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April 20, 2015   Columns Articles | Inside UGA | University to replace Faculty Activity Repository with…

University to replace Faculty Activity Repository with UGA Elements

Camie Williams

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By Camie Williams | April 20, 2015
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This fall, the university will launch UGA Elements, a new authoritative profiling database for faculty. Think of it as the UGA version of LinkedIn.

The system will become the primary source of data for UGA faculty research, scholarship, service, awards and honors. The new tool will replace the Faculty Activity Repository, which will be decommissioned June 15. Beginning in spring 2016, all UGA faculty will be required to use UGA Elements to facilitate the annual performance evaluation process.

After a yearslong process and input from working groups of more than 50 faculty members and staff, UGA selected Elements software because of its easy-to-use format and automated input.

"With UGA Elements, faculty can find colleagues with similar research interests to partner with across campus," said Jerry Legge, associate provost for academic planning. "With the option to make portions of their UGA Elements profile public in the future, faculty can raise their visibility on the national and international level and help attract students and collaborators."

In UGA Elements, information about faculty publications automatically is added to profiles from authoritative sources, including Thomson-Reuters' Web of Science and PubMed. The software, which is used by such universities as Emory University, Georgia Tech, Duke University, Cornell University and the University of Virginia, will be used by all UGA faculty—from librarians and professors to public service associates and research scientists.

Over the past year, a working group led by the Office of Academic Planning, Enterprise Information Technology Services and the Office of the Vice President for Research, in conjunction with the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, consulted with liaisons from every school and college at the university to design a product that meets the diversity of needs across campus. Those administrative liaisons, listed at http://elements.uga.edu/contact, also serve as the primary point of contact for faculty with questions about Elements.

Legge said information from UGA databases such as FAR, Athena and Contracts and Grants will be migrated to the new system this summer. When the system is accessible to all faculty in the fall, information such as a faculty member's education, positions and contact information already will be part of their profile. Course information, grants and many professional activities also will be automatically loaded into the system.

"A major advantage of UGA Elements is the automatic searching of public and subscription databases for publications authored by UGA faculty," said Robert Scott, associate vice president for research, who serves on the UGA Elements working group.

"When Elements is put into production this fall, faculty will see a list of search results and be asked to claim the publications they authored," Scott added. "As they continue to publish, the new publications will be retrieved automatically. Additional publications can be entered through various import processes, so we expect much less manual entry than was required in the existing system."

Additional functionality will be added to UGA Elements in the coming years. Because of this phased approach, some of the data in the Faculty Activity Repository will not be migrated into the UGA Elements system at its initial launch. Although the information will be stored for later use, faculty who want to maintain a personal copy of the data in FAR can run and store a report before the June 15 decommissioning. Instructions for doing so can be found at http://elements.uga.edu/training.

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