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Technologies for Resource Sharing in Academic Support
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Technologies for Resource Sharing in Academic Support


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Using the Economics Network web site as an example of how Subject Centres share resources and services with a variety of academic and commercial services and will do so increasingly over the next few …

Using the Economics Network web site as an example of how Subject Centres share resources and services with a variety of academic and commercial services and will do so increasingly over the next few years

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  • 1. Technologies for Resource Sharing Dr Martin Poulter ICT Manager, The Economics Network Academy-Intute meeting 10 October 2007
  • 2. Resource types
    • Online Resources
      • Learning & Teaching Materials
        • Explicit educational intention
        • Intended audience is usually student
      • Online Sources
        • Not educational in intent, but useful in teaching
      • Education resources (including SOTL)
        • Main intended audience is teaching staff
      • Online Research Resources
        • Sweetener to attract academics
  • 3. Subject needs vary widely
    • Economists produce hundreds of learning objects (eg. MCQs) but until recently not so many educator resources.
    • Philosophy has a rich history of scholarship and discussion of teaching and learning, but no learning objects
  • 4. Resource types
    • Online Resources
      • Learning & Teaching Materials
      • Online Sources
      • Education resources (including SOTL)
      • Book data harvested from Amazon
    EngSC Intute AIRDIP? Catalogued using LOM Catalogued more simply
  • 5. Resource types - other
    • Events (where, when, who?)
    • News items
    • Info about people
    • Funding opportunities
    • Comments/approvals/ratings
    RSS? RSS? Queryable service? Data formats for sharing vCARD [or FOAF ] RSS iCalendar (RSS1.0 in the past)
  • 6. Embeddability Google Video , YouTube and SlideShare on Economics SC Another kind of embeddable service: link recommendation services on the Intute Social Sciences blog:
  • 7. The real Information Environment
    • By providing (maps/ book data/ bookmarks/ image sets) as an embeddable service, (Google/ Amazon/ Delicious/ Flickr) makes other web sites better, not just their own.
    Wordpress (blogs), Weebly (wikis) & Facebook are sites whose selling points include the many external services they embed
  • 8. The real Information Environment
    • The FEELE FDTL5 project is using WikiVersity to create documentation
      • So why not republish it on our site?
    • We get more hits via WikiPedia than via
      • So why not become a WikiPedia editor?
    • Health Economics lecturers want a sub-site
      • So why not create it in Pbwiki .com and import it automatically to
    • Lecturers find it easier to recommend links to students via than via their VLE
      • So why not copy our entire links database into
  • 9. Issues with commercial services
    • Credibility of source
      • Embed content (e.g. YouTube video), so it is reached via our (credible) site, as well as by searching in YT
    • Free services might go bust or start charging
      • So keep copies of content
    • Content gets branded with their logo
      • So what? Academics don’t care it’s a video YouTube
    • Invisibility to our site search engines
      • So put description and metadata on our site
  • 10. Distributed web sites? Subject Centre =are doing =would like to do YouTube Google Video SlideShare Google Calendar PBwiki Weebly Flickr Google Maps Other JISC services e.g. JORUM Intute Amazon WikiPedia / WikiVersity / Commons
  • 11. So what is
    • Not just a site that you visit for documents and databases
    • Increasingly, a content provider and filter that uses a variety of external services and embedded content, and engages in an increasing number of online communities.
  • 12. Intute: outstandingly embeddable Extract from
  • 13. XML: Lingua Franca of the web
    • Javascript embedding isn’t a professional solution.
    • The accepted way to share textual data (such as search results) is with XML formats. Whatever the “next big thing” is, it’ll be based on XML too.
    • Free software libraries make it increasingly easy to exchange XML between programs running in different languages on different servers.
    • Intute has for years used a variety of XML formats.
    • Anyone working as a web developer ought to have at least basic XML abilities.
    • XML needn’t be nearly as complicated as the OAI format used in the Interoperability project
  • 14. Semantic XHTML A new technology called GRDDL enables machine-readable content to be embedded in web pages, to be harvested into databases on remote servers.