UK Web Focus

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Archive for September 19th, 2011

Sharing Job Information More Effectively

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 19 September 2011

Vacancies in Institutional Web Teams

Orla Weir, head of Digital Strategy at the University of Salford, recently asked me for suggestions on place places to publish information about a number of vacancies which are available in the new central digital team at the University of Bath.  My initial suggestion was to use the website-info-mgt and the web-support JISCMail lists and, as can be seen from the list archives, the message, which is summarised below, has been sent to the 564 members of the website-info-mgt list and the 588 members of the web-support list:

Digital Communications Officer
Grade 7 – £29,972 – £35,788
The Central Digital Team is part of the Communications Directorate and leads and manages the digital engagement, visual standards and digital presence of the University. As a small team, it is responsible for the creation and implementation of Digital Strategy including governance, platforms, innovation, and best practice and is essentially the glue that sits across many of the university engagement tools and services. The remit of the team includes: CMS, Web, Social, eLearning (promotion and visualisation), eCRM, Mobile, SEO and URL strategy.
The Digital Communications Officer will be a critical part of this small team and will be responsible for managing the digital presence and engagement model for the University. This includes internal customer relationships, project leadership, implementation, content delivery and evaluation. The role is a hybrid role which requires both technical and communications skills. It also requires an appetite and enthusiasm for all things digital and a desire to be part of creating an exemplar digital engagement presence.
The purpose of the role is to implement and manage the University’s web presence and digital engagement including content and platform implementation, design, communications and measurement. The scope of the role includes the appropriate use of all digital platforms using truly multichannel integration consistent with the University Digital Strategy.
Closing Date – 21/09/2011

But in a era of social media and syndicated content might there be additional ways of making such information available to a wider range of potential applicants?  And might we not expect those working in institutional Web teams within higher education to be pro-active in looking oat communication channels which may provide  additional benefits, such as being able to reach out to potential applicants who may not be members of these two mailing lists?

Careers 2.0: the Stack Overflow Careers Site

Coincidentally a recent tweet from @psychemedia (Tony Hirst) asked’:

Wondering if any HEIs ever post developer job ads to stack overflow careers site? http://bit.ly/pluFJE #devcsi @briankelly

I had a look at this site and found that although a search for vacancies containing the string “Web” shows that there are currently 404 (!) positions currently available, carrying out a search for “University” in the UK results in only five hits, as illustrated.

However, as described in the FAQ, the Careers 2.0 service is intended for employers who are looking for programmers, which they suggest can have a role to play as “part of the process as the first technical interview. Instead of scheduling a screening call with a member of your technical staff, just have your staff review the candidate’s profile“.  The service, which provides information on 38,127 , is aimed primarily at developers who have contributed to the Stack Overflow service – although there is a job listing service which employers may be interested in using as a means of reaching out to developers who are users of Stack Overflow.

IWTB, the Institutional Web Team Blog Aggregator

UKOLN’s IWTB (Institutional Web Team blog aggregator) service was officially launched at the IWMW 2011 event held at the University of Reading on 26-27 July. The service aggregates blogs provided by those working in (or have close affiliations with) institutional Web teams.  The service can be used to help identify what one’s peers across UK’s institutional Web teams are doing and what they are communicating to their users.

A search for ‘vacancies’ shows that several vacancies were advertised in July on the University of Bath Web services blog, with the University of Essex also advertising vacancies in their team in July.

As will many social Web services, the blog aggregator will become more effective as the numbers of users grows. We will shortly be promoting use of this service more actively. For now I will give a reminder that an online form for submitting the URL for an institutional Web team blog can be accessed from the IWMW home page.

Harvesting RSS Feeds

In a post entitled Autodiscoverable Feeds and UK HEIs (Again…) Tony Hirst revisited the provision of auto-discoverable RSS feeds on institutional Web sites. Tony’s post listed a number of areas in which RSS feeds can add value which  included:

jobs: if every UK HEI published a jobs/vacancies RSS feed, it would trivial to build an aggregator and let people roll their own versions of jobs.ac.uk.

Tony’s post also that he had developed a  developed a Scraperwiki tool to find auto-discoverable RSS feeds on University home page, which builds on his previous work in this area which used a Yahoo Pipe.  The Scraperwiki tool now analyses the RSS feeds and the output from the tool provides listings of news feeds, event feeds, research information feeds, Twitter feeds, as well as for jobs feeds. A summary of the UK University home pages which provide autodiscoveable job feeds is given below:

Feed Title URL
Jobs at Bath http://www.bath.ac.uk/jobs/RSS/rss.aspx
Great careers start here… http://www.cumbria.ac.uk/Home.aspx?NewsStandardandMiniCombo_StandardList_SyndicationType=1
Great careers start here… http://www.cumbria.ac.uk/Home.aspx?NewsStandardandMiniCombo_StandardList_SyndicationType=2
Great careers start here… http://www.cumbria.ac.uk/Home.aspx?NewsStandardandMiniCombo_MiniList_SyndicationType=1
Great careers start here… http://www.cumbria.ac.uk/Home.aspx?NewsStandardandMiniCombo_MiniList_SyndicationType=2
Edge Hill University Job Vacancies http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/jobs/feed
http:www.st-andrews.engageats.co.uk latest vacancies https://www.vacancies.st-andrews.ac.uk/VacanciesFeed.aspx

The Future

In a recent guest post entitled Lend Me Your Ears Dear University Web Managers! Dave Flanders, a JISC Programme Manager which summarised work carried out in the “Linking You“ project at the  University of Lincoln. A survey of 40 Web sites across the .ac.uk domain (ten from each university group) was carried out in order to compare patterns of usage for URLs to key information sources.  The project found there were inconsistencies in the representation of information for graduates and undergraduates.  However there were also good conventions that have emerged across the sector. From this work the ‘Linking You’ project proposed a common set of URL syntaxes that could be used in principle across multiple corporate institutional Web sites.

The project outlined a number of benefits to the sector which can be gained from agreement on common URI practices, which included:

  • Provision of news feed aggregators: If we all knew where all the corporate news feeds were e.g. http://foo.ac.uk/news/rss we could create a UK University News Aggregation Service where the sector could have their news published on demand, let alone text mining goodness and other filters for highlight key news developments across all higher and further education institutions.
  • A sector wide directory: Common information such as institutional policies, contact information, news, about, events, etc. could be aggregated into a searchable directory; useful to both the public and HEI data geeks.

I can’t help but feel that Universities (and institutional Web teams) which are early adopters of such practices may gain advantages.  The Web teams which highlight their vacancies in a Web team blog will be able to see the content surfaced to viewers of the IWMW service and content linked in from University home pages in ways which can be found by software will continue to of interest to developers who will be looking for institutional data. I wonder how long it will take before others start to follow the approaches taken at the Universities of Bath, Cumbria, St. Andrews and Edge Hill?

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