Institute of Physics Partners with Ixxus to Improve its Social Collaboration

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Institute of Physics Partners with Ixxus to Improve its Social Collaboration

IXXUS today announced that it has designed, developed and delivered two new social media networking portals for the Institute of Physics upon the open source content management platform, Drupal.

A leading scientific society and charitable organisation, The Institute of Physics (IOP) works to advance physics research, application and education, engaging with policy makers and the public to develop awareness and understanding of physics. With a worldwide membership of around 45,000, the IOP represents a major voice within the scientific community.

IOP approached Ixxus to help it re-build its two social portals, MemberTalk and TalkPhysics, with the aim of increasing its community size and usage and encouraging collaboration and communication between IOP members. It will also facilitate discussion between teachers and teaching assistants on how best to teach physics in schools, as well as helping to introduce physics to 16-19 year olds.

IOP’s two existing social networks were built upon custom legacy software, which was not offering an ideal user experience. Ixxus was brought in as the implementation partner to replace the two networks and consolidate their functionality into one platform with two separate social portals (MemberTalk and TalkPhysics), adding new features and improving the user experience, with the aims of expanding the community size and its interactivity.

Open source technology Drupal was selected as a cost-effective, robust, future-proof alternative to proprietary software, and one that could meet many of IOP’s requirements off the shelf. Using an Agile approach, Ixxus met regularly with IOP throughout the project to adjust priorities and requirements, allowing the client to benefit from incremental delivery of a working product and providing a low-risk, value-for-money solution.

IOP had a detailed list of requirements for social collaboration which were configured and delivered by Ixxus, including user groups built around content topics, discussion forums, private messaging, activity feeds, user profiles, blogs and email notifications. They also required powerful search functionality, allowing users to find relevant content easily from within the content repository. This included implementing folksonomy tagging, as well as custom classification to deliver advanced search and filter capabilities.

The existing system has been successfully migrated and the MemberTalk portal went live in mid-March, with TalkPhysics following in September. The newly platformed social networks are set to improve the user experience vastly, increasing uptake; particularly for MemberTalk, which was very under-used in its previous guise of ‘MyIOP’.

Ixxus has been asked by IOP to provide a fully managed service, including hosting, application and ongoing support, allowing the peace of mind that the system will be fully supported by a reliable team who understand the architecture inside out.

Initial feedback from IOP staff and portal users has been overwhelmingly positive. “Usage of the new TalkPhysics is fantastic. The number of visits, posts and new registrations per week are all higher than the average for last year. Every way I can think of to look at it, TalkPhysics is doing precisely the job we were aiming for,” said Jon Clarke, Web 2.0 Publisher / Teaching & Learning Coach at IOP, “Relaunching the site has vastly improved functionality and user experience, as well as giving administrators far more control over site maintenance. This ensures that this resource, highly valued by our core audience, will be able to go on improving physics lessons across the UK and Ireland for years to come.”

About Ixxus

With headquarters in London and offices in New York and Romania, Ixxus is an experienced global consultancy and systems integration organisation. The company specialises in the design, development and operational support of enterprise content management and search solutions, with a modern and innovative approach to project delivery.

The company has worked across all industry sectors; including publishing, finance, higher education, government, legal and manufacturing. Customers include, Virgin Money, Amnesty International, Clifford Chance and

About Institute of Physics

The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society and charitable organisation promoting physics and bringing physicists together for the benefit of all.

It has a worldwide membership of around 45 000 comprising physicists from all sectors, as well as those with an interest in physics. It works to advance physics research, application and education; and engages with policy makers and the public to develop awareness and understanding of physics. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in professional scientific communications.

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Judy Lennox
Ixxus Ltd
020 7033 2333
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