MyQueen's website coming soon

Students and faculty alike will find individual exam schedules, concert listings, and customized University content all in one place as early as January, thanks to a new University wide web portal.

The site, which will be unveiled Jan. 5, is a project of Information Technology Services (ITS).

“What’s been happening over the last three to five years is that more and more departments, both academic and service, are using the web as a communication and service tool,” said David Hallett, manager of University information systems for ITS. “But it’s unintegrated—they’re all doing their own thing.” The intention of the new portal, tentatively named myQueen’s, is to unite the various services and sources of information that the University offers—from QCARD and QLINK, to Library Services, to the Registrar’s Office—under one interface.

“The technology that we’ve purchased allows us to deliver [all of these] services using a single ID and password,” Hallett said.

He explained that integration of service would allow for more customization and personalization. “[The purpose of the portal is to] deliver services and information based on who you are and what your role is at the University,” he said.

Hallet added that, once users login, the new software will automatically customize the page to present information they may be interested in and weed out what they don’t need to know, based on the data the University has about each individual.

“[For instance], we don’t need to present a link for undergraduate pre-registration to a grad student,” he said. Students will also be able to set their own preferences. The portal is intended to complement the main website, with its anonymous, brochure-type content, Hallett said.

“Right now, the main Queen’s website doesn’t know who you are,” he said. “There are tabs for Prospective Students, Current Students, Alumni, Faculty—so it’s hard to navigate.”

The website and have already been overhauled this year. The AMS website was formerly a portal, but decided to switch to a more anonymous content format.

“We have resources at our disposal that the AMS does not,” Hallett said. “AMS doesn’t know if you’re in Faculty A or Faculty B, if you’re an undergrad or a grad student, so they weren’t able to customize their services [based on that information].” The current mockup of the myQueen’s portal has five tabs across the top, one linking to the main University homepage and the other four to specialized Faculty, Academic, Campus Life and Services pages.

“We might be able to put your exam schedule on the Academics tab, while the Campus Life tab could let you know who’s playing at the local bars,” Hallett said.

A version of the portal, featuring the Home, Academics and Campus Life tabs is due to be released in early 2006, with the rest of the features being rolled out over the year. “Basically, we’re working very hard this academic year to have it ready for the next academic year,” Hallett said.

“What we hope [for with this portal] is that the World Wide Web, which is really the Wild Wild West, becomes a little more organized, civilized and easier to use.”

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