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OPTIC Data Capture - Guidance

As part of the new SLMS Intranet site, the four Faculties are jointly funding the creation of a new, fully searchable database which will allow professional staff to create a professional profile for themselves, and to search for and identify other professional staff across SLMS.
In very similar format to and working alongside IRIS, the database is called OPTIC (Organised Professional Team Information Centre). This is a home grown initiative by SLMS, supported by SLMS ISD.

FAQ Area

What is the concept and reason behind OPTIC?

SLMS and UCL in general are very devolved geographically, making it hard to identify and find staff within specific roles and responsibilities across Faculties and even within one Institute or Division. Some staff based within Research Groups or in remote geographical locations can feel isolated and find it hard to access resources or support which could positively impact on their work. It is also hard for staff to identify other staff they need to work with, in regard to wider initiatives such as organising open days, putting together Athena Swan applications and delivering events, teaching and workshops.

The OPTIC database will allow all staff within SLMS to search for each other by keyword, location, responsibilities, institute and divisio, skills and responsibilities. Whereas previously you would need to know someone's name to identify them and find their contact details, OPTIC allows you to search job titles or keywords to find the relevant contact for your query or initiative. 

OPTIC allows staff to opt in and edit their own profiles, to select the skills which really describe what their job involves. This will we hope help staff to identify who in different departments or institutes is working on Communications, Websites, Appraisals, Training, archiving, events and many other important parts of peoples' roles which often do not feature in peoples' job title as held by HR.

OPTIC provides 3 free text boxes to allow staff to provide detail about their role. These are the 'Department/Team', 'Keywords' and 'About Me' sections. The keyword search on the database searches these free text boxes so staff can effectively code themselves from free text.

OPTIC also allows those putting together interview panels or looking for staff for specific training (pFact or SILVA for example) to search for and identify staff who have completed this training under the 'Skills' menu. It will provide opportunities for staff to get involved in initiatives outside their role if they wish.

Why are we doing this initial data capture for OPTIC?

We would like to go live with a populated database which staff can begin using immediately. As a result we are aiming to capture the basic contact and role information for staff to upload in batches of records over the month of May. However we are realistic that the database will grow organically over time as users add to their profiles and as - as we hope - its benefits are demonstrated.

The OPTIC database allows staff to opt in and edit their own profiles and for them to detail and be recognised for aspects of their role which do not feature in their job title. This is why it is different from central UCL HR. It is maintained by users so staff can add to or change their profiles as their roles develop to keep them up to date. 

Who can see OPTIC?

OPTIC will sit behind the Intranet firewall, so no one without a UCL login at professional and academic/research staff level access will be able to see the database.

What is meant by the term 'Professional Staff'?

All staff working in a Faculty and within SLMS, at all levels, who have a UCL UPI and are not an academic or a researcher should complete the data capture form. This includes staff involved with clinical trials, laboratory management and support, teaching administration, faculty tutors and officers, finance, human resources, estates, research administration and/or coordination and staff assisting research groups, to name but a few examples of teams.

You may have staff who are involved with teaching but who are first and foremost academic staff. The way to decide if they need to complete the form is that they should complete it if they do not have an IRIS profile.

What if I am employed by more than one Institute or Division?

You have the option on the form to select up to two Institutes and Divisions which you will be searchable under. So for example, if you are employed by the Institute of Child Health but also work to administrate and support the Institute for Global Health, then you can indicate you are part of both.

What do I do if my primary work location is not listed on the drop down?

We have tried through consultation with the Executive Officers and Faculty Managers to provide as complete a list of locations as possible, however we greatly apologise if your location has not been listed. In this event, please write it in the 'About Me' section of your form as 'Location = Maple House' for example, and when your records are uploaded this location will be added to the drop down menu and the team here will ensure you are coded and searchable under this location.

What do I do if I feel a particular key responsibility of my role has not been listed?

We have tried to provide as thorough a list as possible. However if you feel a key responsibility has been missed for a team, please email emily.morrison@ucl.ac.uk with the missing responsibility. This can then be added to your records when uploaded as a searchable option on the drop down menu.

What do I do if there are staff in my team who are on maternity leave or leaves of absence?

It is important that staff who are still employed by UCL permanently or on a longtime contract are registered even if they are on leave. We appreciate you may not be able to complete their whole profiles and do not have time to! However if you could register the basic 'Person' information of name, job title, email address and telephone number, we would be grateful.

What should I include in the About Me free-text box?

As much or as little information as you wish! This could be a good area to include the following:

 - information about professional or academic qualifications and accreditation

- information about membership of professional bodies or networks / forums

 - information about networks or initiatives you yourself are running

 - information about previous roles or skills which you have carried out in the past - either in HE or in other organisations / professions

 - information about other languages you speak

 - information about your interests within HE

 - information about any courses you are studying for or running yourself

However, there is absolutely no obligation to provide any of the above if you do not wish to.

Will I be able to edit my details after the database goes live?

Absolutely. You will be able to add responsibility and skill 'codes' to be searched under, and also add to the About Me section, change your keywords, upload a picture, change your job title or department and team if you move, and so on. 

If you have any questions, please contact emily.morrison@ucl.ac.uk.