Search Engines in the fight against Institutional Impecuniousness


Since the GFC (global financial crisis) universities have been trying to maintain business as usual despite substantial reductions in financial means. The only paths to success in this challenging mission are (A) improving efficiency in delivery of services and (B) being more effective in attracting income. Effective publishing and effective search can contribute in several ways to both.

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.

All this is presumably obvious to you all. What is not so obvious is the range of ways in which search and publication technologies can assist. That is the subject of the talk and of the case studies to be presented.


The slides are available on the Slideshare repository and embedded below.

A video recording of the talk is hosted on Vimeo and embedded below.