The value of an Integrated eResearch Service Catalogue: a La Trobe University case study

Dr Ghulam Murtaza1, Ms Sheila Mukerjee2

1Intersect Australia Ltd, Sydney, Australia, ghulam@intersect.org.au

2La Trobe University, Bundoora, Austalia, sheila.mukerjee@latrobe.edu.au

 

ABSTRACT

The provision of information on the full range of services available to researchers within a university is always challenging. IT groups, research offices and libraries within universities use websites or similar tools to communicate service offerings with varying degrees of effectiveness. Common problems include the large amount of information that needs to be communicated, the use of different terminology by different departments of the university, different methods to request services from different departments and where to find the most relevant and up to date information.

Universities, like other organisations, commonly adopt service desk approaches for their internal service delivery in areas such as IT, HR, facilities, etc. These involve the use of process-oriented tools and aim to achieve economies of scale within an organisation. Increasingly, universities are sourcing some services from external providers and the mix of internal/external service delivery is therefore changing over time. The key objective is to provide information to end users (researchers) that is comprehensive (incorporating both internal and external service delivery), user-friendly, and enables easy access. The researcher should not need to know about the “back office” arrangements used to provide the services.

A number of Intersect member universities are now attempting to improve the quality and effectiveness of eResearh support information and access they provide to researchers through more integrated approaches. In particular, the Intersect eResearch Analysts in several member organisations are working with the local Research Office, IT and Library groups to create an “integrated service catalogue” for researchers. This involves using the local internal communications channel (eg. intranet) to inform researchers and give them an opportunity to request the full range of eResearch support services, regardless of where the service elements are sourced. The consolidated list of services include:

  • Training relevant to researchers, consultation and advice for researchers, grant assistance, research IT planning, research software development and research data management services
  • HPC, storage and compute services offered by all providers

This presentation shares the experience of collaboratively developing an integrated eResearch services catalogue for La Trobe University and Intersect services. The presentation will cover elements such as the architecture of integrated services, how external services were embedded within the university, and the behind the scenes IT led triaging process and service delivery model for eResearch services. We present analysis of the metrics built around this integrated service catalogue to provide insights into the response of the research community and opportunities for new and improved services.


 

Biographies:

Dr Ghulam Murtaza is currently Intersect Digital Research Analyst for La Trobe University. During his time at Intersect, Ghulam has worked with Australian Catholic University and La Trobe University where he has lead multiple eResearch initiatives including the efforts to imbed Intersect services within local eResearch offerings. Ghulam is a published researcher and has previously held research and academic positions at many different reputable universities including UNSW, MAARCS institute of WSU, NEWT and Microsoft Research. Ghulam holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and Masters of Science in Computer Science from LUMS, Pakistan. He further completed his PhD in Computer Science from University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Sheila Mukerjee is Manager of Business Engagement for ICT at La Trobe University with a portfolio covering Research and Library. Her role of strategic partner and advisor covers strategy and business plans, future direction, major capital projects, business improvements and the sourcing and building of specialist technology capability for researchers. She has a keen interest in the way universities operate and strategise in the changing landscape of education with particular emphasis on technology and agility. She has published in the areas of data warehousing, student systems and agility in the education sector.

About the conference

eResearch Australasia provides opportunities for delegates to engage, connect, and share their ideas and exemplars concerning new information centric research capabilities, and how information and communication technologies help researchers to collaborate, collect, manage, share, process, analyse, store, find, understand and re-use information.

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