DARS Newsletter April 2017
Dear Users, Welcome to this month’s DARS Newsletter, which has a focus on communicating with the helpdesk. Newsletters since May 2015 can be found at http://darswiki.bsp.ox.ac.uk/index.php/DARS_Newsletters. And remember that you can contact the DARS helpdesk via email@example.com.
In this issue:
- Using personal email addresses to contact the helpdesk
- DARS news and features
- Primary Organisation Record Identifier
- Refresher training
- Marking addresses as invalid
- Test before you import
We are sorry to have to let you know that Selina Griffin, the DARS Senior Data & Insights Officer who has been leading the DARS data team, is leaving to take up the post of Rankings Manager in the Intelligence Unit at QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) based in London. QS is one of the world’s leading compilers of independent market research and institutional evaluations in international higher education. Selina’s last day with the team is 19 May. I’m sure you all join me in thanking Selina for her work in several roles during her four years within the Development Office, and wish her all the best in her new role.
Using personal email addresses to contact the helpdesk
Last month, we asked you all to use only personal email addresses (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) rather than impersonal ones such as email@example.com. We would like to thank you since the most of you have made this change seamlessly. We will continue to close items that come into us from impersonal addresses and request that they are resubmitted.
DARS news and features
Some of you, notably those working in the area of gift processing, and those newer to the University, recently received and replied to a survey from the Gift Administration project. The project will be using the information gathered in the survey, but two points made in the replies merit answers here:
Primary Organisation Record Identifier
It can be difficult to identify which one of several Organisation records is the most important. While duplicates do exist, not every organisation record can be deduplicated, because it may be necessary in order to represent different offices of an organisation. But there is a smart query called the “DARS Primary Organisation Record Identifier”. You can find this by searching for it in Analysis tab/Query group/Smart query search. If you find yourself using it regularly, you can add it to your shortcuts.
Refresher training is available, and can help remind you of features you haven’t used in a while. If you would like to book refresher training, please email the DARS helpdesk (firstname.lastname@example.org). A list of dates of forthcoming courses can be found at https://www.darscentral.ox.ac.uk/trainingcourses. Note that for refresher training, you do not need to submit either an Individual User Agreement or a User Access Request Form – just request the refresher training.
Marking addresses as invalid
When processing gone away post, it is important to mark the address as no longer valid. It is also natural to examine other addresses on the individual’s record, to see if one of them can be used for mailings. However, we have had instances where this has happened without the address being examined first. For example, the other address may be the same, or similar to another address that has already been marked as ‘do not send’ and end-dated; or it may be a reasonable inference that the address was a parental address when the person was a student, but is unlikely to be where the individual lives now. Therefore, when processing invalid addresses, please consider whether the new address you select is likely to be useful. It is not true that ‘any address is better than no address’.
Test before you import
Importing into DARS can be a tricky process which requires a bit of trial and error before you get it right. Please use the Sandbox environment to test your importing (and more generally, any changes) before committing to Live, then if you get it wrong it doesn’t matter! We have had a couple of instances lately where the DARS Support team have had to clean up after imports have gone wrong in live DARS.