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...