I have been compiling a directory of how people can get at the resources released by the UKOER pilot phase projects: that is the websites for human users and the “interoperability end points” for machines–ie the RSS and ATOM feed URLs, SRU targets, OAI-PMH base URLs and API documentation. This wasn’t nearly as easy as it should have been: I would have hoped that just listing the main URL for each project would have been enough for anyone to get at the resources they wanted or the interoperability end point in a click or two, but that often wasn’t the case.
So here are some questions I would like OER providers to answer by way of self assessment, which will hopefully simplify this in the future.
Does your project website have a very prominent link to where the OERs you have released may be found?
The technical requirements for phase 1 for delivery platforms said:
Projects are free to use any system or application as long as it is capable of delivering content freely on the open web. … In addition projects should use platforms that are capable of generating RSS/Atom feeds, particularly for collections of resources
So: what RSS feeds do you provide for collections of resources and where do you describe these? Have you thought about how many items you have in each feed and how well described they are?
Are your RSS feed URLs and other interoperability endpoints easy to find?
Do your interoperability end points work? I mean, have you tested them? Have you spoken to people who might use them?
While you’re thinking about interoperability end points: have you ever thought of your URI scheme as one? If for example you have a coherent scheme that puts all your OERs under a base URI, and better, provides URIs with some easily identifiable pattern for those OERs that form some coherent collection, then building simple applications such as Google Custom Search Engines becomes a whole lot easier. A good example is how MIT OCW is arranged:
all most of the URIs have a pattern http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/[department]/[courseName]/[resourceType]/[filename].[ext] (the exceptions are things like video recordings where the actual media file is held elsewhere).