Integrated Access Council
January 24, 2005
SML Room 409
Present: Dale Askey, Katie Bauer, Matthew Beacom, Meg Bellinger, Dan Chudnov, Carol DeNatale, Ann Green, Katherine Haskins, Julie Linden, Fred Martz, Jack Meyers, Kim Parker, Bobbie Pilette, Tom Saul, Kalee Sprague, David Stern, Rich Szary
Absent: Kenny Marone, Joan Swanekamp, Frank Turner
Guests: Chuck Powell, Jeff Barnett, Judy Spak, Jim McKay
Meg began the meeting by introducing Judy Spak from Medical and Jim McKay from Nursing. She also thanked Chuck Powell for his willingness to give an overview of Sakai. She continued by saying that we will be talking about Sakai in many contexts. Then we will hear from five people and how their projects can relate to Sakai. In the future we will have a whole session devoted to these projects.
Chuck started his power point presentation by stating that Sakai is a community source project in connection with a collaboration and learning environment. He said that Yale is currently working on two related initiatives. One is a Teaching and Learning Portal. The other is an implementation of Sakai which will be a replacement for the classes.yale.edu application that is in use now for course materials. ITS started developing classes.yale.edu in 1996. About 19 months ago the Sakai project was introduced. With the current system there is no capability for research groups and others that have no course to use classes.yale.edu.
Four peer institutions are already using Sakai: Indiana, Michigan, MIT, and Stanford. Most of the Ivies+ are getting away from building and using their own systems but want to use an open source option. In the next two years Harvard will be the only one continuing their in-house system. The Sakai Educational Partners Program has over 60 members including community colleges and European institutions. As to why use Sakai – a lot of integration work is needed for other systems (for example Yale’s shopping period). Sakai already has integrated tools we need. Sakai is a 2-year project that runs out in May of this year when Sakai 2.0 is released. We are currently beta testing 7 courses with 11 faculty members and 100 students. Three of these courses are language courses. In Sakai, chat sessions can use foreign language characters.
For classes.yale.edu the adoption rate is astronomical. 90% of all courses are using it in some capacity. Many faculty are only putting their syllabi on. Benefits for going to Sakai are as follows: establish an architecture for the future, improve course development tools for faculty, support wider adoption and richer usage by faculty, reuse content across courses & schools, eliminate the need to migrate (reformat) content, expand content availability, and integration with other systems.
Kim asked what aspects of Orbis will be shown. Chuck replied that they do not know at this moment. Meg asked if there are any library links in classes.yale.edu. Chuck replied that classes.yale.edu is relatively simple with only 5 buttons. Chuck showed a slide illustrating how people currently use online information at Yale. The bottom section was what he called enterprise resources (HR Records, Banner Data, Directory Info, and Library Resources). The hope is that a portal concept will develop and simplify the connections among the enterprise resources
Chuck then did a short demonstration of Sakai. The tabs at the top of the page can be course based or other. One can link to other live web pages and can also list notes, assignments, readings, and keep track of who has turned what in. There is also an email archive. This is all live so it is relatively quick. You can also embed RSS feeds if you want. Dan asked if there is a reference ready list that is complex in metadata. Chuck replied no – only simple. Kim said she is more curious about the behind the scenes. What kind of things can we build into it? How do we build a link to say Ebsco? Chuck said that you can add a quick link in the help guide, contact support forum, or create a new tab (listing resources). David said there are 2 ways of putting lists of articles on, via web page and a tab. Will Sakai allow both? Chuck replied that he is not certain at this time. They want to allow faculty to do it their way. Thy will have many different help pages. If the faculty member already has a web page they can just embed it in Sakai and link to it. If they are more flexible they can use Sakai’s built in feature. Chuck said they don’t want to force the faculty to do it a certain way.
Meg asked about the plans for rolling out Sakai, the support of classes.yale.edu after the roll out, and when Sakai would support the Library. Chuck said that currently there are 7 courses using Sakai, but that this fall there will be hundreds making use of Sakai. They are waiting on space right now. They are hoping to look at embedding as quickly as they can. It will be 6 to 9 months to work on this. They are waiting on the Sakai distribution to settle. Typically they deliver in 2 to 4 weeks. The Sakai developers are rebuilding all of their background plumbing. He said it would be at least 2 years to move everyone off of classes.yale.edu. Meg commented that it is to our benefit to build on Sakai to attract faculty. David said that one beauty of this is that faculty can keep and use what they already have.
Dale asked about the use of Sakai for non-course material. Chuck said that it is at no or low cost. They can give access to shared committee space, for instance. They don’t have space right now to do this. They need developers to do this. In 6 to 9 months they will know the answer or be doing it. Dale asked about student space. Chuck replied that too much demand may sink it. Kalee asked if they were going to pre-populate all of the courses in the fall so that it would be easy to join. Chuck said they are already working on this. Ann said that right now they save the course materials at the end of each semester. Chuck said that tabs can be put into an off-line status and materials can be archived for reuse if needed. Ann asked if this was folder based. It is XML wrapped around the bundles (resources) at the item level.
Meg said that as we look at Sakai and the Library usage we are also looking at development activity.
2. Portal Opportunities Group and Sakai – Kalee Sprague
Kalee said that the Portal Opportunities Group is identifying ways to push library resources out to external users. Types of services that they are looking at include meta searching – perhaps using x server from MetaLib, reference tools such as AskLive, and pulling information from the online catalog – a live portal channel with user information. Chuck said that UPortal and Sakai will always be linked in development. Kalee said ideally this will happen. The list of course reserves can be put on UPortal. They have a list of 20 possible services. Meg said there is more information regarding this on the IAC web page. Kalee said she will be giving a report at the end of 6 months.
3. Unalog/Library Groupware and Sakai – Dan Chudnov & Jeff Barnett
Dan started by saying that Sakai is the large model and that their project, links.med, is the smaller project. With links.med people can move in and out of links. They are looking at how not to force people to always go back to one place, but how to simply move around. Links.med allows people to create links that can be shared with the community at large. You can also create groups of people who share links. He is keen on moving Open URLs in and out. It shows who else is looking at the links. This is a cheap way to share information about what people are working on. There is a formal project to make links work in Sakai. Jeff said that the orange boxes (e.g. RSS) allow the link information to be exported into other systems. Dan said you can move a more robust representation of information, groups, and post talk analysis to Sakai. Meg said we will spend more time on this at a future meeting. Links.med is supported by the Library, ITS, and the Medical Library.
4. CMS and Repositories – Ann Green
Ann spoke of the peer institutions and local user needs studies for a digital repository at Yale. Other institutions have developed repositories with a range of objectives including: the gathering of intellectual output from teaching and research, serving as a preservation archive, and explicitly being created for electronic publishing in an open access mode. There is a different mix of these models and how they are implemented among different universities. Challenges include content integration and ingest from learning management systems. Both of these systems (course management systems and digital repositories) have to develop and use standards and best practices for interoperability. Ann referred to an article by Dale Flecker and Neal McLean titled “Digital Library Content and Course Management Systems. Issues of Interoperation” (See http://www.diglib.org/pubs/cmsdl0407/cmsdl0407.htm) In regard to both learning management and repository development, we need to understand what functions and capabilities matter most to faculty and students. Another major challenge is managing the diverse set of objects that faculty use in research and teaching (images, datasets, texts, databases, multimedia productions, websites, etc). There was no time left to talk further about interconnections.