Communicating University Research Identity

23 October 2008

These are notes from a talk by Simon Porter from the University of Melbourne at the Libraries Australia Forum 2008.

Simon Porter

All you needed to know about a University was a book.  Number of pages increase over time from 16 pages in 1870 to 227 pages in 2004.  Although the scope remains the same, the size increases.  Now the Universty calendar is a brand for an online resource.  From the webpage you get sent to a faculty home page.  The information isn’t collated in the way it used to be and it is often stored in many places rather than a central repository.

Important contextual framework for history.  Structure a history.  Because we are now in the online space, we can do different things with it.  We can collect stories not from just one individual, but from many individuals and relate them together.

In 2003 the University was disparate systems, with the information replicated all over the place.  By 2005 much of the information started to be in one place.  By 2006, they could take this information that had been prvate and make it public, giving each academic their own web page showing their information, their publications, their awards and honours.

With the list of publications on their pages they can construct OpenURLs to try and source the publications online.  They can then also link to other academics that have worked on the same projects or grants.  This is required as part of Government reporting.

Cornell Universities VIVO project.  They don’t have the same reporting requirements that we have in Australia, but they’ve build it (using RDF).  Expertise island in Ireland is a similar project.

The data has gone from being facts to being identities, not just representing the information that is there, but making an authority.  They have responsibilities to present the correct information now that the information is public rather than private.

What about privacy?  At the University of Melbourne it was expected that part of your duty was to the public.  There are some issues, they have the option of hiding their contact details or making them available.


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