now have some form of intranet. Given the number of businesses in the UK the author estimates that there are probably around 300,000 intranets in the commercial sector, and at a guess a further 100,000 in the public sector, charities, Higher Education institutions (HEIs) and other organisations. Only over the last few years has any reliable statistical information become available on intranet use and development, and this is a in-depth global survey of only around 300 intranets [<a href="#2">2</a>]. In the UK HEI sector a major opportunity was lost in a survey commissioned in 2009 by Eduserv into the management of web content in the HEI sector as no account of intranet use of CMS applications was included in the scope of the survey [<a href="#3">3</a>]. A survey of SharePoint use in HEIs undertaken for Eduserv in late 2009 [<a href="#4">4</a>] did indicate that a number of institutions were using SharePoint for intranet applications but the survey did not look in detail at intranet implementation.</p> <p>It is also only over the last few years have forums been set up in which intranet managers are able to share experiences and challenges with others. The work of the Intranet Benchmark Forum [<a href="#5">5</a>] is focused on providing services to large organisations, but there are also other virtual and physical discussion forums, such as the Intranet Forum [<a href="#6">6</a>] run by UKeiG for its members. It is probably reasonable to suggest that the majority of intranet managers have seen very few intranets from which to gain a sense of good practice, whereas web managers have an almost unlimited supply of sites from which to gain ideas for their own use. This is as true in the HEI sector as in other sectors. Given the installed base of intranets in the UK it is also surprising that there is no 'intranet conference' event even though intranet management does feature in events such as Online Information [<a href="#7">7</a>]. Most countries in northern Europe have an intranet conference [<a href="#8">8</a>], often with several hundred delegates, so why there is no equivalent in the UK is a mystery.</p> <h2 id="Intranets_Are_Different">Intranets Are Different</h2> <p>All too often an intranet is regarded as an internal web site. The reality is that about the only commonality between an intranet and a web site is the use of web browser technology. Many very successful intranets do not even use a web content management application but instead are based on Notes technology or portal applications. Intranet content contribution is usually highly distributed, with individual members of staff publishing content direct to the intranet perhaps only a few times a year. This means that the web content management system has to be highly intuitive, and enable Word documents to be rendered into clean HTML code to create web pages. The teams supporting public web sites are using the systems every working day, working often in HTML and having a much more limited range of content to cope with. Many of the problems that arise in keeping content current on an intranet are a result of staff having to use a complex Web publishing system that was specified for Web site management and not intranet management.</p> <p>Another factor to be considered is that increasingly intranets are federated applications [<a href="#9">9</a>]. This is often the situation in HEIs where each department wants to have its own intranet, and on top of all these individual intranets there is some form of top-level 'corporate' home page and navigation. Often there is no central coordination of these intranets, and so each adopts some or none of the visual design standards of the HEI.</p> <p>As far as enterprise applications are concerned, intranets are different because they are not based on business processes or work-flow. Finance, registry, personnel and most other applications support well-defined processes, usually within a specific department, and where the content requirements are usually specified in database terms. Anything approaching text content is usually relegated to a single field in the database. Intranets exist because there is a substantial amount of information in any organisation that is not based on business processes and cannot be managed within a formal database structure, such as policies, procedures, campus maps, events, staff notices and hundreds of other information formats produced by every department and location within the organisation.</p> <p>As a result the intranet becomes an information dumping ground. Under-resourced intranet managers do not have the resources to maintain content quality, and so multiple versions of documents with no visible ownership or provenance proliferate. Employees leave or change responsibility but the intranet is based on a 'file-and-forget' principle and no effort is taken to ensure that document ownership is transferred to another member of staff. Very quickly the information architecture of the intranet, based usually on the structure of the organisation at the time of the last WCMS (Web content management system) deployment, is not fit for purpose. The decision is taken to implement a search engine, and only then does the scale of the problem of information decay become apparent. It can also be an interesting exercise to search for 'Confidential' and see just how many documents are returned!</p> <p></p><p><a href="http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue62/white" target="_blank">read more</a></p> issue62 feature article martin white eduserv google harvard university ibm intranet focus ltd jisc microsoft open university university of sheffield adobe blog content management creative commons data database dissemination document management drupal foi higher education html ict information architecture intellectual property intranet knowledge management licence metadata mobile open source passwords portal privacy provenance repositories research rss schema search technology sharepoint standards taxonomy usability web 2.0 web browser wiki Sat, 30 Jan 2010 00:00:00 +0000 editor 1530 at http://www.ariadne.ac.uk