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Technical consultation

May 12, 2010 2 comments

One of the action points from the meeting last week was for Mike, Peter and I to liaise in order to fully describe the technical questions that we need to address for ACErep; rather than do this by email, it seems expedient to do it openly via the blog which will also give other members of the team an opportunity to contribute – depending what we get here I can still try to summarise more formally if necessary.

From a Leeds Met perspective:

  • Our repository is intraLibrary which is based on IEEE LOM metadata
  • We use SRU (Search and Retrieve by URL) to search intraLibrary from our Open Search interface
  • intraLibrary also supports SRW
  • The system supports metadata harvesting via OAI-PMH
  • We can also expose resources via RSS (though there are one or two caveats to the flexibility of system generated RSS – see http://repositorynews.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/really-not-so-simple-syndication/).
  • intraLibrary also supports the most recent version of the SWORD protocol (1.3)

Our VLE is Blackboard Vista (branded as X-stream) for which we have a PowerLink that enables users to search the repository from within the VLE when building a course and link directly to resources; however we intend to upgrade to version 9.1 (when?) for which we will need to write a new “Building Block” to perform the same job.

In the first instance, then, we need to establish which of these technologies/standards are also supported by the respective repository systems of Leeds (DigiTool) and York St John (Archivalware) and also whether they support any additional technologies that might be useful to the project.  It would also be useful to know about the VLEs and if/how they are integrated with the repositories.

Anyone got anything to add?

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First project meeting

May 5, 2010 Leave a comment

With one thing and another, it has taken a little while for this project to get off the ground but the planets have finally aligned and yesterday we sat down for the inaugural meeting of the ALPS CETL Repository Project – or ACErep for short.

“We” are a cross institutional team from the University of Leeds, York St John University and Leeds Met and the current project has developed from the Assessment and Learning in Practice Settings (ALPS) CETL project, a consortium of five institutions working across 16 professions. ALPS also works closely with placement providers particularly NHS Yorkshire & Humber.

Leeds, YSJ and Leeds Met all have (different) repository systems to manage “Learning Objects”. These are respectively ExLibris’ DigiTool, Archivalware from PTFS Europe and Intrallect’s intraLibrary (NHS Yorkshire & Humber is also developing a repository using intraLibrary).

In outline, the proposal is that stakeholders should be able to:

  • Search across the multiple platforms for resources
  • Download resources from any of the platforms into the working arena of their choice
  • Adapt existing resources to suit local use
  • Deposit either an original or an adapted resource/learning object into one or more of the repositories maintained by the CETL partners

It is very early days and we all have plenty of work to do after yesterday’s meeting but we anticipate that we will need to develop some sort of portal or interface to cross-search the repositories probably using common standards like SRU/SRW; OAI-PMH and RSS; we will also look at (re)deposit into a chosen repository using SWORD.

In the first instance, the scope of the project needs to be clearly defined and we should be wary of being overly ambitious; the project is running until December this year so some of our workpackages are a bit tight, not least recruiting stakeholders before academic staff disappear over the Summer!  It is also important that we begin to develop detailed use-cases and user journeys as soon as possible though these will necessarily evolve in parallel with technical development and will also be informed by stakeholder engagement throughout the project (I hope!)

Watch this space!