UKOLN AHDS From Project To Production Service


Projects deliverables are normally expected to be deployed in a service environment. The deliverables could be passed on to an existing JISC service provider. In some cases, however, a project may evolve into a service. This document outlines some of the issues that need to be considered to facilitate such a transition.

If evolving to a service is not relevant to your project, the issues services need to address when deploying your project deliverables may still be of interest.


Hosting of your project deliverables is one of the first issues to be considered. A prototype service may be developed on in-house equipment and in an environment which may not be appropriate for long term production. Issues to consider include:

Data Feeds

Your service may require regular updates of the raw data which the service is delivering to users. Issues to consider when moving into a production environment include:

Gateway Links

The JISC supports a range of subject-specific gateway services. Decide which gateway, if any, your service fits into. The subject matter of your service may span more than one area and therefore need to be incorporated in more than one gateway.

Review the RDN [1] and the services within it and see where a description and link to your service may fit. Arrange for your service to be made visible. The more links that are established to your service, the more likely it is to become visible to search engines such as Google and the more successful it is likely to be in terms of awareness and take-up.

Legal Issues

When an experimental or development system is turned into a production service, there are a number of copyright, licensing and other legal issues that need to be carefully considered.

Does your service contain any material that is subject to copyright or IPR legislation? This could include such things as images, artwork, extracts from publications, sound or movie clips and so on. If it does, you will need to get permission before you can 'publish' your site.

Have you considered how accessible your service is to those with special needs or disabilities? There are now legal obligations that need to be taken into account before releasing a new system.

The JISC TechDis service [2] provides information on how to make your Web site conform. Also consult the appropriate QA Focus document on Accessibility Testing [3] and the JISC Legal Information Service [4] for a range of advice on issues such as Data Protection, Freedom of Information, Disability and the Law, Intellectual Property and much else.

Managing Expectations

As soon as you have a reliable release date, publicise the fact on relevant JISCMail and other lists. Keep people informed as to the progress of the new service as launch day approaches.

As soon as delays appear inevitable, let people know, even if a revised date hasn't been fixed. This will help front-line staff, who will have to support your service, decide on their own local information strategy.

Launching the Service

The move of an experimental or development service into a full production service provides a 'hook' for raising its profile. Things to consider include:

Support and Publicity

Consider the kind of support and publicity materials that are appropriate for your service. Examples include:

Think about the target audience for the material. You may want to produce different versions for users from different backgrounds and experience. Consider which items may be worth printing (as opposed to being made available on the Web). For example posters and flyers are useful for distribution at events such as conferences and exhibitions. Review what other JISC services have done and discuss their experiences with them.

You should also seek advice from the JISC's Communications and Marketing Team [5] who maintain a register of key events and are able to help with such things as preparing and issuing press releases.

Service Development

Once your service is in production there will be a requirement to improve or update the service and to fix problems. User feedback on suggested service improvements or errors should be gathered through a contact publicised on the service's Web site.

Presentations and demonstrations provide forums for discussion and constructive criticism. Find out if there is an existing user group who will extend their remit to cover your service.

When changes are identified and implemented, ensure that the change is publicised well in advance. Unless the change is an important bug fix, try to make the changes infrequently, preferably to coincide with term-breaks.

Service Monitoring

Check if your service will come under the remit of the JISC's Monitoring Unit [6]. If it does, you will need to agree a service level definition with them. Typically you will also need to:


  1. Resource Discovery Network (RDN),
  2. TechDis,
  3. Accessibility Testing, QA Focus, briefing paper no. 2,
  4. JISC Legal Information Service,
  5. Communications and Marketing Team, JISC,
  6. JISC Monitoring Unit,