A while back I reported on a workshop discussion about developing SWORD deposit tool for e-learning – a discussion that was useful but veered towards developing much more than a deposit tool. At the time our short list of key features was:
- richer user profiles both for depositors and users
- resources to include a link to the source/ master object
- import asset plus usage info (such as which courses it’s used for) from VLE
- import asset plus usage info (such as comments and tags) from Web 2 tools
- need support for instituional management and release of assets
The other key feature for deposit tools which we wondered about was the possibility of tools recording ongoing interaction between content and users and what this might enable. At the time not much developed from that discussion but a year and a bit later it’s interesting to see elements of that discussion are (completely independently) coming to the fore in other initiatives.
Firstly there’s the work JISC has funded to develop the SWORD specification to
” push the standard towards supporting a full deposit lifecycle for all types of scholarly systems by specifying and implementing update, retrieve and delete extensions to the specification. This will enable these systems to be integrated into a broader range of other systems within the scholarly infrastructure, by supporting an increased range of behaviours and use cases. (http://swordapp.org/category/sword2/)”
Admittedly the development focused on scholarly works but extending the profile to support CRUD functionality and ongoing interaction around content and use of content between users and repository is an important step towards richer tools and services.
Then there’s the work Nick Sheppard has been doing with the ACEREP project looking at multiple deposit (and search) of learning materials with sword and the joys of trying this across repositories using various combinations and profiles of of IMS CP, METS, LOM and DC. I look forward to seeing how this project works out;I’d write more but Nick does a better job of explaining the details than I could and I expect that this project will produce one of the first SWORD-based deposit tools specifically for learning materials.
And there’s also an interest from the UKOER Ripple project at Oxford in exploring a possible use or extension of the OERca tool from Open Michigan . I want to provide a little more detail about this option because I think it’s the next step beyond a simple deposit tool and a step toward an interactive tool.
I first saw some of the details of the OERca tool last summer and got a trial account on Open Michigan’s test server – it is a workflow tool for managing basic metadata copyright clearance and licensing. The basic approach is that content is uploaded, assigned basic metadata and each component part (eg images in a powerpoint) is identified and flagged for rights clearance. The interface has a clear mechanism for assigning content to courses, work to users (dscribes), tracking the clearance progress of component parts of content, and replacing component images for which the rights aren’t clear. In a sense it’s a simple rights focused workflow tool but as Ripple point out it’s perhaps four fifths of the way to being a deposit tools for learning materials, more than that as a concept -it is a step towards the ‘plug and play’ environment Ripple are thinking of.
Here’s an example of OERca in action from Open Michigan’s YouTube channel.
OERca is open source software and I’d like to see it hacked at the OERTIG/ CETIS & UKOLN Hackday but I’ll note that [as I understand it ] Open Michigan have pointed out that as a tool OERca probably needs a rewrite prior to the addition of more functionality. So I hope that if we’re going to play with it we can coordinate a little with Open Michigan and think about how to work in the same direction.