SPIN Update Announced at SRA Conference

 At the Annual SRA Meeting and Conference last month the new, soon to be released, InfoEd SPIN Funding Opportunities Solution was on display and demonstrated to an eager research administration audience. The new SPIN is a next generation search application, whose interface is based largely on usability and design elements that were previewed in the SPIN Quick Search (QS) back in May 2011.

While SPIN QS was a tremendous leap forward, it was intended as a technology preview; showcasing new streamlined use and accessibility features, not as a replacement to the full SPIN Solution, which is currently in use at many institutions and universities worldwide.

The new SPIN encapsulates the best of SPIN QS’ design and intuitive navigation, as well as offering QS quick-search capabilities when a more targeted search isn’t required. Like SPIN QS, the opening screen on the new SPIN features a modern, full-text search with robust options and grammar parsing, being carried out against the entirety of the SPIN programs. Easily navigable Category filters, proven though usability testing on SPIN QS, have been incorporated in a similar format in the new SPIN. Results display in a simple grid that contains a user-configurable, expandable section, which also provides the ability to easily filter, sort, group, and export results.

However, the new SPIN has a lot more going for it than beautiful design…

Contained on the search results grid is a “Total Funding” column, which contains the value of the total potential funding amount for the opportunity, converted into whatever currency you pick from, based on time-sensitive (within 24 hours) conversion rates. This will allow you to truly filter and sort on funding amounts.

Users can bookmark opportunities and place them into groups. Administrators may share these groups with the rest of their institution – accessible at a single URL that will identify each visitor’s institution, based on their IP address. This will allow administrative staff to pull together virtual bulletin boards of funding opportunities.

Searches can be saved and shared by administrators. Saved searches will retain all criteria. That includes the search parameters themselves, the category filters on eligibility requirements, and the various search options that can be layered on a host of search parameters.

On the topic of search parameters, the new SPIN has a vastly improved advanced search. Every field in SPIN can be selected and searched upon based on groups of expressions (Fields, Operators, and Parameters). Each group can contain one or more expressions and has the option of applied “AND” or “OR” logic between the group’s expressions. Groups can be nested within each other “n-tiers” deep.

Finally, the new SPIN Keyword Thesaurus has been supplanted by a much more robust controlled vocabulary: US Library of Congress Subject Headings (specifically, the Topical Terms scheme). This means that InfoEd Global will no longer maintain the list of keywords and their relationships, but rather utilize a well-structured content set that is maintained by professional library scientists. The functional application of how these will be used in searches will be discussed in a future article, but we are excited about the possibilities that a SKOS defined controlled vocabulary can provide.

The new InfoEd SPIN Funding Opportunities Solution, slated for release in January, 2011, is the result of years of acquired data regarding how the research community leverages funding search tools, analysis of client interactions with SPIN QS, direct feedback and collaboration with client and partner representatives, and InfoEd Global market research. If its début at SRA is any indication, we expect it to be warmly welcomed by Sponsored Programs departments world-wide as the solution of choice for easy, timely, accurate and in-depth location of relevant research funding opportunities.

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