by Ian Randall. Published: 30 April 2011

A new ‘Help for Newcomers’ service is being started up in ALICE. This online resource is being developed to help smooth the introduction of new members into the collaboration.

“The service will help newcomers as much as possible, and let ALICE better profit from them at the same time,” says Adam Jacholkowski, the ALICE physicist in charge of the scheme.


A screenshot of the Help for Newcomers webpage, as it stands at the time of writing

The resource, the brainchild of ALICE spokesperson Paolo Giubellino, is hoped will speed up the integration of new CERN users and employees, enabling both new arrivals and the ALICE collaboration to maximize the efficiency of their time together at CERN – especially in the case of people on shorter term visits.

“The idea is to provide better support for people who are new in ALICE, in order to make it easier for them, and more effective for everybody,” says Giubellino. “So we have decided to work in several directions: from easing the access to information; improving the web pages and creating more specific introductory pages; and also creating a reference person people can appeal to for an introduction into the many aspects of starting activities in ALICE.”

Beginning with the steps one needs to accomplish before travelling to Switzerland, the resource will help to guide new users through the various steps of the registration process – acting as a liaison with the Users Office and Human Resources department - on to more practical aspects such as accommodation, transportation, access rights, office keys and computing accounts.

The main strength in the project, however, will lie in the collation of various sources of guidance concerning aspects involved in working at ALICE – such as links to the various training programmes; safety protocols and software manuals of ALICE and more.

Social activities have not been forgotten, either – with plans to add sections to the resource to cover the variety of cultural, sporting and social clubs that CERN has on offer for its community.

While it is in its early stages at present, it is hoped the resource will increase in its range and comprehension as time goes by.

“It will be very useful to be able to address newcomers to someone who can advise and help them,” adds Ulla Tihinen, of the ALICE secretariat – who is involved in developing the project from an administrative point of view. “CERN can appear, at first sight, quite an impressive place, and there are quite many things to do to get started.”

Tihinen adds: “I believe that this will strengthen newcomers’ feelings of belonging to ALICE; it also gives an added value to their work, and the feeling that what they do is important to the whole collaboration.”