intraLibrary is just for Learning Objects, isn’t it?

The issues around adapting intraLibrary to adequately function as an Open Access repository of research are agonisingly documented on this blog (see; there was an interesting and necessary discussion on the JISC-REPOSITORIES mailing list yesterday (though it’s still rumbling on) about the differences, if any, between ‘general repositories’ like EPrints and DSpace and specialised Learning Object repositories and the suitability of various platforms to fulfil a variety of institutional needs (Open Access to research material; Reusable Learning Objects/Content Packaging; other multimedia and complex digital objects. )

The hardest line was that it would be highly impractical to use the likes of EPrints and DSpace to “store, catalogue and serve e-learning resources” or, conversely, to use a specialised LO repository like Intralibrary for research.  My own view is that there is scope for complementary technology and that LO repositories can benefit from the culture of openness and sharing exemplified by OA archives of research as the zeitgeist shifts towards Open Access to a wider range of educational resources.

I would be the first to recognise that intraLibrary isn’t ideally suited to be used as an Open Access repository, however, with some “customisation” it can do the job perfectly well.  I expect the same is also true, from the other direction perhaps, of DSpace and EPrints – Soton, in fact, is currently  developing EdSpace based on its famous open source software.

Institutions increasingly expect their repositories to manage a wide range of digital material; at a recent RSP focus group it was clear that repository administrators running a range of platforms are increasingly being expected to manage everything and the kitchen sink.  Moreover, institutions, especially smaller ones, simply don’t have the resources to implement the ideal software solution(s) that will satisy multiple stakeholders.

(Disclaimer:  Some of these perspectives are paraphrased from my colleagues on JISC-REPOSITORIES)

For Les Carr’s perspective on the discussion* see his blog post on repositoryman.

* or argument!


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