Open Educational Resources World Map (#OER)
The OER world map is an operational service, which allows to:
- input data through web forms
- display data on a world map with basic functionalities
- fulltext search with several filters (e.g. for geographic area, country, resource type)
This prototype was developed by hbz and Felix Ostrwoski from February to April 2014 with funding by the Hewlett Foundation.
The prototype is mostly based on data from two different sources:
- OpenCourseware Consortium (OCWC) member data: The people at OCWC were very helpful in providing us with and explaining the OCWC member data. The data was obtained via an API, see GitHub issue #3 for details.
- Global list of OER initiatives from UNESCO`s WSIS Knowledge Communities: This data can be downloaded (after registering and logging in) as – rather hard to process – comma-seperated values (CSV) at http://www.wsis-community.org/pg/directory/export/672996.
Along with this data collected from pre-existing sources, there is also some manually added data.
At the end of the project, the data set the prototype is based on includes information on
- 398 organisations,
- 254 persons,
- 321 services,
- 31 projects.
As we are working with linked data, it was clear that internally and for providing the data we would use the Resource Description Framework (RDF). To represent data based on this data model we could almost entirely resort to the schema.org vocabulary which has the advantage that the OER data will also be indexed by search engines like Google and Bing. Only three RDF properties and one class had to be taken from other vocabularies. RDF is very flexible and can be extended very easily. For example we decided at an early stage of the project to include information on services (e.g. OER repositories, search interfaces) in the data. This seemed to make sense as services (e.g. repositories) play a vital role for the OER community and as the world map should be of help in discovering open educational resources. Further extensions and other adjustments will probably turn out necessary within the next phase of the project.
More information on the data model, check here.
The concept of an application profile comes from the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI). In short, an application profile is a set of metadata elements, policies, and guidelines defined for a particular application.
The application profile allows us to have configuration of the Drupal editing and presentation environment and future API validation in one central place. In order to configure the API validation and web site, changes have to be included into the application profile – all connected forms and presentation sites will automatically change accordingly. The AP is maintained on GitHub and enables relatively easy maintainance of the data presentation and validation without having to directly interact with the front end or API developer. (The application profile, in other words, is the means of unambiguous communication between a metadata expert and the developers). This feature accelerates and cheapens the further development of the OER world map.