Archive for June, 2010

A potential infrastructure (2)

June 24, 2010 1 comment

Thanks to Gareth Waller from Jorum who has been in touch to say that there are currently no public APIs available for JorumOpen and no immediate plans to release one.  The only public interfaces at present are:

  • An OAI-PMH target for harvesting metadata records i.e. pulling metadata from JO
  • A SWORD target for depositing METs packages ie pushing content into JO

There is an SRU add on for DSpace but, as Gareth has indicated in his comment on the previous post, it is not enabled due to a bug; it may be enabled in the future if the bug can be fixed.

Rather than SRU, a better way to search JorumOpen will be the new search tool to be launched at the end of the month that will provide a web application to search records from both JorumOpen (DSpace) and JorumUK (intraLibrary) and also provide features such as RSS feeds on search results (I presume this is the tool based on OAI-PMH?)

Wherever possible, Jorum are keen to include the actual resource rather than just metadata record/link to resource in JorumOpen – to allow other users to search on the content of that resource e.g. text in PDF  – which is the approach we have taken with the Unicycle project via bulk upload of IMS.  Whether it will always be appropriate to duplicate resources in this way, however, is still something of a moot point, especially in the context of medical resources where an audit trail/version control might be more of a priority than for Unicycle as flagged up by the MEDEV OOER project.

With this in mind, Gareth has suggested that a better way to integrate with Jorum would be to deposit directly into JorumOpen via SWORD; we could then then use the new search tool for our bespoke portal:

Gareth's suggestion for a modified infrastructure

A potential infrastructure?

June 22, 2010 4 comments

I’ve been giving some thought to a potential infrastructure for ACErep and got to thinking about what APIs might be (or might become) available for JorumOpen; depending on the technology available, it occurred to me that one possible approach might be to bulk upload resources from our three institutional repositories – or just harvest the metadata – into JorumOpen and then search those records via an API (at a pinch a custom RSS feed might do) from a bespoke ALPS CETL portal.  This would mean that resources would be discoverable from a variety of different locations – Google, JorumOpen, our 3 individual institutional repositories, the ALPS CETL portal…

What can we learn from MEDEV OOER project?

June 22, 2010 1 comment

As someone who is unfamiliar with many of the specific issues around medical teaching and learning resources, it was very useful to meet with Suzanne Hardy, the project manager for the MEDEV OOER project, yesterday who gave me a synopsis of recommendations from her project that may very well have a bearing on ACErep – full report available from the website.

The Organising Open Educational Resources (OOER) project set out to:

  • Build on existing practice and partnerships by establishing a collaboration for sharing all necessary information and processes to enable institutions to implement OER strategies
  • Share/upload existing content (notionally ‘360 credits’) to a national repository under patient and non-patient consent, Creative Commons (CC)[1] licences and institutional policy ‘best practice’
  • Identify issues and barriers to sharing and reuse of existing e-learning resources within the disciplines
  • Explore particular issues surrounding informed patient consent, particularly for use of clinical recordings
  • Address issues resonating with all UK educational provision which include elements of work or practice-based learning, where staff contracts for teaching may be complicated by their employment and inter-agency education commissioning arrangements

The project proposal was on behalf of a wide range of partners in the UK and funded under the Subject Strand of the JISC Open Educational Resources programme, managed by the Higher Education Academy.  There is already significant activity in the area of sharing resources in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine; OOER aimed to open up the process to a wider constituency and encourage sharing more openly, as well as reveal existing good practice in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine in UK HE.

In common with all OER projects the partner institutions were required to deposit content to JorumOpen and there was a desire to have a single location where details of OER can be accessed; this is in contrast, perhaps, to our own Unicycle project which has duplicated OERs in JorumOpen and our local repository with the implicit assumption that they have been “released into the wild” and can be downloaded, disaggregated, reused and re-aggregated without an easily traceable audit trail.  Such an approach, however, may not be appropriate for medical teaching and learning resources in “relation to audit trails, take down policies and risk mitigation as they apply to patient data specifically.”

I am not certain how these issues will apply to the resources produced by the ALPS CETL but they certainly need considering and are likely to have a bearing on the openness of our approach – especially if we are to consider using JorumOpen (see last post) which, in its current form, the OOER project team felt lacked sufficient facility to “provide back tracking data in the event of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from a patient or their family for them to be confident in making copies of resources, and thus having to duplicate effort when material had to be changed or taken down.”  The report goes on to give recent examples where this has been necessary including NHS guidelines on hospital hygiene (sitting on beds, handwashing) and swine flu in both human and animal healthcare education.

Also emphasised in the report was the fact that, in addition to fully open CC licensed content, Jorum currently also supports JorumEducationUK (for content sharing where creators and owners need to restrict the availability of resources to members of UK Further and Higher Education institutions, authenticated via the Access Management Federation), but that the third licensing regime JorumPlus (for sharing content with additional restrictions, for example where material licensed via JISC Collections or from third parties is involved)  does not seem to have materialised (see  A more restricted licensing option was seen as essential where there are sensitive materials, or materials should not be disaggregated due to context specificity and the risk of misappropriation (e.g. obs and gynae or genito-urinary medicine related materials).

OOER have, in fact, been exploring an alternative repository that may be more suited to the requirements of their users; MedEdPORTAL “is a free online peer-reviewed publication service provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in partnership with the American Dental Education Association (ADEA)”…”designed to promote educational collaboration by facilitating the open exchange of peer-reviewed teaching resources such as tutorials, virtual patients, simulation cases, lab guides, videos, podcasts, assessment tools, etc”… “it is open and available for free to the general public.”  One of the interesting features of this resource is that all submissions undergo formal peer-review which was seen by OOER as meeting the expectations of their specific constituency. As far as I can tell, there is nothing to stop international users submitting resources though they must be registered and the submission process, as you might expect, is not trivial:

See also the MedEdPORTAL Submission Form and Instructions

ACErep and JorumOpen?

June 15, 2010 1 comment

An interesting perspective was brought to the project meeting last week that could potentially have a significant impact on the ongoing technical consultation; Simon Thomson was the project manager on the recently completed JISC funded Unicycle OER project at Leeds Met which has developed a prototype system for deposit and reuse of OER into both the Leeds Met repository and JorumOpen, the national repository for OER; he was interested in the rationale for a bespoke interface for ALPS CETL resources and suggested that, instead, we should perhaps aim to integrate with the developing national infrastructure.

Simon’s suggestion generated considerable discussion and will require further exploration with other members of the steering group not present at the meeting; it was emphasised that there were specific deliverables required by the ALPS CETL in terms of a bespoke portal though it was acknowledged that we should certainly aim for a solution that can integrate with JorumOpen whether in the context of the current project or in the longer term.

One suggestion, for example, though necessarily speculative at this stage, was to liaise with Jorum regarding harvest and aggregation of OAI-PMH from the three repositories that could be searched from JorumOpen itself – using a specific tag – and/or upon which we could build a bespoke portal to search ALPS CETL resources. Such an approach, perhaps, would also address sustainability issues beyond the life-time of the project.

Simon also highlighted two other JISC OER projects that may have synergies with the current project and that we should liaise with:

• MedDev OOER –
• UK Centre for Bioscience OER Project –

I have now had a preliminary conversation with Jorum who said that EdShare at Southampton are also interested in OAI-PMH functionality and indicated that they are close to releasing a beta implementation of a tool to harvest OAI-PMH from the Jorum repositories and that it may well be possible to extend this to other repositories.  I hope to learn more soon.