While it may be April, there are always things we can learn from evaluating past years, so we’ve decided to have a look over the most popular news, features and public lectures were on the University website in 2012.
The University’s Press Office published over 200 press releases in 2012, resulting in media coverage around the world. The top stories on the University website were as follows.
Published mid-August, this story of the UK’s largest study of the health benefits of yoga describes how specialised classes could be a cost-effective way of treating back pain. The story had a second spike in visits in mid-Autumn as interest picked up again on Facebook.
This article from August announces the University’s joining of the Russell Group, following its acceptance to the organisation earlier in the year.
Graduation was in the second week of July. A lot of traffic here came from Google, Twitter and Facebook.
For its fiftieth anniversary, the University appointed sixteen new professors, as detailed in this article from July 4th.
Published in January, this story describes a process which hints at how life on Earth first formed. Almost a quarter of the article’s traffic came through the University’s RSS feed.
On February 24th the Queen presented the University with an award for its archaeological research.
This article from September covers a study from the Department of Psychology on how increased gender equality has reduced gender differences in mate selection.
Almost three quarters of the hits on this piece from November 21st are attributable to links from archaeological news aggregator archaeologica.org. It covers research by the Department of Archaeology which suggested that paleolithic handaxes showed bonds of trust between specimens of homo erectus, challenging earlier theories of dominance and aggression.
Our most-visited science article for the year was this one, detailing how physicists at the University were able to use magnets in a way which could potentially have big impacts on hard drive transfer speeds. The discovery was cited on tech news website engadget.com, where it inspired a spirited exchange in the comments thread.
The University’s invitation to join the Russell Group in March 2012 was by far the most viewed news story of the year, receiving almost three times as much traffic as the second place story (see the huge spike in the chart above). Over 10% of viewers came from Facebook.
In addition to press release stories, we also publish feature articles which either delve deeper into academic work taking place at the University and tell other interesting stories. These were the most visited last year:
After fitting one thousand ants with radio receivers, scientists at York tracked them to discover how they network and live.
While the article concerns the Times Higher Education Awards 2011 and was published in November that year, this article continued to receive significant numbers of visitors throughout the first half of 2012
Applicants who received an offer to study at York gain access to You@York, a personalised site providing information from the University and departments. The traffic patterns are interesting here, declining slowly over the year and spiking on A-level results day in August.
The University won the award mentioned above, while several departments were shortlisted for other awards. The feature detailed the steps the University has taken in order to qualify, as well as information on the awards ceremony itself.
The annual York Festival of Ideas provided many experiences and exhibitions under the theme of “Metamorphosis”.
HRH Princess Anne visited York to open the Diamond Wood at Heslington East in September 2012
An interesting entry on the history of pantomime, this was originally published in January 2011 and saw consistent hits throughout the year followed by a significant boost in the run-up to Christmas. Almost all hits were directly from Google, where the page ranks highly in searches for “pantomime history”.
This feature provided links to resources that new students at the University would find useful. Most of its attention was focussed very clearly on the week running up to Welcome Week.
The £9m York Sport Village opened in August, featuring a swimming pool for both students and the public. The opening of such a large development generated a lot of interest, with the bulk of traffic coming directly from Google searches.
When the University was named one of the top ten “young” Universities in the world in May 2012, this feature summarised our achievement and the areas in which University excels. The page received almost eight times as many hits as our number two feature, including a large spike on first publication but then a steady stream of additional visits throughout the year (the page was linked prominently from most web pages using our standard design).
The University puts on a large number of free public lectures each year, attracting many people from both within the University and from the local community. The lectures cover all sorts of topics and are well worth attending - look out for the summer programme for this year coming soon.
In 2012, the most visited public lecture web pages were:
Professor David Howard from the Department of Electronics gave this lecture on the compression techniques used to shrink MP3 files.
As part of the Athena Swan programme, Dr Sue Black from University College London delivered this lecture on the efforts to save the World War Two codebreaking headquarters at Bletchley Park from decay.
Professor Peter Main from the Department of Physics gave this lecture on the intermeshing of science and art, receiving a lot of attention in February.
On the theme of economic trouble, former Director-General of the Council for British Industry, Sir Richard Lambert delivered this lecture on the causes and consequences of the wealth gap in the UK. Interestingly for a lecture, this received fairly consistent traffic throughout October and November, instead of a large rise then fall.
York’s own Dr Jane Grenville delivered this lecture as a part of the events surrounding Holocaust Memorial Day
Royal Holloway College’s Professor Robert Eaglestone delivered this lecture about public awareness of genocide as a part of Holocaust Memorial day.
This economics lecture was delivered by journalist Nicholas Wapshott and discussed how modern economic theories impact the global economy. Traffic to the page gradually rose before the event itself, before falling once it was over.
This Royal Institute of Philosophy lecture was delivered by Cambridge’s Professor Tim Crane and focussed on questions of consciousness and existence.
This topical lecture from Professor Christopher Pissarides of LSE covered modern thoughts on unemployment and its causes. Traffic followed a U-shape, peaking both when tickets became available and on the day of the talk itself.
Professor Jim Al-Khalili of the University of Surrey delivered this lecture on mysteries and questions that people have about science. As expected for a popular figure in science education, demand for tickets drove traffic particularly high in the weeks preceding the talk.