STELLAR (Semantic Technologies Enhancing the Lifecycle of Learning Resources): Jisc Final Report

Brown, Sarah and Nurse, Richard (2013). STELLAR (Semantic Technologies Enhancing the Lifecycle of Learning Resources): Jisc Final Report. Jisc.


[Project Summary]

As one of the earliest distance learning providers The Open University (OU) has a rich heritage of archived learning materials. An ever increasing amount of that is in digital form and is being deposited with the University Archive. This growth has been driven by digitisation activity from projects such as AVA (Access to Video Assets) and the Fedora-based Open University Digital Library ‘a place to discover digital and digitised archival content from the OU Library, from videos and images to digitised documents’. Other digital content is being captured from web archiving activities, such as work to preserve Moodle Virtual Learning Environment course websites. An evidence based understanding is required to inform digital preservation policies, curation strategy and investment in digital library development.

Following the Pre-enhancement, Enhancement and Post-enhancement methodology set out by Jisc, STELLAR adopted the model of a balanced scorecard to ascertain the value ascribed to the non-current learning materials. Four aspects were considered: Personal and professional perspectives of value; Value to the Higher Educational and academic communities; Value to internal processes and cultures; Financial perspectives of value. The outcomes of the survey indicated that stakeholders place a high value on the materials, and that they perceived them to have value in all areas evaluated.

Three OU courses were chosen from the digital library for the transformation stage. These materials were enhanced and transformed into RDF, a process that required more extensive metadata expertise and effort than was expected. Following enhancement the RDF was accessed through a tool called DiscOU, created by a member of the project team from the OU’s Knowledge Media Institute. DiscOU uses both linked data and a semantic meaning engine to analyse the meaning of the text in a search query. This is matched against the meaning of the content derived from an index of the full-text of the digital library content.

In the final stage stakeholders were asked through a survey and series of workshops to use the DiscOU proof-of-concept tool to assess their perception of the value of this transformation. This has revealed that overall, academics and other stakeholders in the university do believe that the value of the selected materials was positively impacted by the application of semantic technologies.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions