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Preservation of Web Resources: a JISC-funded project [Archived Blog]

JISC Advisory Services to be Closed – But Don’t Panic!

Posted by Brian Kelly on January 15th, 2009

A message sent to the JISC infoNet  JISCMail (and other) lists back in November described significant changes to the structure of the JISC Advisory Services:

 JISC and the Advisory Services have been looking at ways to be more agile and flexible to respond to the changing needs and demands of thefurther and higher education communities. The outcome of this review is to create a new company called JISC Services.

JISC infoNet, JISC Legal, JISC TechDis, Netskills, Procureweb and TASI are coming together to create JISC Services which will formally come into existence on 1 August 2009.

The aim of the new company is to create a more flexible and comprehensive source of advice, with increased opportunities for addressing new and changing needs across the community. This change is designed to ensure that our services continue to offer the internationally acclaimed advice for which they are renowned. Putting the further and higher education communities at the centre of what we do will be strengthened by working together as one company to deliver expertise and advice.

You will still be able to access all of the services you currently value via the usual channels and over the next few months the services will increasingly join together at events, on projects and in producing resources.

Find out more about the JISC Services at: http://www.jisc-services.ac.uk

I recently wrote about the closure of organisations and best practices for preserving the resources hosted on the organisational Web sites. This case is rather different – rather than closing down organisations JISC is building on the strengths of the advisory services and seeking to provide benefits to the user community by providing a more seamless interface (and remember, if the advisory services were regarding as failing to deliver a valuable service we might have expected the organisational changes to have provied an opportunity to close any lame ducks).

The challenge, from the perspective of Web site preservation, is to try to ensure that valuable resources are not lost in the merger process.  I feel that this change could provide valuable lessons for the wider community – the JISC Advisory Services, after all, won;t be the last organisations to be reorganised! And let’s hope that the lessons are based on a successful migration of the Web resources, and not lessons on what can go wrong!

3 Responses to “JISC Advisory Services to be Closed – But Don’t Panic!”

  1. Chris Rusbridge Says:

    I write this with some concerns because of its implication for us, but in the process, please ensure old URIs continue to work! This is comparatively easy in most cases, provided you specify it at the time of any web-site transition. UKOLN agreed to do this with the old eLib sites back in about 1996, and those URIs still work to this day. I know this isn’t always easy, and we have some edge cases which are really tricky that worry me in the context of our own forthcoming web-site transition, which include a PHP-based bulletin board (our Forum), and change history in a wiki. Nevertheless, I think this continuity is a significant aim.

  2. Gill Ferrell Says:

    Brian I know you like to be provocative but this title really could cause uneccessary alarm.
    There is no question of any of the individual services ‘closing’ in any way. At the most basic level the company is simply taking on the management functions curently carried out by the JISC Executive – the changes are therefore mainly in the Exec rather than in the services. Of course we will be using this as an opportunity to look at how we can clarify our offer to the community and make things simpler for our audiences by making them more joined up but i would hate anyone to think that they were about to lose services they currently value.

    N.B. We will of course be looking at improving access to web-based resources wherever they sit. Again there is no question of existing urls changing although we will have to look at where new resources that are created collaboratively will sit (this should be seamless to the end user).

  3. Brian Kelly Says:

    Hi Gill Thanks for the comments. It wasn’t completely clear to me what the chnanges would entail and I couldn’t find an FAQ. It’s good to hear the the changes appear to be essentially cosmetic.