Irrespective of CMS in use there is a requirement to review the University search tools, and search strategy. A range of consultation and research activities have revealed issues with the current search functionality and inappropriate results are often delivered. Full details of the research completed are detailed in section 2.6 of the project proposal. The current solution is relying on a free offering from Google which was set up by Communications and Marketing a number of years ago.

This proposal is for a project to investigate and propose an alternative search engine solution (and identify the on-going management requirements) which can be used across all areas of the University website and a framework within which it is managed – both technically and editorially. This will involve business analysis for the view of how the future search could be managed within each of the business units. It is expected that this would involve a short study of how another similar organisation manages search.

Business analysis would be needed to:

  • Propose criteria for what makes a good search (desk research and competitor analysis)
  • Facilitate agreement and prioritisation of those criteria for the desired search experience –balanced with resources and expectations of delivering that experience


Success will be measured by the delivery of:

  • A clear recommendation about which technology should be used
  • How much it will cost to run on an on-going basis
  • A viable process for how the search could be managed in a devolved editorial environment
  • A clear statement of scope of what the search engine will cover (e.g. staff contacts, student services, library, etc) including any limitation on expansion to include other University sources


The immediate benefit will be that the University will have a road map for implementing and supporting a significantly improved search solution for internal and external website visitors. This would lay the foundations to achieving the long-term objective of enhancing the users search experience on all websites - audience focused, coherent search results are a requirement that must be managed by the University. It would also deliver the information needed for a project proposal for the next annual planning round in January 2013 to enable the long-term objective to be realised.

Out of scope: procurement, development and implementation of the recommended solution is not covered in this project.

An additional future benefit will be that with a new search engine, the business will be able to weight search results to reflect the institutions strategic objectives. This will only be realised following a full implementation (in a different project) of the recommended solution and support.


Current project status

Report Date RAG Budget Effort Completed Effort to complete
April 2013 BLUE 62.5 days 33.8 days 1.0

Project Info

Alternative Search Engine Investigation
Z. ISG - University Website (UWP) (Closed)
Project Manager
Craig Middlemass
Project Sponsor
Dawn Ellis
Current Stage
Start Date
Planning Date
Delivery Date
Close Date

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