Wednesday, November 18, 2009

British Standards Enhancement Group -November 2009 meeting

There was general agreement that the latest upgrade to the BSOL site was a great improvement. Members of the committee had received very positive feedback from users about enhancements to the site. Especially highlighted were separated keyword and number search that My Downloads now works for academic users. There was general agreement that the new design makes far better use of space on the screen and that the information presented is easier to read. Feedback from CLAUD (Librarians in Higher Education networking to improve library access for disabled users in the South and South-West of England) who act as advisors to JIBS on accessibility issues had also been very positive and their suggestions for further enhancements have been passed to BSI for consideration.
The committee were less happy with the upgrade process. It was felt that communication about the upgrade had been less than clear and messages on the main BSI site had been rather different to information on Twitter. BSI has learned from the experience and, in future, will announce target dates well in advance, even if they come with a “health warning” that they may change. The committee also reported on the problems some users had face with redirection of links and EZproxy that had given some access problems during the first few days of the upgrades operation. This was especially frustrating as both Sheffield Hallam and the Open University had offered free consultancy advice on EZproxy prior to the switchover; this offer had not been taken up. BSI promised in future to take up the offer of advice on authentication issues.
The next phase of development for BSOL will separate the product from the Group website and eShop at a more fundamental architectural level. BSI will also work on search enhancements and create the ability to identify users individually (regardless of their authentication method); this will help in implementation of personalisation features for academic users. There is at the moment no firm timescale for future upgrades and that includes Shibboleth compliance. BSI had decided to change its outsourcing development partner and some concern was expressed by the group that this would further delay any enhancements. However BSI had enhanced its in-house team and they felt that this would lead to significant improvements to the preservation of internal knowledge about the architecture and technology.

BSI has come to an agreement with IHS whereby they will no longer act as a sales agent for BSOL. IHS will still sell BSI content through their web products, but they will no longer act as a sales agent for BSOL.BSI were asked about the Info4Education deal – specifically whether discounts will be maintained. BSI confirmed that the pricing for BSOL will remain the same for the remainder of the deal lifetime (summer 2011) and JISC will be invoiced by BSI accordingly. The BSOL link from within the Info4Education page will be removed (effective 1st January 2010) and subscribers that currently access BSOL in this way will need to create a direct link. BSI Customer Support is on hand to help, where necessary. This has been communicated to JISC and BSI will make sure that messaging from JISC is complete

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