McMaster Experts web platform set to launch this fall

By Lori Dillon, September 7, 2017

Sharing McMaster’s research expertise and searching for a McMaster expert is about to get a lot easier, thanks to a new institutional initiative set to launch this fall.

The new web platform, known as McMaster Experts, is designed to offer users quick and easy access to the University’s vast research expertise.  It will launch in tandem with the University’s newly-branded Brighter World research stories website.

McMaster Experts is a joint initiative between Research & High Performance Computing Support (RHPCS) and the University Library, and supported by the Office of the Vice-President, Research, the Provost, Communications and Public Affairs, and University Technology Services.

Project leads, Ranil Sonnadara, Executive Director, RHPCS, and Vivian Lewis, University Librarian, have been overseeing the development of the database, currently in a pilot phase, for the last year.

The technology platform supporting McMaster Experts has been incredibly successful at a number of US research-intensive schools, including Duke, Brown, Texas A&M, and Cornell – where the open-source software was originally developed over a decade ago.

“It’s basically a gateway for a multitude of audiences – be they potential collaborators, media, industry, government agencies, or the general community – to tap into our rich and diverse research talent to broaden our reach, maximize the potential of our research the world over, and, ultimately, create new partnership and collaboration opportunities,” says Sonnadara.

McMaster Experts will contain individual faculty profile pages structured to optimize search engine results and will include both appointment and publication information.  Profiles are created automatically using a software program that reads Human Resource information (name, appointments, contact info) from Mosaic, and then gathers publication information for each individual from licensed sources.

From there, bibliographic data is held in an internal profile (that is, it’s not publicly accessible) and faculty members will have the opportunity to validate its contents as well as select what information is displayed publicly. A sample profile can be seen here. (Note: if you are connecting from off-campus, you’ll need to go through the VPN).

Lewis says this initial content is just the start, and that the platform is designed to help researchers build a dynamic profile of their research interests, collaborations and links to their media activities.