Voice search for the desktop, Google Instant Pages, faster searching, image searching, personalised searches…searching on the Web has refused to sit still.
This year IWMW has two plenary talks exploring institutional Web sites and their relationship with search engines.
In Search Engines in the fight against Institutional Impecuniousness David Hawking, Chief Scientist at the internet and enterprise search company Funnelback, takes a look at how effective publishing and effective search can help institutions fight substantial reductions in financial means.
David explains how efficiency gains can come from reducing the load of student enquiries — relating to timetables, exams, courses, degree rules, lecture notes and study materials, accommodation, building locations and accessing services. They can also come from improving the productivity of research, teaching and support staff — locating policies, accessing services, contacting other staff, locating expertise, preparing grant applications and ethics approvals, providing research and statistical returns to the government, preparing lectures and course materials, and assessing assignments.
Income depends upon success in recruitment of students, both domestic and international. An institution’s student income can be increased by more effectively communicating the courses it has on offer, the accommodation which it provides and the selling points of the institution itself. Income also comes from grants, research outputs, higher degree completions, alumnus donations, bequests, and industry partnerships. Research income is highly dependent on effective recruitment of quality staff and research students. All this depends heavily upon the ability of the institution to publish information about itself and to increase the likelihood that target audiences will find that information.
His talk will look at the range of ways in which search and publication technologies can assist. He will also present case studies that demonstrate this approach.
Last year Melius Weideman, Professor at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), attended IWMW as a delegate and was very keen to come back and present on his area of interest: the “What” and “Why” of Search Engine Optimisation. It’s great to have an international speaker along!
Melius talk on UK University Website Visibility – responding to the quirks of the crawler uses empirical research results to highlight the important website visibility issues. He will share a comparative study on some UK university websites to indicate where improvements can be made to increase their visibility to crawlers. In a fairly practical plenary Melius will help delegates to identify and rank both positive and negative website visibility elements, to do a brief evaluation of a university website’s visibility and to be able to suggest improvements to a website in terms of increasing its visibility.