Jorum / OER case-study

The process of setting up an OER service at an institution is potentially complex, requiring a significant infrastructural and human resource both to implement and maintain hardware / software and to promote the service to institutional stakeholders. A successful service is likely to require at least 1 FTE post-holder though the full range of expertise is unlikely to reside with an individual staff-member and will involve a considerable learning curve in areas as diverse as copyright and IPR, cataloguing and metadata standards, repository/VLE/content-management and more general web-technologies.

At Leeds Metropolitan University, the OER repository has to a large extent developed alongside Jorum and represents several projects including a JISC funded repository start-up, a UKOER phase 1 project (Unicycle) and the HEA funded ACErep project. The maturing service is built on intraLibrary, a commercial learning-object repository that incurs an annual licensing fee in addition to a substantial implementation cost in year one and has required considerable customisation and associated technical work to embed it within a broader OER infrastructure. The core human resource is currently 1 FTE Repository Developer (University grade 5), 0.3 FTE Information Services Librarian and 0.5 FTE Senior web-developer (University grade 6) though staff employed on the project(s) has varied over time, including faculty based administrators during Unicycle for example.

Even though Leeds Metropolitan University has implemented its own repository, Jorum continues to be an important component of the institutional OER infrastructure and has the potential to increase the visibility of local repository content, by harvesting metadata into the national service for example. Moreover, as the institution moves towards a “consumer” model of OER use as part of the resourcing of its curriculum, staff will be increasingly directed to Jorum as a national OER repository that links together a number of institutions & resources where the aggregated material is largely from the UK HE sector, meaning there is an agreed understanding of levels of study so staff can feel confident about using the resource in their Learning & Teaching.

In terms of what the sector would lose, one of the main things is simply the focus of a national aggregation service…it has always been a frustration that OA research has never been successfully aggregated, for two main reasons, I think:

  • because they are “diluted” by metadata records for which it has not been possible to procure full-text or copyright does not permit deposit
  • insufficient (auto-harvestable) rights information

(See these posts on the UKCORR blog for more on this http://ukcorr.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/unfulfilled-promise-of-aggregating.html and http://ukcorr.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/are-your-repository-policies-worth-html.html)

UKOER and Jorum, I think, have in fact circumvented both these issues and aggregation is therefore much more effective (especially by RSS as a light weight alternative to OAI-PMH) and with the potential to do all sorts of interesting stuff with that aggregation.

Leeds Metropolitan University has also worked with Jorum and intraLibrary on the PORSCHE (Pathways to Open Resource Sharing through Convergence in Healthcare Education) project at HEA MEDEV which has explored potential ways to represent OER in multiple repositories and which has resulted in the intraLibrary software incorporating OAI-PMH harvest functionality so that the metadata from external repositories can appear as a “collection” in intraLibrary. As well as being valuable to the institutions involved, this work has benefitted the sector as a whole and demonstrates the value of a central OER repository that can serve as a focus for innovation across the sector.

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Still baffled by Google…

Just reproducing an email to ukcorr-discuss here in case any technically minded folk not on the list might pass by these parts…

To revisit the whole Google Scholar / full-text indexing “thing” I was just looking at results in GS for a particular academic who has raised a query about his full-text not being visible in Google Scholar; he has 6 full-text in the repository but a site: search of GS only appears to return x2:

http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&q=site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Frepository-intralibrary.leedsmet.ac.uk+%22x.+font%22&btnG=Search&as_sdt=0%2C5&as_ylo=&as_vis=0

Initially I thought it may be an artefact of when full-text were added; records were all added at the same time (24th May 2011) but full-text was only added for one of the GS results at that time (plus one not indexed at all – see below) as opposed to October 2011 for all the others (including the other GS result)…and that’s still a good 6 months which you would think would be long enough to be indexed. Wouldn’t you?

Normal Google, by contrast, returns 4 full-text records:

https://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&as_q=&as_epq=xavier+font&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&lr=&cr=&as_qdr=all&as_sitesearch=http%3A%2F%2Frepository-intralibrary.leedsmet.ac.uk%2F&as_occt=any&safe=images&tbs=&as_filetype=pdf&as_rights=

The missing results are http://repository.leedsmet.ac.uk/main/view_record.php?identifier=4881&SearchGroup=Research (full-text added 24th May 2011) / http://repository.leedsmet.ac.uk/main/view_record.php?identifier=4893&SearchGroup=Research (full-text added 10th October 2011).

The only other difference I can spot is that several of those non-indexed in GS don’t have metadata in the PDF (which is why they have just been picked up in normal Google as “Leeds Metropolitan University Repository” from the coversheet…

As a caveat, there is technical peculiarity in that we effectively have a two-server set up with our Open Search interface on an institutional server which queries intraLibrary by SRU, the software itself hosted for us in a server-farm somewhere which might explain idiosyncratic behaviour to some extent…

Am I missing anything else?!