Training Service Update January 2002

23 January 2002

During autumn 2001, users and trainers of the ISI Web of Science (WoS) service have reported difficulties in accessing WoS and in the search response times once connected. This announcement informs users about the measures put in place to meet demand in the spring term and to explore options to improve service delivery in the longer term.

Usage for WoS increases every academic year, and the service has also turned out to be much more resource hungry than either ISI or the JISC originally estimated. The service was designed to support 1000 concurrent users with user response times for a simple search to be under 5 seconds. However, as a result of the resource intensive nature of the Web of Science software, following demand during the Autumn term we have learnt that despite one additional upgrade, the configuration purchased is only able to support around 800 – 850 concurrent users if adequate search times are to be achieved.

In 2001, the JISC also funded an extension to the agreement with ISI for a separate "training service" to be provided from a separate ISI server. This ran from September to December 2001 and was set up to deal with the high volume of WoS training that takes place in our institutions during the Autumn term. The service was extended by ISI without additional charge until the end of January pending discussions between ISI, JISC and MIMAS. Following a meeting on 9th January 2001 between JISC, ISI, MIMAS and CHEST, the parties are pleased to announce that JISC is to fund an extension to the WoS training service to 30 April 2002. This is intended to meet the anticipated demand in the spring term. Use of the training service during this period will also be broadened to complete general access.

Furthermore, JISC, MIMAS and ISI are investigating options for an enhanced service through the use of additional servers in the longer term, taking into account the implications of additional features available through Web of Science version 5. Further information will be announced publicly in the coming weeks. Concurrency levels, turnaways, response times and the training service are all monitored by the MAU. The Web of Science Enhancement Committee (comprising representatives of the user community, CHEST, JISC, ISI and MIMAS) meets to discuss these performance matters and enhancements to the Web of Science service.

As outlined above, the ISI Web of Science Training Service will continue to be available from: http://wos.mimas.ac.uk/training.html but will be extended to complete general access.

If you have any further questions or feedback regarding the ISI WoS Service for UK Education, please contact the helpdesk at: wok@mimas.ac.uk.