We want to make our data freely available to a wider community

Last Friday I attended the JISC content programme workshop on Communication and Dissemination at the JISC meeting rooms in London, just off Waterloo Bridge.

London from Waterloo Bridge

London from Waterloo Bridge #1, by Duncan Harris (used under Creative Commons)

Once again we worked in our clusters of related projects. We discussed the various social media channels our projects used, which we found to be the most effective and how we could make better use of our social media activities.

Prior to attending the meeting, I had revisited our dissemination plan and also created a communications plan. The dissemination plan deals with how we will inform our various stakeholders, including the outside world in general, about the progress of our project, while the communications plan is more of a project management tool, laying out how the project team will communicate, how we will report to the project board and JISC and our communications with the various contractors.

As part of our communications plan I prepared an elevator speech.  This is a short document in which you describe your project in the time it would take you to make a journey in a lift. Imagine if you were trying to pitch your first book to a famous publisher, and had two minutes in a lift with them. I was really glad I prepared the elevator speech, as I had the opportunity to read it out in the workshop!

One of the most important things I took away from the workshop was the idea that you have to find ‘stories’ within your project – elements that draw people in and make your work more accessible. Another point for me to note was that we needed to match our services to our users and then let our users know how the service will benefit them.