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Archive for March, 2011

Project update

March 4, 2011 1 comment

One of the most challenging aspects of ACErep continues to be working across multiple institutions and organisations and recently progress has stalled somewhat as we liaise with our partners and wait for development work essential to the overall infrastructure.

In November last year we were able to build a prototype using Xpert which harvests OAI-PMH from our repository at Leeds Met and which we are then able to selectively search by keyword. We had initially hoped to work with Jorum but at that time there was no Open API, nor were there any plans to harvest by OAI-PMH, so we liaised instead with Pat Lockley of Xpert who was able to help with both requirements.

A lot has happened since November however, both at Xpert and Jorum. Pat is moving on to another (OER related) post which raises questions for us around the sustainability of that service now it has lost its key developer and I have been working with the PORSCHE project at Newcastle University which aims to provide seamless access to academic and clinical learning resources for healthcare students primarily from the respective collections in Jorum and the NHS National eLearning Repository (NeLR). As such, PORSCHE has also requested that Jorum harvest by OAI-PMH and provide an open API; the project team includes the Jorum service manager Hiten Vaghmaria as well as Kate Lomax of the NeLR (which, like Leeds Met’s repository, is also based on intraLibrary.) Jorum have now released a first iteration of an open API and hopefully both projects, and the UKOER community at large, can now work with the national OER service to develop that API to meet our requirements – PORSCHE’s Suzanne Hardy has set up a the Jorum API discussion space (wiki) at http://jorumapi.pbworks.com/w/page/35601929/Jorum-API-discussion-space. I am, in fact, yet to contribute to the discussion myself partly due to a lack of knowledge around API development – I’m far from clear, for example, how we may most effectively use an API to return just a subset of the resources in Jorum (i.e. ALPS/medical resources). In the Xpert prototype we just filtered on keyword but this feels a little unsatisfactory and Pat suggested a custom URL search would be better…

The other pieces of the jigsaw are repository-shaped and variously lacking the dove-tailing standards required to make the model workable. At Leeds University the learning and teaching repository is ExLibris’ DigiTool while York St John have a system called ArchivalWare, both systems are OAI-PMH compliant but do not support SWORD – development work is underway to rectify this at York St John while Jodie has set up an out of the box test install of e-prints to investigate OER object management.

Mike has also made some progress with EasyDeposit which is now working on a Leeds Met server and, after a few teething problems, will now successfully deposit a METS package to Jorum (DSpace), we will still need to test with EPrints (METS should be OK I think) and ArchivalWare when SWORD is integrated with that platform…probably METS again. There is an issue with intraLibrary, however, in that it only accepts IMSCP by SWORD, not METS, so we will also need to write an IMS content packager for EasyDeposit.

We are very grateful to Tamsin Treasure-Jones of ALPs for her continued support with this challenging project and I’m hopeful that all of these pieces can be put together over the Spring and Summer as we move towards a local, regional and national infrastructure for sharing medical teaching, learning and assessment material with an approach that will have the benefit of digital assets being preserved in one location (an institutional repository) while providing several points of access as well as allowing the ALPS branded web-site and the institutional repositories to “piggyback” on Jorum’s Google pagerank and improving discoverability.

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