For those of you who are a bit green fingered and like gardening. You’ll know we always have to remember what to dead-head and what to leave. We dead-head flowers so that they don’t go to seed. Unfortunately that has happened all across the university estate.
If you want to grow a successful, health, well-stocked and well-designed web garden on your digital estate you need to get ruthless with your deadheading and weeding.
In order to improve the quality of our website content we have conducted the first University-wide website content audit.
This blog is for Amber because she wants to know about institutionally provided technologies #openblog19
At University of Edinburgh we know that our people are our strength. This is a place of knowledge creation, and a place of knowledge sharing.
As Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services I am lucky to have responsibility not only for the institutionally provided learning technology, but also the institutionally provided Web. You know me, I like to have a strategy for such things.
Our Web strategy addresses how the university uses web technologies to enhance our
students’ experience, disseminate our best research and engage with our diverse audiences.
The University’s web estate and use of online channels has evolved largely organically, which has led to gaps in corporate knowledge and exposed the institution to significant risks. Its no secret that there is fragmentation of technology, working methods and standards, which leads to uneven and, in some cases, broken user journeys.
We try to address these issues, with a tight focus on the University’s vision to deliver impact for society through leadership in learning and research. While University websites, including the corporate website (EdWeb) and MyEd portal, are at the core of the strategy, strong consideration is also given to online channels as a point of user acquisition and engagement.
Whether delivered centrally or locally, there is a clear need to empower our staff by providing them with the intelligence, tools, standards and resources to attract and engage users.
Our vision is founded on a need to work together in the use of web technologies to achieve business goals across the University, developing the operational agility to take advantage of the most promising online opportunities.
Our web strategy aligns with the University’s Vision 2025, Corporate Plan and other significant institutional and national strategies, and complement initiatives such as Service Excellence and Digital Transformation. This strategy was developed in the manner in which it should be executed – collaboratively – with strong senior leadership and active engagement from publishers and practitioners across the University.
One theme of our strategy is that of ‘Influential voices’. We aim for:
Increased online visibility for the work of staff, students and, ultimately, the University
Improved profile and visibility for the University across search and online channels
Well-trained staff and students who effectively and safely manage their online identity
Improved cooperative working online with partners from the commercial, third and public sectors
Enhanced partnership syndication of University content
Investigation into the development and deployment of a centrally-managed website publishing platform
Development of policies, processes and quality control mechanisms to support staff and student publishing
Development of content syndication and sharing tools
Creation of training materials and investment in associated communities of practice
The development of and launch of an academic blogging platform and Domain of One’s Own is a big part of what we are doing in this theme of our web strategy. You can read more about this in blog posts from Anne-Marie and Lorna. And once Jonathan is in post, you can meet our new Head of Web Strategy to find out more about each of the other themes.
Work is currently underway to manage and rationalise the web estate.
The University owns and manages the domain www.ed.ac.uk but a devolved approach in managing the University web estate has resulted in a growth of websites and associated web applications.
An audit of University infrastructure in September 2017 found that there are around 1,600 University of Edinburgh websites, only one of which is the corporate University Website (www.ed.ac.uk/*). The corporate University website contains 400 sub-sites of its own.
The other website domains are split between circa 1,300 sub-domains (for example, law.ed.ac.uk) and 300 top-level domains (for example, www.mediblog.ed.ac.uk) depending on the business unit’s affiliation to the University. The suppliers, technology base or quality of these solutions is not well known and it’s a bit of a wild west at the moment.