Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Just after the CaRILLO event done and dusted, Jane Secker from LSE and I got confirmation that our bid for a Phase 2 HEA OER project had been accepted!

The aim of our project, DELILA (Developing Educators Learning and Information Literacies
for Accreditation) is to embed digital and information literacy learning material in to HEA accredited teacher training. Here at Birmingham a central unit run our PG Cert HE course and after discussion with the director, we knew that we had a plan to embed our existing IL resources in to the course. The project steering group, made up of staff from both Birmingham and LSE, will be meeting at the end of September in London to discuss the project plan and work schedules.

I'm really excited at being involved and with the prospect of working closely with Jane and her colleagues at LSE.

I will keep the blog up to date with information about the project as we progress. There should also be some further information on the HEA website fairly soon.

CaRILLO event at Birmingham

I've been very slack at updating the blog since last year. It's high time that I posted a few entries on what has been happening in the world of IL RLO sharing.

In August, we held the first CaRILLO (Creating and Re-using Information Literacy Learning Objects) event at the University of Birmingham. This came out of a symposium that I co-ran at LILAC in March 2009. One of the outcomes from the group discussion was that a community of practice was needed to share ideas, expertise and actual resources. Soon after I set up the IL RLO Share wiki at but also set about planning a face to face event at which librarians could meet and discuss ideas.

I contacted the speakers, who all agreed to take part. The scariest moment was putting out the advert on LIS-LINK and LIS-INFOLITERACY, not knowing if anyone would be interested. I needn't have worried as we had sold out the thirty places within five days and had about twenty more librarians wanting to attend.

The event took place on Tuesday 3rd August and the presentations from the day are now available on SlideShare at

A few of the attendees blogged about the event afterwards:

Jane Secker at

Paul Ayres at

We have been asked to organise further events, focussing on creation and sharing of learning objects, so watch this space for further events!

Friday, December 11, 2009

GLO Maker 2.1 released

Hey, repurposing folks! The RLO CETL has just released an upgrade to its GLO Maker software. The new version includes the facility to add hyperlinks to your learning objects.

Download for free here:

They've also set up a wiki for users to share experiences and find out more information:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Staffordshire University workshop on OER, metadata and repositories

Last week my colleague Jill Russell and I travelled to Stoke-on-Trent to run a workshop for the good folk at Staffordshire University on metadata and repositories. I had met one of their librarians, Sarah Hall, at another talk I gave at Staffordshire in April and she contacted me to see if I was interested in talking further about metadata, both as a user and as one sharing materials on the web.

The first half of the workshop focused on the importance of metadata in describing learning resources appropriately (we got the participants into small groups and asked them to come up with questions they would need to ask about a resource to find out if it would be useful for them - basically getting them to come up with the ideal metadata schema).

Jill (who is our institutional repository manager) then took them through our institutional repository, UBIRA (, highlighting metadata fields and how material on the repository is found by Google.

I got to bang on about how crucial rich metadata is in not only finding material but also in contextualising it for the user. It was really exciting (yes, exciting) to see the small groups come up with so many points that I also think are important to ideally include in metadata for learning resources:

  • who is the intended audience
  • are there any specific learning outcomes attached to the material
  • how well does the material work for the intended audience
  • how difficult/easy was it to create
  • tracking of different versions
I also got to use my pistachio/Tesco analogy (see previous post)!

I know the day was all about facilitating discussions amongst another group but I found it to be really interesting and not a little inspiring. The participants were very vocal in a positive way and really engaged with each other and the topic.

I'm now looking forward to another possible talk on designing and sharing educational resources next year (I'll have to wait to see if the abstract is accepted first) but I have come up with yet another terrible analogy that I'm just itching to use...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Google Books and bad metadata

What was I saying earlier about the need for good metadata in order to open up free content? The Times Higher Tweeted today on the Google Books metadata fiasco and ensuing online discussion on linguist and Professor Geoffrey Nunberg's blog. At the end of August he blogged about the millions of metadata errors on Google Books. At first you almost think this is funny but then it dawns on you how much information Google holds and how much trust is invested in them by their billions of users.

One thing that's pointed out on Geoff's blog post is that a crucial thing to remember is that Google Books will likely be 'The Library' in the future. No-one else will repeat the scanning they've done, so we're stuck with Google Books as our one online source for digitised books. This means that they absolutely have to get this right and, more importantly, that they must alert their users to its ongoing limitations.