Since its launch in 2009, Yaffle has provided Memorial University with a public engagement tool unlike any other; however, a new redevelopment project is aiming to take Yaffle from unique to ubiquitous.
Along with enhancing the tool’s functionality and user-experience, improvements to Yaffle’s ability to support collaboration and partnerships between Memorial and the public, including other educational institutions, are central to the redevelopment. The project is funded by Memorial, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
“One of the most significant developments will be an increased level of opportunity for users from the public to share their expertise and research ideas,” explained Jen Adams Warburton, Yaffle lead. “We’re also working with both the College of the North Atlantic and the University of New Brunswick to establish Yaffle at their institutions.” She also added that a number of other Canadian universities have also expressed interest in learning more about adopting Yaffle, once the pilot phase is completed.
The focus on building bridges and making connections has also extended to the development process itself. This May, Lisa Charlong, the project manager of the redevelopment project, was invited to participate in the VIVO Implementation Fest in Boulder Colorado.
“VIVO is open source software that models university collaboration networks, based on open source semantic web technologies,” said Ms. Charlong. “We suspected that it could be a useful back-end system for the new Yaffle project so we got in touch. “
After learning more about Yaffle, VIVO’s contributors, including representatives from a number of American universities such as Cornell and Johns Hopkins, agreed to form a working group to model the intersections between the university’s research and the public. “The VIVO group was particularly impressed by how proactively Memorial pursues university- community collaborations, ” shared Ms. Charlong.
The new and improved Yaffle has now been set up in a MUN development environment and is being tested. The Yaffle team is hoping to make it available soon.