Tumbleweeds rolling through this blog the last few months. No coincidence really that my last post coincided with the departure of Kerry from the team, bringing the grand total to … well, me.
So it’s been firefighting, stopping things falling off the website and covering Kerry’s role as best I could these last 5 months, helped by a great temp, Lisa, who has manned the web inbox and covered the day to day support of the CMS admirably.
Looking back, we have actually managed to achieve a few things over this time, notably:
- Moving hosting companies: The website now runs on a virtual platform at ULCC, replacing our old web kit that was rapidly approaching end of life. Back end developments aren’t sexy or normally of much interest outside of the team but the big benefit of the move is the speed of the website and, notably, the CMS, which always suffered from performance issues on the old kit. It feels like a different bit of software. Most gratifying as this was always the biggest gripe about the CMS from its users.
- Revamp of the About JISC section: 25% of visitors to the homepage go to the About JISC section and it was long overdue an overhaul. So we now have an About JISC page that simplifies who we are, what we do and how we work – and also spells out the JISC acronym (it’s interesting how many users get really hung up about this, even though ‘Joint Information Systems Committee’ raises as many questions as it answers). The IA has been simplified, the content refreshed and we have a historical timeline, built for us by Stefan Goodchild from the open source software developed by MIT.
- JISC Involve moves to JISC Advance: We facilitated the move of JISC Involve, the blogging platform for the .ac.uk community, to JISC Advance (run on a day to day basis by JISC Mail). JISC Involve was a project that was run on a best efforts basis by the team but a couple of pinch points, such as a difficult upgrade, made us realise that we couldn’t adequately support it on current resource levels. It was always the intention to move it to a JISC Service if it proved successful (which it has) and so I’m really pleased that JISC Advance and JISC Mail have taken it over. I wish them all the best in running Involve and hopefully developing it into something bigger and better.
And last, but by no means least, we have recruited a new Digital Content Editor. Richard West joins us from UWE, where he was Web Editor in the Marketing and Communications Department. He brings skills and experience in content management, design, social media and digital marketing to the team – and is most welcome (after 5 months on my own!). Let’s hope he’s a blogger, eh?