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The `ISI Web of Knowledge Service for UK Education', an exemplar for major service transition?

R.MacIntyre1, N.J.Williams1 and K.D.Eason2

1Mimas, The University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL,UK. {Ross.MacIntyre, Norma.Williams}@manchester.ac.uk
2The Bayswater Institute, 9 Orme Court, London, W2 4RL, UK K.D.Eason@lboro.ac.uk

Paper presented by Ross MacIntyre at:
ICIM 2005 - International Conference on Information Management in a Knowledge Society, Mumbai, India, 21 - 25 February 2005. (Organised as part of the 50th anniversary of the Indian Association of Special Libraries and Information Centres (IASLIC).)

View a pre-print of the paper (or in PDF format for printing).

The `ISI Web of Knowledge Service for UK Education' is the most high profile and heavily used academic data resource in the UK's Higher Education and Research communities. It is an intranet implementation, hosted at the UK's national academic data centre at the University of Manchester, and in terms of usage, is the largest single instance in the world. This paper will tell the tale of the last 5 years, starting with the transition activities undertaken to move the substantial user community from the previous service. The transition itself was subsequently described by the funding body's `Monitoring and Advisory Unit' as an exemplar for a major service. This success was naturally dependent upon the establishment of a very close working relationship with Thomson ISI, the application and data provider. Activities included establishing a sound user support environment, with a variety of online and pre-printed materials. Partnering with library and teaching professionals to develop and run 'train-the-trainer' courses, repeated subsequently with new version releases. Coping with a constant increase in user base and demands on the server, any upgrade to which required formal applications to external funding committees. The innovative use of additional, low cost, application servers to meet demand peaks. The paper will also describe the formalised enhancement request process, which has helped the UK community directly affect the product's development in a structured and measured fashion and which involves all stakeholders. Topics covered will be of interest to anyone working in supplying and supporting online information services to a large, diverse community.

2 March 2005

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