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Automating the University's Media Monitoring

Information Services is helping the Communications and Marketing team to automate their process for tracking media mentions of University academic and corporate staff

The University’s Communications and Marketing (CAM) team is responsible for monitoring media mentions of University personnel and updating academic profiles accordingly. The updates are reflected in PURE, the University’s Current Research Information System (CRIS). Recently, the CAM team purchased Signal AI, a media monitoring tool to support the effort.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak the mentions for the University of Edinburgh staff in the media have increased dramatically, with 12,000 mentions – the typical yearly amount – identified in March 2020 alone. The University’s leading research in issues related to the pandemic and public health experts have resulted in increased in coverage across international media. The circumstances further emphasized the existing need for automation and infeasibility of a manual update process moving forward.

Typically, the media mention tracking process is conducted manually with a CAM staff member taking outputs from Signal and inputting them into the PURE system to update academic profiles. However, the Information Services team is collaborating with CAM to develop an application to automate the process in loading information produced by Signal directly into PURE. The automation aims to reduce the CAM staff time spent updating media mentions and save on staffing costs as the majority of mentions will no longer require manual updates.

This project is something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Working with ISG we’re able to have expert advice, manage expectations and map what is feasible as well as budget implications and are thankfully at a position to move forward,

Edd McCrackenHead of News, Communications and Marketing

The academic profiles on PURE are used within the Research Excellence Framework (REF); therefore. researcher media credits will be visible on a more timely basis and REF case studies will benefit from more accurate, comprehensive and updated media references. Further the improvement in media data will assist academics when applying for grants, funding and promotions by being able to draw upon a live, updated profile.

“As a professional service in the press office, we’re here to support academics and the business critical work of the University in a number of ways through making sure we’re able to the record the impact of the media in what we put out there whether its research or corporate activities,” said Edd. “When it comes to REF, media coverage is useful to tell a story of the impact the research is going to have.”