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By Zaren Healey White

Yaffle has received an upgrade to better connect community needs with university expertise.

As Memorial’s online platform to connect people, research, and projects, Yaffle.ca helps people solve problems by brokering collaboration opportunities.

Number of improvements

Initially launched in 2009 and developed and managed by the Harris Centre, Yaffle has been redesigned with technical upgrades and expansions to increase functionality and improve user experience. The application also has a responsive design so that it can be used on mobile devices.

The tool is used by people inside and outside of Memorial to make connections. When Business and Arts NL wanted to know more about where arts support comes from in the province, and how support compares nationally, they entered their query in Yaffle.

“Using Yaffle made it easy for us to take our burning questions and translate them into a research project that will reap results for the province and impact our work.” — Amy Henderson

Once the opportunity was received by the members of the brokering team at the Harris Centre, they connected the organization with Dr. Jennifer Dyer, director of the master of philosophy in humanities program, who launched a study to examine patterns of arts support in the province, which is now underway.

“Using Yaffle made it easy for us to take our burning questions and translate them into a research project that will reap results for the province and impact our work,” said Amy Henderson, executive director, Business and Arts NL.

Open and accessible

Anyone can contribute to Yaffle, and everyone is invited to explore it.

From showcasing your own work to finding a supervisor, an expert to interview or a potential collaborator, Yaffle is open and accessible for Memorial students, faculty and staff, as well as community members and partners.

The upgraded Yaffle integrates personal profiles, projects and activities, and opportunities to collaborate.

The application includes a map of projects by geographical location, projects organized by theme and a feature that creates a visual map of an individual’s collaborations with other users and links to projects.

Graduate students can use Yaffle to search for potential supervisors, while faculty can indicate if they are currently available to supervise, easily updating this availability at any time.

Sonja Knutson, director of Memorial’s Internationalization Office, says Yaffle helps in her work when she is looking for research expertise and connections to different countries, as well as when developing project proposals for governments or funding agencies.

“I use Yaffle when preparing briefing notes on Memorial’s activities in specific countries for visiting delegations, as well as when creating invitation lists for workshops that are highlighting connections to particular countries,” Ms. Knutson said.

Community expertise

“The biggest change in Yaffle is that it’s not only about university expertise anymore,” said Jennifer Adams, lead, strategic development, Battery Facility and Yaffle. “Yaffle acknowledges that expertise is held in the community.

“There are experts everywhere we look — there are experts in government, there are experts in industry, there are experts next door to you. Yaffle can highlight who in the neighbouring community has the expertise you need to help solve your particular challenges.”

“All you really need to know is yaffle.ca and that you’ve got a challenge you’d like some help with.” — Jennifer Adams

Ms. Adams also says Yaffle is useful to people outside the university as an easy way to make connections with researchers and experts at Memorial. The application can help people find experts to consult or work with on an issue using keywords, themes and location.

Individuals listed in Yaffle can also indicate if they’re available to be contacted by the media for interviews on different areas of expertise.

“You don’t need to know the name of a researcher, or the discipline — all you really need to know is yaffle.ca and that you’ve got a challenge you’d like some help with,” said Ms. Adams.

“Go to yaffle.ca and create an opportunity to collaborate — that issue will be tracked by keyword and disseminated throughout Memorial so that the right person will find you. Yaffle is that entry point.”

New profile option

Ms. Adams says any member of the public can create a profile and that Yaffle is based on self-submission.

Everyone is encouraged to create a Yaffle profile.
Everyone is encouraged to create a Yaffle profile.
Photo: Submitted

While anyone can browse the platform and review content, she hopes people will create profiles to make the most of the tool’s full functionality.

Ms. Adams says that while people may have already entered projects into Yaffle, the profile option is new.

“We’d love for members of the Memorial community, in particular, as well as our partners in the public, to actually log into Yaffle and set up a profile,” Ms. Adams said.

“Tell us who you’re collaborating with. Add your research. Add your public engagement activities. Add your teaching and learning expertise. Be seen. Make connections. Let us help you. We really want to see all scholarly activity conducted at Memorial housed within Yaffle.”

Ms. Adams also says there are some more new features coming soon, including an inter-institutional search function, such as between Memorial and the College of the North Atlantic, support for networks and enhanced functionality for brokers.

Contact Yaffle

Departments interested in arranging a Yaffle demonstration can contact Mandy Strickland, co-ordinator, Yaffle and funding programs.

Contact support@yaffle.ca if you have questions about using the site.

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