29 Jul 2004

What is it?
The website of the National Education and Research Network (HEAnet). This organisation provides broadband internet services to Ireland’s universities, Institutes of Technology and researchers. HEAnet runs the largest IP (internet protocol) network in the country and plays an essential role in allowing Irish researchers to communicate with and work alongside their counterparts in other countries.

Who is it for?
Third-level colleges across the country; researchers and technologists.

What information does it contain?
The bulk of the information of the site relates to the technical services offered by HEAnet. These range from managed network and support services to video-steraming and network security. A second section contains information about the research projects and network implementations that HEAnet is currently involved with. These include the roll-out of broadband to primary and secondary schools in Ireland and an evaluation of a web-based e-mail service for all students within the 43 institutions linked to the HEAnet. There is also a news and information section that aims to provide a large library of information resources of use to the academic and research sector. There is a lot of content and some useful links but some of the information seems quite dated.

How does it look?
Not pretty but functional. The HEA logo is positioned top left. Next to that, clearly marked are the main sections of the site, following by a site search facility. At first glance there is not a lot to this site but many pages conceal a deceptive depth of information, which all requires proper structuring.

The verdict?
The core information on the HEA – what it does and the services it offers – is well presented. Where it is less successful is as a news and general information resource for the academic community.

By Brian Skelly