An interesting tracking case study…

Earlier this afternoon my colleague Phil Barker led a fascinating Elluminate session exploring resource tracking issues for the JISC / HEA Open Educational Resources Programme. One approach to tracking Phil raised was the use of unique keys or tag combinations which are embedded in resources and then released into the wild. Googling for the unique key will then indicate where your resource has been reused and by whom, more or less.

Now I’m no authority on tracking technologies but this reminded me of a very interesting article I read in the Guardian today How Belle de Jour’s secret ally Googlewhacked the press. This explains how a blogger known as Derren used some astute guesswork and a unique key combination of two terms associated nowhere else on the web to monitor whether anyone else was coming close to guessing the identity of the anonymous call girl Belle de Jour.

At the OER Technical Roundtable at last week’s CETIS Conference one of the actions participants prioritiesd was case studies and examples of different approaches to tracking. I’m not entirely sure that the above is the kind of case study the projects had in mind but it’s a pretty good real world example never the less! Just thought I’d mention it….. ;-)

Phil’s slides from the Elluminate session are available on Slideshare and no doubt there will be blog posts to follow.

CETIS Conference: OER Technical Roundtable

Only four days to go until the CETIS Conference and we’re already starting to draw up a list of issues to explore at the OER Technical Roundtable. The aim of this session is to give OER Projects techies and other interested folk an opportunity to come together to discuss technical issues that they have anticipated, encountered and possibly even resolved.

Issues we expect to turn up include:

  • Metadata, resource description and tagging.
  • Version control – Does it really matter? If so, what can be done about it?
  • Tracking – What? How? Why?
  • Working with different repositories.
  • Aggregating and linking resources distributed across multiple services and applications.
  • Using and managing feeds.
  • Bulk upload.
  • Encoding license information.

The Steeple Project have already raised some additional issues:

  • Subject classification – mapping between proprietary subject classification codes and JACS.
  • Approaches to describing “levels of difficulty” and “intended use”.
  • Consistent CC license description in audio, video and feed metadata.

We want to know what works for you and what doesn’t? What technical problems have you banging your head on the desk in frustration? Or have you discovered an elegant technical solution to a thorny problem that you’re willing to share?

Members of JISC, CETIS and other community experts will be on hand to offer advice and explore potential solutions.

We would welcome more suggestions of issues you’ve encountered so please add your comments here and we’ll add these to the list of topics to discuss.

Conference tag #cetis09
Session tag #cetis09oer