Closing the ukoer circle?
June 15, 2011 2 Comments
The titular Unicycle of our phase 1 ukoer project at Leeds Met referred to “a prototype mechanism for the export and import of open educational resources” that would seek to “share OER materials with…HE community via JORUM”.
To recap, under the ukoer programme, it was mandated that all resources released by an institutional project must also be made available from the national repository service Jorum. The method used by most phase 1 projects was harvest of metadata only by RSS, however, in our case, we were unable to produce an RSS feed in the necessary format and in lieu of OAI-PMH which was not supported by Jorum, the requirement was fulfilled by a full IMSCP transfer – I simply uploaded a zip file of all resources that the JORUM tech folk were able to ingest directly into DSpace. At the time this was seen as the ideal solution for Jorum which, as a “repository”, should seek to preserve actual files rather than just URIs pointing to resources elsewhere. However, it meant that our files were duplicated in both repositories and that our repository would inevitably be eclipsed by Jorum in search engine results. I’ve explored these implications elsewhere and they have also cropped up as part of the ACErep project and I have become convinced that a better solution for us would be for metadata only to be harvested (or possibly deposited by SWORD*) including a URI in our institutional repository.
(Our OAI-PMH is already harvested by the Xpert repository at Nottingham University)
As ukoer folk will be aware, the management of Jorum is currently undergoing substantive restructuring; hitherto a joint project between EDINA and MIMAS, from 1st August 2011, the service will be managed exclusively by MIMAS and will liaise more closely with the NDLR – http://www.ndlr.ie/ – in Ireland (also based on DSpace) and utilising a common, Open Source code-base.
One of the likely early developments from this is that Jorum will soon support OAI-PMH – the protocol is already supported by the NDLR running on a more current version of DSpace – allowing us, I hope, to revisit how our resources (metadata only) are ingested into Jorum. In addition, MIMAS will be putting further development efforts into enhancing the Jorum API which has already been identified as a pre-requisite for both our ACErep project and the PORSCHE project at Newcastle University.
* SWORD deposit (metadata only) into Jorum in tandem with file deposit into a local repository should be technically possible I think and would potentially have the benefit of records being available immediately from the API rather than the inevitable delay associated with harvest (Xpert harvests overnight).
This evolving national infrastructure is obviously essential to advocacy around Open Educational Resources; the development, release, use and reuse of OER at an institutional level and will necessarily underpin developing institutional infrastructures. For example, in conjunction with promotional activities here at Leeds Met and technical developments from Intrallect – notably a desktop SWORD client (beta) that can capture core ukoer metadata and deposit to our intraLibrary installation – I hope that we can close the ukoer circle such that teaching staff can source their own OER from Jorum, Xpert or other institutional or subject source – reuse and/or repurpose under the terms of Creative Commons and redeposit back into our local repository and thence automatically to Jorum / Xpert / other syndicated OER services (e.g. Learning Registry) via OAI-PMH and / or SWORD.