To All Faculty:

Sharpening Your Research Profile on the PennExpertise Database

Penn faculty members can now add and update their records in PennExpertise, the University's network-accessible database of faculty and their research specialties.

The database supports full-text searching and was designed to enable faculty members to identify potential research collaborators, students to locate potential advisors, and staff to respond to inquires from potential donors, the media, and others. Maintained under the auspices of the Vice Provost for Research by Baltimore-based Community of Science (COS), PennExpertise is now accessible via the Internet to all American universities and to a set of commercial research organizations that pay fees to COS.

Faculty members already in the database will soon receive via campus mail an individual username and password with which they can be authorized to update their records. Other faculty members can access the database directly, assigning themselves a username and password for use in subsequent updates. All access is via "forms-capable" World Wide Web clients, such as Netscape, Mosaic, and Lynx.


In 1993, the PennExpertise database was developed and edited into a consistent format by COS from faculty members' varying curricula vitae. Delivery to the Penn community was via a "Gopher" database using a "WAIS" index for full-text searching. About half of the standing faculty contributed data to the database at that time.

In the past year, COS, like most other Internet-based publishers, converted its user interface to the World Wide Web and added on-line forms to enable faculty members (or their proxies) to add and update records. A committee charged by former Vice Provost for Research Barry Cooperman assessed the COS approach and has recommended that the University continue participating in the COS program, which now includes over 40,000 researchers from nearly 100 universities. The new, WWW-based interface is now available on the "Faculty View" in the redesigned Penn Web.

Several aspects of the COS program were noted by the committee:

Checking your Record

To determine if you are in the database or if your information requires updating, use a desktop Web browser (such as Netscape or Mosaic) or telnet to to access the Penn Home Page ( Then:

Updating your Record

Adding yourself to the Database

Where your Information Goes

Your record will not go into the database until it has been verified by a team of COS technical editors. For approximately two weeks, you will be unable to see your new entry or update your profile.

Many thanks for your participation in the University of Pennsylvania faculty Expertise database. If you or an assistant lack WWW access, please see your local computer support personnel or contact this office.

Stuart Watson
Assistant Director, Research Administration

PennExpertise Committee Members

Joseph N. Cappella
Professor of Communication

Janine Corbett
Assistant Vice Provost for Research

Neal Nathanson
Professor and Chair Emeritus of Microbiology

Daniel A. Updegrove (chair)
Associate Vice Provost, ISC

Stuart Watson
Assistant Director, Research Administration


February 6, 1996

Volume 42 Number 19

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