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On Design

March 19th, 2010 by Bob Crisler

I thought long and hard about what to call this post; what to title it. Well, “long,” as in “long by the standards of the abbreviated attention span of life on the ‘Net.”

So for now, as I write this, it has the beguiling, slightly ponderous title ‘On Design,’ as if it’s going to reveal to you some big truths about design. If you were misled by the title, this is where I tell you to hit the ‘Back’ button; you simply must learn to use your time more wisely.
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Webometrics? (What is the Meaning of This?)

May 8th, 2009 by Bob Crisler

Every once in a while someone conjures up a new word … sometimes there’s even a new idea to accompany it. In the last ten or so years, a lot of those new words have been old words onto which the word “web” has been grafted. So it is that the term “webometrics” came into my email stream this morning. (As “web” words go, not too bad; not nearly as nauseous as “webinar.”)

Web sites are the tip of the spear these days in competition among universities. We often think of our site as a marketing vehicle, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a trove of scholarly output, a resource for professional journals and research publications, a lens into our planning and decisionmaking processes as a university. More and more, our website, taken as a whole, is a full and rich version of what we are as a university; our people, our activities and our ideas. More and more, it is the view through which others see us. For many who will never set foot in Lincoln, it may be the only view of us they have.

That’s what I’m thinking about as I scan through a new report on university “Webometrics,” passed along by friend Rebecca Carr, national coordinator of the AAU Data Exchange.*

“The “Webometrics Ranking of World Universities” is an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group belonging to the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the largest public research body in Spain,” says the opening page of the “webometrics” report. To paraphrase the “about” of the report, it is an attempt to rank the scholarly activity of any given university as revealed through its online presence.

So how did we do?

In the report, we’re number 67. Which if you’re a college basketball fan is good enough for a trip to the NIT. At first blush, not the greatest. But (big but) … the survey lists SIX THOUSAND institutions in its listing of Top Universities, out of 15,000 institutions analyzed. I’m feeling pretty good about that number 67 now. Read the rest of this entry »