STELLAR Project - ELAG conference paper May 2013


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This paper was presented at ELAG 2013, in Ghent. It gives an overview of the JISC-funded STELLAR project which is led by The Open University's Library Services. The project is investigating the sustainability of enhancing non-current learning materials with semantic technologies

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STELLAR Project - ELAG conference paper May 2013

  1. 1. Improving the discoverability oflearning materials with Linked DataELAG May 2013Sarah Brown
  2. 2. • The Open University is a world leader in moderndistance learning, the pioneer of teaching andlearning methods which enable people to achievetheir career and life goals studying at times and inplaces to suit them• The OU’s mission is to be open to people, places,methods and ideas• The OU has developed its own style of distancelearning called supported open learning‘• Based in Milton Keynes with regional and nationalcentres across the UKThe Open University (OU)
  3. 3. • The Open University was the worlds first successful distance teachinguniversity, founded on the belief that communications technology couldbring high quality degree-level learning to people who had not had theopportunity to attend traditional campus universities• The OU opened to its first students – 25,000 of them - in January 1971• The OU has been faithful to its mission ofopenness to methods. Over three decadesthe university was quick to harness thepotential of new media for teaching andlearning and from the mid-1990s began themassive exploitation of the internet that hasmade the OU the worlds leading e-universityHistory of the OU
  4. 4. • The OU is the largest academic institution in the UK, in terms of studentnumbers. It has:– more than 240,000 students– close to 7,000 tutors– more than 1,100 full-time academic staff– more than 3,500 support staff• Open University students are not just in the UK.• Our students come from the widest possible range of backgrounds• Teaching and learning has been transformed• With the advent of MOOCs, the OU launched Futurelearn in 2012. Apartnership of a number of institutions, Futurelearn will bring together arange of free, open, online courses• Therefore the OU has a rich heritage of archived learningmaterials in many formats. An increasing number of thesematerials are being preserved in a digital formatAnd today…
  5. 5. The OU Digital Library (OUDL)history of distance educationhistory of the OUpapers of OU VIPsOU research projectsWhat is the Open University Digital Library?Preserving selected OU historical, learning, teaching and research material.OU and VLE websitesre-usable contenthigh-quality course showcasesinstitutional memorySELECT COLLECT PRESERVEThe OUDL is currently in development and will be launched publicly soon
  6. 6. The OU Digital Library (OUDL)FlexibleExtensibleDigitalObjectRepositoryArchitectureOpen source, created by andsupported by the digital preservationcommunitypurpose-designed to meet our needsOUDL and the Fedora digital librarySupports international metadatastandardsPREMIS – METS – MODS – EAD – DC -OAI
  7. 7. • Semantic Technologies Enhancing the Lifecycle of Learning Resources• An eighteen month JISC-funded project being run by OU Library Services• Working with semantic web experts in the OU’s Knowledge Media Institute• STELLAR is part of the JISC Digital Infrastructure Programme – Enhancing theSustainability of Digital Collections• Other projects in this strand are working on:• The UK Web Archive• The digital library for the Linnean Society• STELLAR runs until July 2013The STELLAR project
  8. 8. Taking collections preserved in the OUDL, the STELLAR project wasestablished to:• Develop a detailed understanding of the value of legacy learning materialsas perceived by academic staff and other key stakeholders• Experiment with the use of semantic technologies in a digital libraryenvironment to ascertain the extent to which the perceived value of thesematerials might be enhanced and to consider the sustainabilityimplications of using semantic technologies.• Inform the development of digital libraries of learning resources bycontributing to the evidence base for their effectiveness• Increase the return on investment of learning materials bydeveloping an evidence based model for lifecyclemanagementSTELLAR project aims
  9. 9. 1. Capturing perceptionsPersonal and professional perspectives of valueI would be disappointed if the OU learningmaterials that I helped to produce were not keptI keep my own copies of the OU learningmaterials that I am involved in producingI would be pleased if others chose to reuse ofreversion the OU learning materials that I havehelped to produceFinancial / bottom line perspectives of valueI think that there is a monetary value to non-currentOU learning materialsThe OU could make savings if more learning materialwere reusedValue to HE and academic communitiesMaintaining an archive of non-current OU learningmaterials is important to the reputation of the OUI think the non-current OU learning materials areimportant in the context of the history of highereducationI think the non-current OU learning materials areimportant in showing how the OU taught atparticular times in historyValue to internal processes and culturesI keep my own copies of the OU learningmaterials that I am involved in producingWhen producing new OU learning material, I amlikely to look to previous material, whether forinspiration or for potential reuseI would be more likely to explore existing non-current learning materials if there were a betterway of finding them.Using a balanced scorecard approach we conducted a benchmarking survey of academicstaff and stakeholders to investigate the value they place on non-current learning materials
  10. 10. A total of 561 completed responses• 89.2% of respondents (501) agreed or strongly agreedwith the statement that maintaining an archive ofnon-current OU learning materials is important to thereputation of the OU.• 75.9% of respondents thought that this should bemaintained in perpetuity.• 90.16% of respondents (504) agreed or stronglyagreed that non-current learning materials areimportant to the context of the history of highereducation.• 91.75% of those respondents who were involved inmodule production (356) agreed or strongly agreedthat when producing new OU learning material, I amlikely to look to previous material, whether forinspiration or for potential reuse.“We are the world leaders in distance learning, so our curriculum designsare much admired and so are our materials. It would be remiss of us not totreat them as potential objects of scholarship themselves”.
  11. 11. 2. Enhancement• Based on feedback fromthe survey three legacy OUmodules were selected forenhancement• All materials for themodules were included:print, A/V andsupplementary items• Digital versions of thematerials were stored inthe OUDL• Metadata was created orimproved for all thecontent• The materials wereenhanced using semantictechnologies
  12. 12. The modules selected comprised a wide range of materialsRange of learning resource types
  13. 13. STELLAR allowed us to link the metadata for all thismodule content, making it more discoverable & reusableA metadata modulerecord was createdwhich connects thecomplicated web ofcontent andmetadataassociated witheach moduleModule Information
  14. 14. A relationship model has also been defined showing all thepossible relationships between the elements of the module
  15. 15. Fedora recordcourse
  16. 16. Fedora record
  17. 17. Basic linked data model(for and to comply with current module descriptions)doau:a103“An Introduction tothe Humanities”dc:title | rdfs:label | courseware:has-titlecourseware:is-taught-presentdc:subjectcourseware:Course |mlo:LearningOpportunitySpecification |aiiso:Module |xcri:courserdf:type“false”aiiso#code“A103”jacs:V900 |doau-topic:arts-and-humanitiesdoau:a102dc:isVersionOfdoau:a101daou-library:339347dc:isVersionOf“An introduction to the humanities: resource book 2”dc:titlecourseware:has-courseware
  18. 18. Application of Linked Data• A tool has been developed by our Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) to searchthe linked data representations of the digital library• Text entered into the tool is passed through a semantic meaning engine andconcepts are matched against the concepts contained within the digital librarydataset.• A selection of the closest matches are then displayed. These link through tothe object in the Fedora digital library• The semantic web tool analyses the meaning of those words and finds relatedmaterial• As well as retrieving material from the digital library the tool canalso show related material from other datasets
  19. 19. Changing the“sliders” gives anew selectionof materialText enteredor pasted inby userA selection of theclosest matchesare thendisplayed.These linkthrough to theobject in theFedora digitallibrary.
  20. 20. The user can directly accessdigitised content stored in theOUDL and use as required.Materials include thoseoriginally in print, audio andvideo formatsIt is also possible to access the extensivemetadata about the course or element of thecourse, held on a page
  21. 21.
  22. 22. 3. Evaluation• We have recently commenced the evaluation phaseof the project• Through workshops and surveys we are asking peoplehow they find the tool, how they might use it andwhat’s its value would be• Early indications are positive…
  23. 23. Initial evaluation responses
  24. 24. Provisional conclusions fromevaluation• Stakeholders place a high value on legacy learningmaterials and believe these should be preserved• If materials are easily discoverable and accessible theywill be used in future course production• Applying semantic technologies to materials in a digitallibrary provides users with a broader range of materials• Enhancing old materials with semantic technologiesmakes them more likely to be referred to or reused• There could be financial benefits totransforming content in this way
  25. 25. Learnings so far…• We found significant effort was required to improve the metadata forthese materials• To make best use of the Linked Data, it was beneficial to digitise andpreserve all course materials (including those not previously considered).There is a trade-off between the value of getting extra detailed contentdigitised and added to thesystem and thecost of cataloguing.• However, what we havedeveloped for theSTELLAR project isalready being used toenhance the OUDL –e.g. linking from coursematerials to relatediTunesU material
  26. 26. Our thanks to JISC for funding the STELLAR projectContact detailsProject blog: #oustellar