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About the Faculty Database System

The Faculty Database System (FDS) has been serving the Duke community for over 10 years. FDS is actively supported and developed; the last update was at Wed Apr 2 11:35:06 2014. We have been at the top of the google search for "faculty database" for a while.

The slides from the last talk are available here (PDF, 105k), which gives a good overview of the current system. It's a "must read" for everyone. Email me for any questions.

What is the Faculty Database System?

The Faculty Database System (FDS) is a web-based content management system (CMS) and a web application platform designed to increase visibility of the scholarship of Duke's faculty by making research information available and searchable via the web. Data is maintained and updated by departments or individuals; faculty control the privacy of their own information. Faculty research data can be rendered in any format, from searchable directories to faculty web pages, from curriculum vitae to departmental publications lists. A standard XML-based system architecture, with builtin automatic archiving capability, guarantees that the data is portable and reusable. A powerful templating engine with site wide and individual template based versionings lets each unit and faculty customize the system to meet their own needs, and publish to the web in their own way. For example, all their publications could be using the MLA style with a simple template change. Integration with a school's annual faculty evaluations process ensures up-to-date information without increasing faculty workload or administrative overhead.

The FDS interacts easily with other enterprise information systems. Users can log in using their Duke NetIDs and passwords. Publication information can be easily imported from online databases such as PubMed or Procite, or uploaded en mass from a BibTex or EndNote file. Teaching schedules, departmental course listings, and grants information can be pulled in from other university systems, displayed on the department's web site, and automatically updated.

The data in the FDS is managed and maintained within the department or the school, and all faculty have access to view, edit and manage their own data.

How Can the FDS Be Used by Faculty?

The FDS allows faculty to record all their scholarly activities in one place via a unified web interface. Once entered, the information can be used to generate and update departmental web pages and directories, compile lists of publications, produce annual evaluation reports, and maintain a curriculum vita, etc. Some data, such as teaching and grants, is automatically updated from other data sources and you don't have to enter them at all. The data reusability (by separating the data contents from the presentation styles) built into the system ensures that you won't have to enter the same data twice.

A research library enables faculty to manage, store, organize, and search collections of documents, and to access them from anywhere via the web securely.

How Can the FDS Be Used by Departments?

The information in FDS can be published or displayed in any format. For example, data may be selectively displayed as:

  • web pages for individual faculty members
  • a departmental directory
  • a list of departmental course offerings
  • a list of departmental publications and/or research interests
  • a list of current departmental news, with RSS feeds
  • a curriculum vitae, which may be viewed as a web page or downloaded as a PDF document
  • a report to the chair for annual review purposes, if needed
  • a means to manage departmental email lists, and make them easily accessible to department members

Since all views are generated dynamically, information is updated once, and all relevant views are automatically updated. FDS simplifies the information maintenance responsibilities of faculty and staff and makes it much less labor-intensive while avoiding the common maintenance nightmares. For example, when a new faculty member joins the department, adding some basic information to the database (name, email address, title, research interests) could generate the following:

  • a page on the department's web site
  • contact information added to the departmental directory
  • email address added to the appropriate departmental mailing lists
  • teaching schedule incorporated into list of departmental course offerings

How Can the FDS Be Used by a School?

The Faculty Database System can provide several valuable services at the school level:

  • a searchable, up-to-date directory of faculty and their research interests (see the Arts & Sciences faculty directory)
  • an interface for managing the annual faculty evaluation process
  • the ability to access up-to-date faculty CVs and research information
  • syndication of departmental news for selective publication at the school level

The FDS service on this server is available for use by all units within Duke. To sign up your school or department, please fill out the Faculty Database Group Request Form. This free service was sponsored by the Arts & Sciences and has been developed and maintained by the Mathematics Department since 2002, with user level support provided by the Arts & Sciences. The FDS is really important to our department; we are doing our best to make sure it's well maintained and sustainable for years to come. We are committed to support this service as long as it's needed, and you can use it with confidence. Any funding or political support is appreciated.

Learn More About FDS

The Faculty Database System can be accessed at http://fds.duke.edu/

For help or more information about FDS, you may


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