Building SPIRES and other communities

The basis of the project was the development of tools and techniques and their application to facilitate the SPIRES community and its internal and external connections, as well as other relevant networks. These included established communities, such as one around the Arts and Humanities, as well as networks around attendees at specific events, such as a conference on learning in the US. At the start of the project, very little information was available about the SPIRES membership. Together with SPIRES setting up a system on its new website and encouraging members to provide information about their activities, Inspires carried out work to create basic profile information about the membership. This was used to create an instance of ConnectApp, the tool developed to identify and display connections, for SPIRES. At the same time a detailed concept map was constructed to help analyse the high-level relationships between SPIRES members and their research.

Similar instances of ConnectApp and concept maps were created for other communities and networks. Because of the short timescale of the project, work was oriented particularly around events and activities, which provided a focus for developing and using tools and disseminating and evaluating the work of the project. Some of the key activities that the project participated in are outlined on the Events page. Although the project developed some powerful tools and techniques, its underlying purpose was in how these could be used. Some of its wider conclusions relating to this objective are discussed in Building networks and communities and General lessons and the future.