New UKDA web site

Article dated: 8 June 2005

The new UKDA web site is now live. It will be officially launched at ESRC Social Science Week, following several months of development work and usability testing. Users of UKDA online facilities should find access to information and services easier and more streamlined.

The improved navigational structure features a 'quick links' menu bar at the top of each page including login, search the web site or search for data facility, A-Z listing and site map. A drop-down list on every page provides links to related web sites including all ESDS services, AHDS History and the Census Registration Service.

The research and development pages have also been given greater visibility highlighting the extensive and innovative work undertaken by UKDA to spearhead developments in areas such as data preservation and dissemination. The UKDA site follows agreed best standards and good practice in web design, accessibility and usability, complying with W3C guidelines for XHTML.

Searching for data available from the UKDA is improved, and enhanced search functionality has been added providing faster searches; facility to match ‘any’ or ‘all’ search words; actual number of hits recorded; ability to refine a names search; and featuring a history of recent searches list. It is also now possible to search the data holdings with the aid of the UKDA's Humanities and Social Science Electronic Thesaurus (HASSET). The hierarchical relationships of terms in the thesaurus can help users to broaden a search or make it more specific, enabling them to choose the most suitable terms for the successful retrieval of data.

An updated major studies page provides quick access to the most popular datasets including those supported by the specialist ESDS services. The browse by subject category list has been updated to include new categories reflecting the growing subject scope of the UKDA/ESDS data collection. The registration and ordering process remains unchanged.

The enhanced searching functionality has been carried across to the ESDS web site with focused browse and search facilities available for all the ESDS services.

The new web site has been tested by external users, prior to the launch, and feedback has been extremely positive. Gerald Watkins, Information Services, University of Birmingham commented on the new site, "More modern and sophisticated look…" and "…style hasn’t been at the expense of content.

Plans for the future include a section with an online tutorial for new users, and further enhancements to the search facilities. The Web Development Team would be grateful for any feedback on the new site. Please email feedback with comments or suggestions.