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Integrating Repository Function with Work Practice

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

It’s amazing what you find ..

Posted by Dawn on March 25, 2009

… as deadlines loom. Have no idea why I haven’t previously bloged these, possibly intended to use in some report some where. Regardless, early on I went on a hunt to see what independent tools already existed out there regarding metadata. During this I came across a couple of interesting reports from CETIS:


This last I just found while looking for the URL for LomPAD, have added as it looks interesting, but dont have time to investigate 🙂

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The Sharing Vision

Posted by Dawn on March 23, 2009

Prompted by the visit to Belfast we decided it would be a good idea to formally examine our (Leeds met) sharing philosophy regarding LOs. As this hasn’t been previously represented I also thought it might be a good idea to model pre and post sharing with regard to the repository. Again I have fallen back on adapting UML case studies to visualise these processes. Generally these are read from top to bottom connections show potential decision points, where either, both or none of the following process may be undertaken. Actors represent roles or systems playing a role within a process.


To facilitate this development I cornered our repository officer Nick Sheppard and did a short interview. I doubt there will be time to do a full transcription of this but it did give me some insight into past and future aspirations for the repository and the workflows surrounding it. I’m uploading three of the four intended workflows now, in case time runs away, with evaluations are my top of my agenda at the moment.


Pre-repository shows some learning content being packaged as a learning object using such applications as Course Genie and eCat. Similar to Belfast theses were often used within the VLE. The predominant process was the creation of content and storage on personal or shared drives. Conversations between colleagues were the main driving force for sharing; this resulted in direct hard drive access for the resource, link sharing or a hard copy being reciprocated, depending on the nature of the content and storage facilitated by the tutor.


The current state of affairs, extracted from the conversation with Nick, again has some strong links with Belfast. As we are still discussing the various issues regarding general public release of Leeds Met learning objects, all current upload and potentially any search and download, request go through the repository officer. The repository is as yet not ready for general institution-wide access, with only small pockets currently populating it under Nick’s guidance. One of the most difficult tasks regarding this filtration through one team is the back and forth communication required to gain complete metadata particularly. This is particularly prevalent when checking the copyright of repurposed learning objects.


The vision is to enable individuals to upload and download from the repository as part of their natural content development process. To enable this, the repository needs to be accessed from what ever personal work point an individual chooses to use. This is my simplistic version of this vision with and emphases on as few and seamless connections to as many interfaces as possible. I’m sure others including Nick will add to and comment on this to give it a more robust appearance.


The final and missing diagram, I’m currently extracting form Nicks interview, tries to capture the perceived next step…..

Posted in General, Personal space, Repositories, Search | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Next Generation Technologies in Practice 09

Posted by Janet Finlay on March 11, 2009

John, Stuart, Jill, Tony and I have just spent two days in Loughborough at the Next Generation Technologies in Practice JISC conference which has been very stimulating. This morning John and I led a session entitled Social Technologies for Sharing Practice, with Wendy representing Persona and Jim Hensman Planet, where we looked at the ways in which the projects had made use of social technologies to support sharing. The session went well and we have had some great feedback. Slides for the presentation are available here: Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Social Technology for Sharing Practic…“, posted with vodpod

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All set for Belfast

Posted by Dawn on February 26, 2009

Had my first video conference today, which went rather well considering how I feel about cameras of any sort. Regardless, the conference was with Pat and Paul from Belfast Met who we (Nick and I) will be visiting very soon. They have a greater experience of using learning objects then we do here in Leeds. This is probably, as expressed by Paul, due to the difference in structure between a HE and an FE and the impact this puts on staff time. There is it seams a greater impetus in FE to get into anything that is going to increase productivity and free up valuable time. Something that for them LOs have clearly achieved. They have a strong repurposing culture and it will be interesting to see how they deal with versioning and re-assigning metadata on the extended LOs. They are very interested to exchange experiences on the software that is being used by both institutions. This will be good for comparison with the prototype, both from a usability and workflow perspective. They suggested we talk to various people who are heading initiatives around the institution, so that we can get an idea of how they have approached the same problems we are currently facing. All in all a very positive experience and I’m looking forward to meeting them in person and having an interesting week.

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GWT and iGoogle

Posted by Dawn on December 9, 2008

Started looking into the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) the other day. Downloaded all the kit and got everything almostworking within the Eclipse IDE. The tutorial I used didn’t completely work but I got the general idea. Next need to play with the downloaded samples and a web app of my own. Its going to be a busy week. I’m doing this for two reasons. Mark and Mike have built the input and processing elements of the Learning Object search tool, see post here. My job now is to take Mark’s output and do something visually funky with it. The GWT promises to be the easiest method to do this. I write in Java and it produces Ajax interactivity in XHTML, CSS and JavaScript, without all the browser conflicts.

The second reason is that we’re hoping to transfer the metadata generator we have developed into a widget. So by using the GWT to produce the second prototype, I should have enough know-how to do this transfer simply. Once we have some widgets we can have a look at putting them together as personal space on something such as iGoogle or FaceBook

As an aside I had a mess around with iGoogle today to see what I could put together. I didn’t release just how much was no available. I set up a work page, from my perspective and this is what I was able to access form one spot:

  • GMail account
  • links
  • Sticky Notes
  • TO-DO List
  • Multi-chat tool including Skype, MSN and Yahoo
  • Google Notebook
  • Direct blogging link to blogger & Word press
  • Google docs
  • Google groups
  • Google reader linked to all my project blogs
  • Google calendar
  • Twitter feeds and post
  • Flicker
  • Face book

I think I’ve covered almost everything I need 🙂

I blogged this from the google widget, but i wasn’t able to edit the formatting so just sent it in as a draft. The tags became catagories so something not working there. Not quite as instant acess as I would like, i’m editing it now in wordpress. Ther is no preview or image upload form the widget. It will get there I’m sure.

Posted in General, Personal space | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Visit from intraLibrary

Posted by Dawn on November 27, 2008

I spent most of today with Nick and Peter from Interlect resolving some of the issues with the repository. The discussion revolved around getting intraLibrary to do what we want in terms of learning objects (LOs). I haven’t had a great deal of time previously to play with the system and it was a good opportunity to sort out some of the complexities surrounding collections and application profiles and their relations to various elements with in the system.

There was some initial discussion with Wendy and Jill about the difference between LOs and research papers. While it is the aim of the repository project to develop an open access platform and community for research papers this is not necessarily the case with LOs. There is concern among staff about making LOs public. This has been highlighted by Nick and other repository developments . For now the general consensus is to proved access only within LeedMet and via a different interface to that used by the research outputs. Ideally we would like to link up to the research interface and at the very least allow access to LOs metadata. This will then enable interested parties to contact staff in to arrange access to objects on a one to one base.

Further to Nick’s post about the components and structure of intraLibrary I came up with the following diagram as an idea to understanding these relationships.

IntraLibrary concepts

IntraLibrary concepts

As Peter noted in our discussions it is the group that is essential to the process and defining an individual’s role and permissions within that group. I suspect a will amend my view of these elements as I continue to organise the repository and my understanding grows.

Another thing we discussed at great length was IP and LOM Right section. As a mentioned earlier I have included Rights in the mandatory minimal set of metadata for LOs in the repository. Peter suggested this what not a good thing. He suggested that this should be added later by a cataloger. I thought it would be very hard for anyone to trace Rights on a LO that has minimal information, hence leaving it up to the depositor. Peter then suggested using a Usage agreement that depositors need to agree to and a take down policy. This puts the onus on the depositor to check their content and then a standard Rights policy can be applied. Special cases will have to go through a more manual process.

Other Issues:

  • Authentication is still a big issue and realistically Peter suspected it could take up till March to resolve. This left us with the decision to manually setup user accounts for LO depositors.
  • There are still some CSS issues in Internet Explore particularly in the upload process and personal preferences. A more recent IntraLibrary build should sort this out and we have been promised to have this done by the end of next weekish!
  • IMS packages produced by the replica project have problems with viewing and metadata extraction. Hopefully peter has solved this one via a setting in the admin section. Unfortunately what ever we did crashed Interlibrary for a couple of our so we didn’t get round to testing it at the time. Job for first thing on Monday I suspect.
  • As mention previously I am currently unable to upload a single XML metadata file to associate it with content in the repository. This is essential for use with the generator we have devised.

Posted in General, Reflections, Repositories | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »