The OneShare project will consolidate the work of the EdShare and Faroes projects, using the EdShare Southampton and Language Box as exemplars to develop a deposit once methodology, in the form of an architectural model for loose coupling between community and institutional repositories, and between institutional repositories and Virtual Learning Environments. The project will also engage with the existing community and institutional users in order to understand their behaviour and attitudes, so that the architecture and software can be shaped appropriately and institutional policies can be formed.
The objective is to improve the integration of systems at an institutional level and provide software and guidance for others that will have a UK and global impact.
HEFCE, through JISC and the HEA have made clear that they wish to drive forward an open content initiative, but doubts and worries amongst academics ‘on the ground’ remain. While our experience gained from several projects connected to sharing materials (L20, Claret, MURLLO, Faroes, EdShare) suggests enthusiasm for the concept of shared repositories and a general willingness amongst teachers to share resources, some reticence and concern have become evident as the challenge of populating repositories gains momentum. Academics appear to be hesitating to embrace the concept in practice. We believe that there are underlying issues of trust and confidence that need further exploration. In the OneShare project we will investigate how we can build confidence within community groups to share their content, and explore how people are prepared to work collaboratively towards the creation of online learning materials.
Some of the issues that OneShare aims to understand are:
Southampton has successfully established EdShare as its institutional repository, and since its launch in late Autumn 2008 there have been over 1600 deposits made from across the University. This is an excellent start, we now wish to improve integration into the Universities processes, and there is some replication with how other systems, such as Blackboard, are used.
The OneShare project will continue to promote the full range of EdShare benefits across the institution as well as supporting groups in adding content and understanding how deposits can best be integrated in their work flows and processes. There are opportunities for embedding the repository in strategic planning with the new financial planning round and integrating further with institutional IT infrastructure services. The project will also work to place the repository within the context of the emergent, institutional Educational Strategy 2010-2015.
In particular the project aims to:
Part of this work will be to embed institutional repository functionality within the VLE so that depositing becomes part of normal course management. This will also make open content (an optional part) of the normal workflow, so that it is easy for staff to share their resources under a number of clear creative commons licenses
Integration of community and institutional repositories is equally important, as it is critical for the sustainability of both. Institutional repositories need to be part of an inter-institutional effort in order to reach critical mass – particularly for Web 2.0 style sharing and remixing. On the other hand community repositories need institutions behind them to support their running costs and to promote their use with staff.
We propose a solution based on a cloud-computing architecture, where community-repositories are application views on the institutional repositories that have been integrated with a VLE. The aim is that these technical and policy connections will support a deposit once methodology, where resources managed in a VLE become shared in an institutional repository, and aggregated up to relevant community repositories. We will learn from existing approaches such as MR-CUTE, and reuse standards such as SWORD as appropriate.
Items deposited through the community repository or the VLE would be stored in the institutional repository layer, which remains visible in the VLE and community repository. In this way visitors to the community site will seamlessly search across multiple institutions, users of the VLE can contribute to the community without having to change their working practices, and students can find related materials in the repository from within the VLE.
The OneShare project will produce two major technological deliverables: