Monday 29 November 2010

The Christmas run up has begun!

University Christmas Card 2010
So, 26 days to Christmas and we're officially feeling festive! We have the usual internal ideas knocking around, we should the Christmas party be this year, who do we need to send cards to and how do we 'festivise' the staff website, do we go with a sprig of holly or a christmas pudding?

This year we will be sending out a card designed by one of our staff members and in aid of Victim Support. However, the big development for us this year is going to be our 'going green' move of offering a digital Christmas card for our staff to send out. We've had them previously and they did go down rather well but there was always a question from our ISD department about the security of an online system. So this year we've tackled the problems head on and decided on an internally hosted software solution with LDAP authentication! This solves the problem of how to keep the system secure and also means that we will be able to use the system for other cards during the year.

A win win solution that keeps us and ISD happy, the only question now is when do we release it to staff, after all , it is almost December!

Monday 15 November 2010

We've won a Gold CIPR PRide award!

Kris Collins & Pete Simpson,
CIPR PRide awards 2010
So, the CIPR PRide awards have come and gone for another year and we did rather well! The external website ( picked up a Gold award for Best Website, a real sign that the improvements, tweaks and new developments we've been putting in over the last 12 months have really paid off! The site was highlighted to have met the expectations of its audience as a well navigated and precise source of information.

Our internal staff publication 'Life' picked up a Silver award for best publication and our staff website ( was shortlisted for Best Internal Communications.

All in all a very successful night for the MARC team and it's always great to receive recognition for all the hard work! Congratulations to everyone that won an award on the night and we'll probably see you all next year!

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Android lands at the University of Bedfordshire...

So, whilst we've been working on an iPhone app for the University it turns out that we have also had an internally facing Android application built... in just one week using the new Google App Inventor. It's in beta at the moment and is invitation only but a colleague in the LRC, Paul Fryer, has managed to get his name on the list and built his first application!

The app is free to download and covers a host of useful areas with contact details for library staff, GPS 'Find a campus' options and searches of the library catalogue. It's compatible with all Android phones running version 1.6 and above.

This has really shown us that the tools out there to develop for the Android platform have matured and can now assist all novice programmers with producing an engaging application. With the Android marketplace still running behind on the number of applications available when compared with Apple's App Store this could be just the boost it needs.

It's now been released into the wild and is available for download from the LRWeb site. It's aimed primarily at our current students but if you fancy a look then why not download a copy?

Visit LRWeb for the Android application

Friday 5 November 2010

The evolution of the Geek...

A nice infographic from Flowtown, the question is though, which one are you?

I'm going to go with Tech Geek as me!

The evolution of the Geek - via

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Click Heat is finally installed

Well, it's been a long time coming, months of negotiations with our IT department and we have finally had an instance of Click Heat installed to run on our external website. The idea of heat mapping came up in a post I made way back in January when we were originally looking at a paid for service to provide us with details. However, a very handy reply from Mike Nolan pointed us to the open source ClickHeat option instead and we now finally have it installed!

It's only a few weeks in but it's already highlighting some interesting trends on our page usage and has shown that we are still the first point of contact for our current students as well as prospective. The hottest spot on our homepage is to our VLE 'BREO'... This feedback will obviously help us when we look at re-shuffling the content on our pages and also highlights how we need to further promote our internal services to our current students.

I've dropped a screenshot of the Click Heat output below to show how visual the stats are, also a big bonus when trying to show why changes to page layouts are needed!

Click Heat output for the initial two weeks of running