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A survey of UK university web management: staffing, systems and issues

By A.M. Cox and S. Emmott

Abstract

Purpose: \ud The purpose of the paper is to summarize the findings of a survey of UK universities about how their web site is managed and resourced, which technologies are in use and what are seen as the main issues and priorities.\ud Methodology/approach: \ud The paper is based on a web based questionnaire distributed in summer 2006, and which received 104 usable responses from 87 insitutions.\ud Findings: \ud The survey showed that some web teams were based in IT and some in external relations, yet in both cases the site typically served internal and external audiences. The role of web manager is partly management of resources, time and people, partly about marketing and liaison and partly also concerned with more technical aspects including interface design and HTML. But it is a diverse role with a wide spread of responsibilities. On the whole web teams were relatively small. Three quarters of responding institutions had a CMS, but specific systems in use were diverse. 60% had a portal. There was evidence of increasing use of blogs and wikis. The key driver for the web site is student recruitment, with instituitional reputation and information to stakeholders also being important. The biggest perceived weaknesses were maintaining consistency with devolved content creation and currency of content; lack of resourcing a key threat while comprehensiveness was a key strength. Current and wished for projects pointed again to the diversity of the sector.\ud Research implications/limitations: \ud The lack of comparative data and difficulties of interpreting responses to closed questions where respondents could have quite different status (partly reflecting divergent patterns of governance of the web across the sector) create issues with the reliability of the research.\ud Practical implications: \ud Data about resourcing of web management, technology in use etc at comparable institutions is invaluable for practitioners in their efforts to gain resource in their own context.\ud Originality/value of paper: \ud The paper adds more systematic, current data to our limited knowledge about how university web sites are managed.\u

Publisher: Emerald
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:9049

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