Off to Halifax for a little R&R with friends from Winnipeg - we thought they would enjoy a little tropical storm before they go back to the prairies! Too bad this one is supposed to peter out shortly:-(
This is the view from the Confederation ferry before we leave the Island.
While I hate when these things happen to stellar open source projects, it does serve to highlight how hollow and completely vapid vendor claims to "do what our customers want" can be. It also shows how strong products like Zotero have become in a world where open source leads to greater innovation. ISI has failed to innovate with their stranglehold on the bib management software market for years now, so it is clear with this action that the heat is on. This recent salvo in the proprietary vs open source wars puts the highly innovative and functional Zotero in one corner and the old-school, no longer interesting Endnote (and other ISI bib management products) in the other corner. The fact that a company would be desperate enough to go after an open source project like this (are you listening Blackboard?) says more about the fragile business strategy of the vendor than anything else. I blogged many moons ago about the failure of ISI to make their products work well against the RefWorks onslaught, so this comes as no surprise at all. When I spoke with the head of ISI Research Software over a year ago there was no interest in making their software work more seamlessly with the competition and this struck me as a very short-sighted approach. Why should the courts and markets protect laziness and bad software, rather than good design and innovation? The customer will use what works for them, so let them decide, not the courts.
I've said it before and will say it again - Don't buckle in to this kind of legal threat George Mason - open source development and the creativity and freedom it inspires needs to continue. Let me know if you need funds for your legal defense, because you are working for all of us, whether we appreciate it or not.
What's to prevent them from using information posted in GoogleDocs, Blogger or any of their other systems without your permission? An interesting piece on the fine line Google walks with their dual-personality "Do No Harm"-"Make Money" dilemma. Do we even know all the ways Google uses the data we store in systems like Picasa or Blogger today? We certainlyhave no idea how they will tomorrow. Worth some reflection...
I haven't read this one yet but it sounded like a must read for those, like UPEI, implementing ePortfolios. We are moving ahead with a simple model as represented by the Exabis system for Moodle. Exabis enables a personal portfolio approach that is simple and accessible - each Moodle user gets an ePortfolio that follows them from course to course, knows which course they are in when adding material, allows items to be shared with a specific group or the larger public, etc. A bit from the summary of the JISC report.
Initiatives and national policies can drive forward an agenda for change, but the real test comes at the point of use. Emerging, often powerful evidence from practitioners and learners of the value of developing e-portfolios provides another strong rationale for reconsidering the role of e-portfolios in learning and teaching. Cutting-edge research and development projects funded by JISC and other agencies also indicate further potential that is not yet fully exploited – for example, in facilitating the transition between institutions and stages of education, and in supporting staff appraisal and applications for professional accreditation. But perhaps the most pressing reason for taking a closer look at e-portfolios is the indication that use of these tools can promote more profound forms of learning.
Effective Practice with e-Portfolios uses the outcomes of recent significant projects and examples from current practice to explore how e-portfolios can add value to personalised and reflective models of learning. Drawing on the work of key national agencies and organisations and on excellent practice and recent initiatives by institutions and professional bodies, the guide illustrates a wide variety of e-portfolio use across further, higher and continuing education.
UPEI's Model for a "Shrink-Wrapped" Institutional Repository
I have been meaning to post on UPEI's approach to building an institutional repository for a number of months, but like so many things it always seemed to go on the back burner. I thought I would take the opportunity of a cloudy day to provide a brief description of our Repository in a Box project (RIB), which we will be launching this Fall.
RIB is built using UPEI's evolving Drupal/Fedora framework, which is also the basis of our VRE project. RIB is based on a series of workflows on top of the repository backbone:
A collection of citation data in an appropriate collecting database (currently RefWorks, but most likely to migrate to Zotero) which represents as complete a collection of the scholarly output of the campus community (at this point faculty) as we can generate. This is generated by harvesting existing databases and adding metadata from CVs.
A Fedora content model that defines the nature of the RIB disseminators, citation objects and associated datastreams, including: Qualified Dublin Core record; Original RefWorks XML record; Sherpa-Romeo record; document thumbnail; document PDF
A script (or as we call it, in a play on Fedora vocabulary, an inseminator) that takes a RefWorks XML file of the complete citation database, converts it to FOXML and inserts into a Fedora collection, storing each citation as a separate object.
A special disseminator that performs a live search of the Sherpa-Romeo database of publisher open access policies and adds/updates a Sherpa datastream in the Fedora object for the article being viewed.
An openURL button which send the citation data to out CUFTS linker and enables discovery of the publisher version of the article.
A series of XSLTs that convert the metadata and other datastreams for display in the Drupal interface.
A search interface, using Drupal's built-in search, that searches the complete Fedora collection, returning results to Drupal.
The end result will be an IR that launches with an almost complete collection of scholarly output for the institution. All the faculty member has to do is log in and the system will display their publications (this is the final piece we are currently working on before we launch) and all associated data.
BY viewing the detailed record, the user can view and edit metadata, look for the online version and add datastreams.
The individual can click the "Get-It @ UPEI" button to retrieve the final version, if desired, read the publisher open access policy (including a link to the full policy) and add the appropriate version of the pre-post-final print.
With a minimum of training our hope is that the presentation of a 90% complete IR record will encourage faculty to complete the process. Some future enhancements will include parsing the Sherpa-Romeo record to automatically grab the publisher version where appropriate and implement disseminators to convert word-processing formats. We will be providing the RIB as an example in our packaged open source Drupal/Fedora module, which will be available at the end of September from SourceForge.
A great post on the new partnership between Zotero and the Internet Archive projects. The promise is a distributed open library of scholarly material that would rival anything else available. The basic concept is to allow Zotero users to add the digital version of their work to the Internet Archive.
The Zotero-IA alliance will create a “Zotero Commons” into which scholarly materials can be added simply via the Zotero client. Almost every scholar and researcher has documents that they have scanned (some of which are in the public domain), finding aids they have created, or bibliographies on topics of interest. Currently there is no easy way to share these; giving them a central home at the Internet Archive will archive them permanently (before they are lost on personal hard drives) and make them broadly available to others.
Now if they add a layer to allow harvesting of the same data from other local, institutional repositories, the circle would be complete...
I love it when someone makes great open source software and knows how to make it work for you. The ePresence TV system is a great example of that. I used the system when at the University of Winnipeg 4 or 5 years ago and had the pleasure of seeing how the system has evolved this week at UPEI.
We wanted to be able to record lectures, stream them live and make them available via an archive. Not necessarily a huge issue these days, but to do it right takes time and a lot of work before and after. I called the ePresence people (based at the KMDI at the University of Toronto) on Thursday, we received the ePresence capture hardware unit the next day, plugged it in and performed a test in the lab, set it up in the lecture hall Monday and recorded the live lecture Tuesday. Not a hitch (except for a mic hum, now fixed and some funny slide titles, now being fixed) and it allowed us to take an overflow crowd of 70 and set them up in another lecture hall so they could watch it on the big screen. 20 minutes after the 1-hour lecture the presentation (video, audio and synced powerpoint slides) was available on the archive site, which is for now a server at U of Toronto (at the reasonable rate of $75/month). Not a hitch. How often does that happen with any software system?
Kudos to the talented crew at ePresence: if you have a need for a shrink-wrapped webcasting system go direct to ePresence and support this great open source project. The latest version of the software (which is also available as an OS download) provides advanced features such as remote scheduling and recording, seamless integration with Moodle. Take a look at the opening Global Issues 151 session by President Wade MacLauchlan and see how it looks.
The Robertson Library and the L.M. Montgomery Institute hosted the inaugural SeaWords Creative Writing Institute at Shaw's Cottages this summer. It was a great success and sets a nice bar for future events. Rather than provide the details myself I susggest you read a review by on of the students:
I had the privilege of working with one of our education students this summer on an Inukshuk funded project called Basic Academic Skills. Amy Kelly (starting her 2nd year in the Ed program this month) was hired to create a series of videos providing high school and freshman university students with a different perspective on how to be successful. Not all the videos are available yet, but I thought they would be of interest to the larger community as Amy continues to work on them. Amy has done an awesome job of capturing the basic elements and she also has a very creative approach to her design. The videos are available under a Creative Commons license: