18 July 2007

DSpace gets a foundation too

HP and MIT Create Non-profit Organization to Support Growing Community of DSpace Users
HP (NYSE:HPQ) and the MIT Libraries today announced the formation of the DSpace Foundation, a non-profit organization that will provide support to the growing community of institutions that use DSpace, an open source software solution for accessing, managing and preserving scholarly works in a digital archive.

17 July 2007

Standards: a lot of useful information from JISC!

The JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee), based in the UK, has a great Standards Catalogue. The information has been collated by UKOLN (Brian Kelly). This kind of resource is, for me, very valuable. Otherwise I would have been surfing the net endlessly.
The information is not restricted to purely 'open' standards, which (at this moment in time, that is) is understandable. The information is also not restricted to e-learning standards, but also standards in the field of text editing or images. Sometimes you need to be a little pragmatic. All standards are documented in the same way (based on a template). What is very nice that there are headings like "Risk Asessment" and "Take-up Elsewhere" for every entry. The approach of JISC with regard to standards is also explained.
I found a wiki, which is the working area, where 'everyone' can edit. And there is a website, that holds more permanent (and pertinent?) information. Go find out for yourself what you think!
Some standards that you will find explained:
  1. Binary text documents, such as DOC, RTF, ODF, or PDF
  2. Image standards: for example SVG, TIFF or PNG
  3. Examples of multimedia standards: ACC, MP3, ASF
  4. Metadata: DIDL, RDF, RSS
  5. E-learning standards: Learning Design, Content Packaging, IMS Enterprise, QTI

01 July 2007

Have you read this thoroughly?

Going into the summer I just want to point my readers (who are you, anyway!) to a very interesting article that I recently reread.
It is a very good interview of Christina Smart (JISC) with Patrick Masson. Patrick Masson is the former Director of Technology for the SUNY Learning Network. He talks extensively, and very honestly (!), about what happened when they tried to implement a Service Oriented Architecture at the State University of New York, an institution with 64 campuses, 30,000 faculty and 414,000 students.
I will leave you with some quotes from this interview, that you read as a sort of summary. About what the original vision was: "(..) we decided to move away from tool development – because that was already happening in lots of different places, the SLN 2.0 strategy was about providing a framework for those tools to plug in to. (..) We also wanted to take on a versionless approach with our development. (..) This would allow us to introduce new features incrementally. "
The SLN (SUNY Learning Network) 2.0 strategy went wrong because of this vision of moving away from tools and products. Read this: "(..) the administration didn’t like the SLN 2.0 strategy because it couldn't be easily communicated as an “out-of-the-box” solution, you had to understand then educate the users about new concepts like SOA, loose-coupling, data hubs, service buses and message brokers. We ran into the “Build vs. Buy” argument and fears over open source. We lost our support from senior management."
So, senior management was key here, as always :-). Read this last quote: "(..)At the high level people still don’t get it. How many senior managers in charge of technology on campus have a technical background? They might be procurement officers that are put in place to control the costs of technology and find single solution systems for the lowest price. Or maybe they are faculty and they are now responsible for e-learning and IT – how many information technologists are now Chief Information Officers? Not many. And where does the CIO fit in the overall management of a campus? Fundamentally there is a conflict between where we (the developers) are and where the decision makers are."
As I said: highly recommended reading! Patrick also has some things to say about creative students and teacher who already have abandoned, to a certain extent, the central LMS of their institution because it just doesn't do what they want!