Linking from a research paper to associated OER and thoughts on extending the CRIS model to OER

With our “blended” repository comprising research and UKOER, I still feel very much like I have a foot in two camps. A feeling that, ironically, is reinforced, by my role as Technical Officer for UKCoRR – the UK Council of Research Repositories!

I think I’m right in saying that it’s still atypical to manage both types of resource with a single repository platform and there are certainly considerations why it may not necessarily be desirable – both from a technical and political perspective.

The main repositories that have been developed as part of the ukoer programme are modifications to DSpace (Jorum) and EPrints (HumBox, EdShare), the two main open source repository software platforms that were both initially developed to manage research. In contrast, we have worked with intraLibrary, a commercial learning object repository, to manage both OER and research and while this certainly hasn’t been without it’s problems, I’m naturally interested in potential benefits from this approach both in terms of “reward & recognition” for OER by something analogous to peer-review perhaps (a theme that was explored as part of the Unicycle project) and also in terms of work-flow, possibly mediated via a CRIS-type system such as Symplectic Elements or Atira Pure…

intraLibrary has a workflow to link related resources which I can easily use to link a research paper with associated OER, so in the example below I can link…

Coates, C., Smith, S. (2010) Promoting the concept of competency maps to enhance the student learning experience. Assessment, Teaching and Learning Journal (Leeds Met), 10 (Winter), pp.21-25.

…to the three ALPS Common Competency Maps in the OER collection (see Linked Resources at the bottom of the record):

ALPS Common Competency Map – Communication

ALPS Common Competency Map – Ethical Practice

ALPS Common Competency Map – Team Working

These records, in turn, comprise links back to the research paper (and associated conference paper):

With such an approach, is there perhaps an opportunity to tie research and OER more closely together at an institutional level (if this isn’t politically naive!) and contribute to research led teaching?

The next stage might be to develop a common workflow for research and OER…

Workflow, in fact, has long been a bug-bear of mine and, for both types of resource, essentially remains fully mediated by me and administrative colleagues. In all likelihood, however, as are many institutions, we will soon be implementing a CRIS that will make it easier to collate institutional research outputs by harvesting research data from external bibliometric sources, as well as allowing records to be added manually, and integrating with the repository such that academic staff are able to attach an appropriate full-text to a record and upload it along with metadata into the repository directly from a “user-friendly interface” (TM).

At a recent demo of one of these types of system I confirmed that it could transfer a range of file-types to a repository (utilising SWORD) as well as allowing various licences to be configured including (I think) Creative Commons so there seems no fundamental reason why such a system could not be used to support the workflow for both OA research and OER.

Of course I will need to get my hands on one of these systems before I can properly investigate exactly what is achievable…watch this space.

Repository reports and more on SEO

I’ve been trying to get to grips with what usage data I can generate from our repository – both for research but particularly OER for a small JISC funded follow up to Unicycle.  I don’t really have anything equivalent to IRStats for EPrints – see this report from USIR for the type of data that can be generated from Salford’s EPrints repository – but I do have Google Analytics running on and intraLibrary’s own reporting tool.

The issue is complicated for us slightly in that we effectively have two repository sites running on two different servers!  There is intraLibrary itself hosted for us by Intrallect and there in the Open Search SRU interface on a Leeds Met server.  From Analytics I can get data on traffic to Open Search including hits on the metadata page for individual records but I cannot identify whether the full text/resource was actually downloaded. However, I CAN get this info from intraLibrary itself.

The dual server set-up also creates issues for SEO and I’ve been trying to ensure that full text, where available, is indexed by Google.  Though we have made some progress, I’m still not sure the issue has been fully resolved…intraLibrary generates a Public URL for each record – if this is not stored in the metadata (as was the case for us) then it is re-generated each time the record  is accessed – interpreted as a dynamic URL by Googlebot and not indexed.  I was able to work with Intrallect to ensure that a Public URL is generated when a record is created and stored in the metadata; Mike embeds this now-consistent URL in the results from Open Search which (hopefully) will now be indexed by Google.

There are currently a total of 250 PDFs in intraLibrary (188 research and 62 OER) and certainly *some* of these are being indexed; searching Google for filetype:pdf site: returns 53 records (up from 52 earlier in the week so will keep an eye on this) whereas Filetype:pdf site: does not return any PDFs because the they are not at that address so I don’t think we’ll be able to generate the nice nested – landing page/full text – search results that you see from EPrints repositories, at least while intraLibrary and Open Search are on seperate servers.

It is interesting to consider the implications of some of this on usage reporting, especially in the context of OER which are disseminated more widely than research (via Jorum, Xpert and potentially also the institutional VLE.)

According to Google Analytics, the most viewed OER on Open Search in September was Employability & Career Development: Assessing your Skills, Talents and Attributes which was viewed a total of 26 times – 13 absolute unique visitors – it does not feature in the report from intraLibrary, however, as it’s an external URL and does not utilise the intraLibrary Public URL (need to rectify this – there is a Public URL available that would redirect enabling us to record follow through).

It gets really interesting when you look at the most accessed item according to the intraLibrary report – Numeracy Basics – interactive quiz came in third from GA with the not terribly impressive stat of 19 hits (6 absolute unique) but the Public URL was apparently access a whopping 588 times!  I’m not sure yet where all these hits have come from (think I may be able to get IP info from intraLibrary) but may be someone has linked to it from the VLE – it is also in Xpert and I posted a link to it at but that was 1st October – this particular resource isn’t yet in Jorum ( – viewed 290 times on JO – is a hosted version so definitely not linking to the intraLibrary Public URL.)

Also pertinent here, I think, is a twitter discussion I had recently with @glittrgirl (Suzanne Hardy of PORSCHE) and others about managing duplicate OER records and it occurs to me that we are not, in fact, duplicating records at all – Jorum harvests full IMSCP so the record will point at our intraLibrary install (the example above notwithstanding that *is* actually duplicated in JO!) and Xpert harvests our OAI-PMH which, again, will point to the same link…(might be more of a duplication issue with ACErep though…need to think that through.)

Unicycle final report

The final report for the Unicycle project is now available, along with  supporting documentation, from (direct link for the report is

The report is also available from the JISC website pages for Unicycle

A quick look at JorumOpen

As anyone with even a passing intererest in UKOER will know, JorumOpen went live earlier this week and I, for one, was dying to see just what the good folk at Mimas and Edina have come up with with their customised DSpace installation (and possibly “borrow” one or two ideas for Leeds Met Open Search!).

JorumOpen Home is at and allows the user to browse OER by FE or HE subject; alternatively there are links to browse by Communities & collections/Issue date/Authors/Titles and Keyword.  There is also a simple search box and a link to an Advanced search form:

The results page comprises different functionality depending on the search – for example, browsing by subject heading displays “Recent Deposits” and allows the user a simple/advanced search, or browse by Titles/Authors/Dates within that subject heading (I like this hierarchical search functionality); also includes an RSS button to subscribe to updates within the collection.

Results themselves comprise a hyperlinked title, author/author affiliation and date of deposit as well as a thumbnail graphic where available:

The record page is worth looking at in detail (this item –

Show full item record (link) - Full Dublin Core metadata record

Share (AddThis button) – third part social network service allowing record to be emailed to a friend or posted to various social networking sites.

The simple record comprises:

Title/Author/Description/Keywords/Persistent Link/Date

Then there are three buttons:

“Export resource” that requires a valid email address “As some resources are quite large in size it can take some time to prepare them for download. Due to this we required you to supply a valid email address so that you can be notified when your download is ready.”  Then follows an email from that informs that “The item export you requested from the repository is now ready for download.” and includes a link to download the compressed file which comprises all files associated with the resource.*

“Preview content package” which allows the user to quickly view the different files and components of the resource in their browser without downloading (though it doesn’t work for .zip files)

“Download original content package” does exactly what it says on the tin and downloads a compressed file of all files associated with the resource.*

* I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between “export” and “download” – though the exported zip is bigger and contains more files (dublin_core.xml as well as imsmanifest.xml for example) – may be someone can enlighted me?

CC Licence Note – briefly explains implications of CC and links to relevant anchor later in the record.

Files in this item - allows the user to expand a list of files and download them individually (this particular item comprises 16 .zip and 2 .docx)

Creative Commons Licence – Link to relevant CC licence (opens in a nifty little window.)

Terms of service – Link to Jorum terms of service (also opens in a nifty little window)

This item appears in the following collections – linked to appropriate search terms in browse tree

Show full item record (repeated link from top of page) - Full Dublin Core metadata record

This item has been viewed x times – presumably counts visits to the record page

All in all, first impressions are pretty favourable and there are certainly some ideas that I would like to explore for Leeds Met Open Search – I’ve already included the AddThis button on the development server and plan to go live with it as soon as it has been approved by the powers that be (there are one or two issues with user tracking by this third party service – Mike has disabled Flash tracking that the widget injects into the page by default but it will still track each click-through.)

I’m also keen to explore how we may manage packaged content in a similar way to JorumOpen (preview content and download options for individual files) – currently we have very little packaged content in the repository but the default download link is currently just for an individual file – I do know that intraLibrary is able to manage content packages, however, and that a package download link is exposed by SRU so I think we should be able to achieve this.

Browse by date (of deposit) should also be achievable I think but browse by author is a little more problematic by SRU (both for research and OER) as there is no authority file for authors.

I’m not sure about recording page visits – will need to speak to Mike.

Now I just need to figure out the most efficient way of getting our UniCycle resources into JorumOpen – I will look at the deposit process in a later post (depositors can log in from JorumOpen Home via UK Federation) and I think Jorum are still exploring harvesting RSS feeds from ukoer projects though, as discussed in a recent post, our feed is not currrently suitable for this.


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