UKOER 2: Dissemination protocols in use and Jorum representation

What technical protocols are projects using to share their resource? and how are they planning on representing their resources in Jorum? This is a post in the UKOER 2 technical synthesis series.

[These posts should be regarded as drafts for comment until I remove this note]

Dissemination protocols

Dissemination protocols in use in the UKOER 2 programme

Dissemination protocols in use in the UKOER 2 programme

The chosen dissemination protocols are usually already built in the platforms in use by projects; adding or customising an RSS feed is possible but often intricate and adding an OAI-PMH feed is likely to require substantial technical development. DelOREs investigated existing OAI-PMH plugins for WordPress they could use but didn’t find anything usable within their project.

As will be discussed in more detail when considering Strand C – RSS is not only the most supported dissemination protocol, from the programme’s evidence, it is also the most used in building specialist discovery services for learning and teaching materials. The demand for an OAI-PMH interface for learning resources remains unknown. [debate!]

Jorum representation

Methods of uploading to Jorum chosen in UKOER 2 programme

Methods of uploading to Jorum chosen in UKOER 2 programme

  • The statistics on Jorum upload method are denoted expressions of intent – projects and Jorum are still working through these options.
  • Currently RSS upload to Jorum (along with all other forms of bulk upload) is set up to create a metadata record not deposit content.
  • Three of the uploaders using RSS are using the edshare/eprints platform (this platform was successfully configured to deposit metadata in bulk  via RSS into Jorum in UKOER phase 1).
  • Jorum uses RSS ingest as a one-time process – as I understand it it does not revisit the feed for changes or updates [TBC]
  • As far as I know PORSCHE are the only project who have an arranged OAI-PMH based harvest (experimental for Jorum upload under investigation as part of an independent project – [thanks to Nick Shepherd for the update on this HEFCE-funded work: see comments and more information is available on the ACErep blog)]

RSS, Yahoo Pipes, and UKOER projects

or Making finding my way around the UK OER programme one feed at a time a little easier with some help from Yahoo.

In an effort to familarize myself with the OER programme I hunted for project websites and blogs to add their feeds to my netvibes. As not all projects are blogging this is only a partial method of engagement but the mixture of news and discussion of issues on the blogs that exist has helped me begin to find my way around. In the process of doing this I not only found blog rss feeds but one or two feeds of OER resources. Although projects will all be producing RSS feeds for their resources as part of the programme I hadn’t expected to find any yet.

As convenient as this all was now, I still had twenty or so new boxes in netvibes to scan along with all the others. However, one of the things that clearly emerged from the  UKOER 2nd Tuesday on metadata that Phil and I ran was that that feeds of resources are going to be very important in this programme. I think we all knew this, and the programme had mandated that projects should produce a feed of their resources, but I was struck by what projects where already doing and some of their future plans. Coming from a repositories background I’ve tended to think of feeds for announcements or, with SWORD, deposit but thought of OAI-PMH or the like for ‘serious’ resource discovery or aggregation. I think OAI-PMH will have a role  (and so do CCLearn: – more on that another time) but it came home to me how important RSS/Atom is – especially -in an environment were resources are being managed and made available using many different types of software with all that in mind it was time to finally try some pipes..

Simple Yahoo pipe of feeds from UKOER Individual strand projects

Simple Yahoo pipe of feeds from UKOER Individual strand projects

I pulled together by strand feeds from the project blogs I could find to make these feeds:




And then the one feed to rule them all…

However, that feed could get quite busy – so for those days when life’s too short to hover over 10 new blog post titles – here a version that only gathers posts with the word metadata associated with them.

It looks a bit like this:

Yahoo pipe for UKOER project blogs with word metadata associated

Yahoo pipe for UKOER project blogs with word metadata associated

By the way, for those interested in a feed of UKOER / OER tagged posts from CETIS here’s a feed from our (John, Phil, Li, Lorna, Sheila, Rowin, Scott) blogs

With this done I decided to have use the time I’d saved (…) to try something else a pipe for the resource feeds.

Now I need point out that this last feed is in many ways a ‘toy’ – I don’t know how the resource feeds I’m grabbing have been set up so I don’t know what coverage over time it’ll give. I also know it’s a very poor imitation of the much more careful work done on aggregating by the Steeple project and Scott in the Ensemble project One thing I noticed in particular was that the feeds from different software seem to diverge in their use of different metadata fields within RSS.

That said, as of today, my imperfect aggregation is showing 112 OERs so far and the programme’s just getting started.