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Ariadne presents a brief summary of news and events.

Table of Contents 
  1. Hyper Clumps, Mini Clumps and National Catalogues...
  2. Workshops and online resources from TASI (Technical Advisory Service for Images)
  3. New online resources
  4. Rediscovering Ceramics and Glass at the Museum of London: Thursday 18 November 2004
  5. Event Information
  6. The Workshop:
  7. Association for History and Computing and The Royal Historical Society:'Recasting the Past: Digital Histories'
  8. BECTA Expert Technology Seminars
  9. Beyond Personalisation 2005
  10. Workshop Topics and Goals
  11. Intended Audience
  12. Important Dates
  13. Latest News on Museums & Galleries Month 2005:Building on Success with Objects of Desire: The Art of Collecting
  14. ECDL European Conference on Digital Libraries CALL FOR PAPERS
  15. Introduction:
  16. Important dates:
  17. Topics:
  18. AHDS announces launch of a new case study on digital rights management
  19. OpenURL Standard Adds Greater Functionality and Interoperability to Collection Manager
  20. Early English Books Online
  21. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Networked E-Learning - A Beginner's Guide for Content Developers
  22. JISC and The Academic Library announce changes to their agreement for The Academic Library's ebooks collections.
  23. New X4L Programme Video Demonstration Available
  24. JORUM Names Successful Bidder
  25. West Midlands local authorities combine efforts to develop region-wide knowledge management tool: 270,000 public sector staff to benefit from £650k project
  26. Technical Details
  27. Demo disk
  28. Conference and KEN 'go live' date
  29. Streaming Goes Mainstream
  30. Curriculum Online - Getting your cultural content online
  31. URCHIN
  32. RDN Welcomes New Director

Hyper Clumps, Mini Clumps and National Catalogues...

The JISC-funded CC-interop Project completed its work during 2004 and now is holding an event to disseminate the key findings of the project. The project built on the work of the successful eLib Phase 3 "Clumps" projects and investigated three broad areas to inform about interoperability between physical and distributed union catalogues. Find out about:

  • how distributed and large physical union catalogues can interact, including the building of a distributed catalogue capable of accepting remote Z39.50 searches from COPAC
  • how to identify collections in the resource landscape and about current and future indexing & cataloguing practices
  • how users behave when searching large union catalogues, both physical and distributed

This one-day conference will take place at the British Library Conference Centre on Thursday 11 November 2004.
Attendance at this event will cost £125 which includes all sessions, refreshments and lunch.

Information on the Conference Programme, the venue and booking arrangements is available.

[Received: August 2004]
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Workshops and online resources from TASI (Technical Advisory Service for Images)

http://www.tasi.ac.uk/training/traintasiing.html

Putting your images online - Thursday 11 November 2004 - Bristol

Takes participants through the whole process of getting images online, from capturing them to using them within presentations and on Web sites. Ideal for teachers/lecturers who want to produce high-quality resources with a minimum of fuss.

Finding and using images for learning and teaching

Friday 12 November 2004 - Bristol

Sets out strategies for locating good quality images and using them effectively within teaching; topics include the role of images in learning and how copyright affects their use.

Both workshops are small and hands-on. Full details and booking information is available on the TASI Web site at: http://www.tasi.ac.uk/training/

New online resources

TASI has just released ten new resources on using images in teaching resources, available from: http://www.tasi.ac.uk/advice/using/using.html

Topics range from capturing and sourcing images to using them in print, Powerpoint or on the Web. These short papers are aimed at those new to the subject and include PDF versions designed to be printed on two sides of A4.

We have also just updated our guide to Image Editing Software: http://www.tasi.ac.uk/advice/creating/imgedsw.html

TASI is a national service supporting those in FE and HE. In addition to training it offers a free helpdesk and an extensive Web site at http://www.tasi.ac.uk/

[Received: August 2004]
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Rediscovering Ceramics and Glass at the Museum of London: Thursday 18 November 2004

Rediscovering Ceramics and Glass at the Museum of London Mortimer Wheeler House, Museum of London, Eagle Wharf Road, Hackney.

In 2001 the Museum of London moved their ceramics and glass collection (over 25,000 items) from the main Museum site at London Wall to their stores at Mortimer Wheeler House in Hackney. During 2003-2004, with the help of a grant from the MLA Designation Challenge Fund, the Museum was able successfully to re-house and digitise this internationally important collection and make the results available on a new Web site:
(http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/ceramics/).

The collection can now be viewed in custom-built storage cabinets with clear fronts to allow good visibility, with some items in drawers and larger items in open storage. An information zone provides online access to the catalogue as well as literature relevant to the collection. The collection is available to researchers by appointment.

Information on other ceramics and glass collections held by non-national museums in the London area will be added to the Web site in November, following a recent survey.

To mark the end of this important project, the Museum of London invite you to a seminar at Mortimer Wheeler House on Thursday 18 November, 2004 (11am - 5pm). Here, delegates will have a chance to view the new storage facilities, hear about the collections, their move to the new store as well as the digitisation process and Web site.

Supported by the MLA Designation Challenge Fund, the day will be free to all delegates. A buffet lunch will be provided.

For a timetable of the seminar and to book a place please email: abromley@museumoflondon.org.uk by 8 November 2004.

[Received: October 2004]
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Registration is open for the SPARC / SPARC Europe Workshop Institutional Repositories: The Next Stage, Washington, D.C., 18-19 November 2004. Members of SPARC Europe receive a discount on the registration fee. See http://db.arl.org/ir2004/reg/ for details. This conference is sponsored by JISC.

Event Information

The Workshop:

SPARC and SPARC Europe present a two-day workshop packed with sessions that will help you gain an understanding of strategies critical to implementing and managing the successful long-term growth of your Institutional Repository (IR). Experienced leaders and supporting players in the IR field will describe practices applicable to a variety of technology platforms. A special focus will be on tactics for working with faculty and researchers to make IRs a success.

For further information see: http://db.arl.org/ir2004/reg/

A print version of the IR Workshop Program with full information about the planned sessions is also available. [PDF] http://www.arl.org/sparc/meetings/docs/SPARC_IRWorkshop_Flier.pdf

[Received: August 2004]
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Association for History and Computing and The Royal Historical Society:
'Recasting the Past: Digital Histories'

One-day conference, 27 November 2004 at The National Archives, Kew, London.

'Digital Histories: Recasting the Past' examines the impact of digital information on how history is researched, taught and presented as well as how digital resources for history are selected, created and accessed.

There will be 20 presentations from historians, archivists, information scholars and post-graduate students from the UK and abroad. Full details of the conference programme, abstracts and registration information can be found on the conference Web site at:
http://www.ahc.ac.uk/confweb/index.htm

The cost, including refreshments and lunch, is £40.

[Received: October 2004]
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BECTA Expert Technology Seminars

Becta is pleased to announce the next series of one-day Expert Technology Seminars which will commence in autumn 2004 and run through to March 2005. This continues a series of Expert Technology Seminars organised by the Technical Research team of Becta since July 2000.

The dates and themes of these free seminars are as follows:

  • Thursday, 9 December 2004 - e-Assessment - NCSL Conference Centre, Nottingham
  • Wednesday, 26 January 2005 - Content Creation and Management - British Library, London
  • Thursday, 17 March 2005 - Network Infrastructures - location tbc

For further information on these seminars, including registration details, go to Forthcoming events: http://www.becta.org.uk/etseminars/forthcoming.cfm

Who should attend?

  • LEA ICT support staff
  • National and regional organisations involved in advising, delivering or procuring ICT services for schools and colleges
  • Central and local government representatives
  • Government agencies
  • Established educational ICT suppliers and companies wanting to know more about the UK education market

Agendas and details of speakers will be published approximately three weeks before each seminar.

An archive of presentations from previous seminars is available.: http://www.becta.org.uk/corporate/corporate.cfm?section=7_1&id=2608

[Received: September 2004]
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Beyond Personalisation 2005

Workshop on the Next Stage of Recommender Systems Research - Call for Papers

http://www.cs.umn.edu/Research/GroupLens/beyond2005/

In conjunction with the 2005 International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI 2005), San Diego, California, USA, 9-12January , 2005.

http://www.iuiconf.org

Workshop Topics and Goals

This workshop intends to bring recommender systems researchers and practitioners together in order to discuss the current state of recommender systems research, both on existing and emerging research topics, and to determine how research in this area should proceed This workshop will focus on the following four main topics:

1. Understanding and trusting recommender systems
Do users understand and trust the recommendations they receive from recommender systems, what kinds of information do recommenders need to provide to users to build trust, and how difficult is it to regain trust in a recommender if it is lost?

2. User interfaces for recommender systems
What are good ways to present recommendations to users, how do you integrate recommenders into the displays of existing information systems, and how can interfaces encourage users to provide ratings in order to 'close the loop' for recommendations, that is, how can you get users to consume the items recommended and then tell the system how good the recommendations are?

3. The future of recommendation algorithms and their metrics
How can we generate better individual and group recommendations, develop new metrics and evaluation criteria for recommendations, and achieve cross-domain recommendations?

4. Social consequences and opportunities of recommender systems
How do individuals and groups of people respond to recommendations, how can recommendations be integrated with online and real world communities, and in what ways do recommendations affect social organisations?

Intended Audience

The workshop is intended for both established researchers and practioners in the domain of recommender systems as well as for new researchers and students with interesting ideas on recommender systems and their future. Participants do not have to come from a specific application domain, as long as their research or ideas are on one of the main topics of the workshop.

Important Dates

8 Nov 2004: Paper Submission Deadline
28 Nov 2004: Paper Acceptance Notification
6 Dec 2004: Camera-ready Copies Due (and last day of Early Registration for IUI 2005)
10 Dec 2004: Papers Available from Web site
9 Jan 2005: Workshop at IUI 2005

[Received: September 2004]
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Latest News on Museums & Galleries Month 2005:
Building on Success with Objects of Desire: The Art of Collecting

Museums and Galleries Month will take place from 1 to 31 May 2005.  Over a thousand museums and galleries around the UK will take part in this countrywide promotion.

Building on 2004, MGM2005 has an multi-faceted theme and a programme of national and regional events are now in the planning stage.  Museums and galleries are also developing events and activities around the theme. Virginia Tandy, Director of Manchester City Galleries, joins Loyd Grossman, as Co-Chairman of MGM 2005.

Collecting and collections are major issues for museums and galleries and the theme also aims to stimulate debate and interest in individual objects, private and public collections and collecting for the future.

Museums and Galleries Month 2004 was a great success with new regional events in bringing thousands of visitors to museums and galleries.  There was increased promotion, thanks to sponsorship from Eurostar, and greatly increased media coverage.  Web coverage on the 24 Hour Museum was also hugely important.  The full report of MGM2004 is now on the website http://www.mgm.org.uk.

Museums and Galleries Month receives funding from MLA (Museums Libraries and Archives Council), Arts Council England and others.

Further information: http://www.mgm.org.uk and http://www.may2005.org.uk

[Received: October 2004]
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ECDL European Conference on Digital Libraries CALL FOR PAPERS

(http://www.ecdl2005.org )
18-23 September 2005, Vienna, Austria

Introduction:

ECDL 2005 is the 9th conference in the series of European Digital Library conferences. ECDL has become the major European conference on digital libraries, and associated technical, practical, and social issues, bringing together researchers, developers, content providers and users in the field. ECDL 2005 is jointly organised by the Vienna University of Technology (VUT), the Austrian National Library (ÖNB), and the Austrian Computer Society (OCG). The conference will take place in the Vienna Technical University.

Important dates:

Workshop Proposal Deadline: 28 January
Workshop Acceptance Notification: 27 February
Paper/Tutorial/Panel submission Deadline: 1 March
Acceptance Notifications: 15 May
Final version of Papers: 3 June
Conference: 18-23 September

Topics:

Topics of contributions include (but are not limited to):

- Concepts of Digital Libraries and Digital Documents
- System Architectures, Integration and Interoperability
- Information Organisation, Search and Usage
- User Studies and System Evaluation
- Digital Preservation
- Digital Library Applications

[Received: October 2004]
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AHDS announces launch of a new case study on digital rights management

http://ahds.ac.uk/creating/case-studies/protecting-rights/

This case study examines the AHDS's rights management framework through the perspective of a digitisation project. It begins by discussing the methods by which material can be licensed for distribution on the Internet, and the implications of making such material available for use online. It examines the terms and conditions that users are required to accept in using AHDS collections, and it gives a practical example of how the rights of depositors have been protected. It provides an exemplar action plan that rights managers may find useful in protecting copyrights that have been entrusted to them. It concludes by arguing that clarity over rights and responsibilities is as important in the protection of digital assets as authentication or authorisation.

This case study will be relevant to many parties, including those charged with creating digital resources, those who use digital resources, and those who publish resources through the Internet.

Alastair Dunning
Arts and Humanities Data Service
King's College London
0207 848 1972

[Received: October 2004]
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OpenURL Standard Adds Greater Functionality and Interoperability to Collection Manager

Blackwell's Book Services has implemented the OpenURL standard, a protocol for linking from one information resource to another via a library link resolver, in its Collection Manager™ system.

With the OpenURL standard in place, libraries can seamlessly connect to a variety of online resources, such as WorldCat, book review databases, Blackwell's Online Bookshop, or the library's own ILL service simply by designating or identifying the libraries link resolver in their Collection Manager preferences. This allows acquisitions staff to make more informed buying and collection development decisions, easily integrated into their local acquisitions workflow at the point of order. Linking from Collection Manager to a union catalogue without a link resolver is also supported in some cases depending on the URL structure of the union catalogue.

Blackwell's joins a number of leading library suppliers in adopting the Open URL standard. Hundreds of library databases now support the OpenURL standard and more than a thousand institutions use link resolvers, greatly benefiting library staff and patrons by expanding the number of resources available to them.

Blackwell's Books Services headquarters are located in Lake Oswego, Oregon, USA with offices in Oxford, England, Sydney, Australia, and Blackwood, New Jersey, USA.

[Received: October 2004]
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Early English Books Online

Early English Books Online, is introducing lecturers, students and researchers to the full possibilities of online resources. It makes available online more than 125,000 titles, in digital page format, published between 1473 and 1700, starting with the earliest printed works in the English language. A major launch event to be held next month at the British Library will, in addition, introduce a new project - the Text Creation Partnership (TCP) - to lecturers, researchers and librarians which will see the conversion of 20% of this vast resource to fully searchable text. In addition, academics will be able to suggest which texts should be included in those being made fully searchable.

On the JISC Web site, guest journalist Pat Leon, reports on this extraordinary resource, as well as this TCP project which will enhance it still further.

To access the article, please go to: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=news_eebo

 

[Received: September 2004]
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Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Networked E-Learning - A Beginner's Guide for Content Developers


As part of its work on the JISC-funded X4L Programme, the L2L Project (http://www.stir.ac.uk/departments/daice/l2l/) was involved in tackling IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) in the context of reusable learning materials and learning objects.

One outcome of this work is a practical guide to help developers and academics to deal with IPR in e-learning content development. This has been published by the JISC Legal Information Service in Web and RTF formats and can be found at this site:
http://www.jisclegal.ac.uk/publications/johncasey_1.htm

Description of the Guide: This guide aims to provide a user-friendly introduction to IPR issues for e-learning content developers and managers. It is intended to act as a point of entry to the field of IPR in e-learning that will provide a good foundation for building expertise in the e-learning developer community. It deals with the basic aspects of IPR, especially copyright, in e-learning content development, with an emphasis on reusing third party materials to create new resources. The guide has been written by an e-learning content developer who has had to deal with these issues in practice. The style of the guide is practical and approachable with many useful tips and observations but it also provides a sketch of the wider issues. It also provides flow diagrams, templates, case studies and further sources of information and guidance

[Received: October 2004]
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JISC and The Academic Library announce changes to their agreement for The Academic Library's ebooks collections.

New Collections
Institutions can now subscribe to titles from the United Nations University Press via The Academic Library. These titles cover a wide range of subjects from Humanitarian Intervention and Crisis Management to the Environment, Economic Development and Global Governance. For further information on the titles available in this collection please see: http://www.theacademiclibrary.com/libraries.asp.

New Subscription Options
JISC and The Academic Library have also added a new Pick and Mix option allowing institutions to subscribe to twenty titles from any of the collections. Institutions will continue to receive unlimited concurrent access to all of the titles they subscribe to. For further information on pricing please see
http://www.jisc.ac.uk/coll_academiclib.html

Free access to Classics in Political Economy
All subscribers will now be offered free access to the Classics in Political Economy collection for the remainder of year one of this JISC agreement which ends on 28 February 2005

Classics in Political Economy includes key works by Smith, Marx, Ricardo, Engels, Mill and Gramsci. For a full list of the titles available please see: http://www.theacademiclibrary.com/libraries.asp.

The Academic Library interface allows subscribers to search across the full text of all the titles their institution subscribes to. This allows users to examine complex content in great depth both quickly and easily. The Academic Library also organises in-depth training sessions for all subscribing institutions to help them get the most out of ebooks.

For further details on The Academic Library please contact Liam Earney (L.Earney@jisc.ac.uk) or to apply for a free trial, please contact trial_access@jisc.ac.uk.

[Received: August 2004]
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New X4L Programme Video Demonstration Available

A new video demonstration showing how to use current versions of Intralibrary and RELOAD to build and package learning materials is now available.

The video demonstration can be found on the X4L pages of the JISC Web site at
http://www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=programme_x4l. Just click on the link near the top of the page.

[Received: October 2004]
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JORUM Names Successful Bidder

The JORUM procurement process for the purchase, installation, development and support of an online repository system for learning and teaching materials has now been completed. The contract has been awarded to Intrallect (http://www.intrallect.com/) for their 'intraLibrary Learning-Object Management System'. The contract was awarded on 24 August 2004 following a European Union procurement process that began in February 2004. Eight vendors were short-listed to tender from seventeen that submitted pre-qualification questionnaires. JISC and the two national data centres offered the contract to Intrallect who tendered a very strong bid and were able to demonstrate a robust and flexible standards-based repository system.

The JORUM team will be working with Intrallect to launch the JORUM service for the whole of UK Higher and Further Education from August 2005. The JORUM service will form a key part of the JISC Information Environment. The JORUM service technical infrastructure, support and outreach services will be fully supported by the two national data centres, EDINA at the University of Edinburgh (http://edina.ac.uk/) and MIMAS at the University of Manchester (http://www.mimas.ac.uk/).

The set-up and launch project that will lead JORUM into service from August 2005 has now started. Customisation of the system to meet the user community's requirements will commence shortly, after which the migration of existing JISC project output content, collated content from other sources and content from early adopters will be submitted to the system.

Further information regarding JORUM can be located at http://www.jorum.ac.uk

Email: adrian.stevenson@man.ac.uk
MIMAS: http://www.mimas.ac.uk
JORUM: http://www.jorum.ac.uk

[Received: September 2004]
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West Midlands local authorities combine efforts to develop region-wide knowledge management tool: 270,000 public sector staff to benefit from £650k project

A new information management system, and the first online public sector knowledge-sharing infrastructure of such a scale in Europe, is going live on 12 November 2004.

38 local authorities in the West Midlands have collaborated to develop the new system, known as 'the Knowledge Engine' or 'KEN'. The Web-based tool and one-stop information portal will allow 270,000 local government staff across the region to share their knowledge and experiences.

The development was funded with £400,000 awarded to The West Midlands Telematics Group from the ODPM's Local Government Online Modernisation Fund. A further £250,000 was allocated to the West Midlands Local Government Association (WMLGA) from the European Regional Development Fund's (ERDF) Innovative Actions campaign, administered by the Regional Development Agency. This means there will be no subscription or technical cost to local authorities.

Technical Details

KEN includes a suite of Web-based collaboration tools from Lotus - Sametime and Quickplace - to create virtual meeting places for up to 16,000 people simultaneously. These include structured instant discussion facilities, online whiteboards and document sharing workspaces. Any collaboration within the spaces is automatically minuted for immediate download and can then be indexed and archived. This reduces unnecessary administration and makes it easier for local authority colleagues across the region to benefit from others' experiences and creativity - without the time and cost of travel.

A fully searchable regional knowledge base includes automatic document harvesting and an intelligent regional search engine. Authorities decide which documents they wish to include in KEN and the software retrieves, indexes and archives them automatically.

Searching for 'smartcard', for example, would automatically also retrieve documents containing the words 'identity card'. This could give officers information and case studies on local smartcard schemes, proposed uses or cost models. The search element is powered by Fretwell-Downing Informatics (FDI), the founding technology partner for the seamlessUK citizens' information portal.

Demo disk

A KEN demo disk is available on request from p.kendal@smartregion.org.uk or 0121 245 0190.

Conference and KEN 'go live' date

KEN will go live at the 'Governance Partnership in the West Midlands' conference on 12 November in Birmingham. This event includes speakers from ODPM and West Midlands in Europe and showcases regional 'e' collaboration and smart-working programmes from local authorities across the region. For more details or to book your place contact: email: p.kendal@smartregion.org.uk, ring 0121 245 0190 or book online at http://www.askken.org.uk/conferenceRegistration.asp. Refreshments are provided and there is no charge to attend but places are limited, so book soon.

[Received: October 2004]
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Streaming Goes Mainstream

MLA launches online tool to help libraries deliver Web broadcasts

MLA has launched a new online tool to help libraries deliver cutting edge People's Network services.

The first stop for many new users of the Internet is the public library through the amazingly successful People's Network project that saw 30,000 PCs installed in libraries right across the UK. While the ICT skills training given to all public library staff has enabled them to manage the technology and help new users, setting up the PCs to support streaming media effectively has caused some headaches.

Enter a new online support resource just launched by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) designed to help those library staff check out their computers and set them up to give the best access to streamed media. Developed by streaming media specialists Groovy Gecko, the diagnostic toolkit provides information about two popular software products used to view Web broadcasts and will provide information to MLA, who continue to manage the development of the People's Network, on the use of streaming media in public libraries.

Commenting on the launch Chris Batt, Chief Executive of MLA said that, "Library staff have completed the installation of the People's Network infrastructure on time and in budget, and all library staff have now been trained in IT skills. The third phase of the project is the delivery of e-services to communities throughout the country, using the People's Network.. This online diagnostic tool will help MLA and libraries to plan more effectively in delivering exciting, cutting edge e-services which employ the use of audio and video."

The tool and instructions to use it can be found at: http://www.peoplesnetwork.gov.uk/future/streaming.asp

[Received: September 2004]
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Curriculum Online - Getting your cultural content online

For the past 18 months MLA has been working with the DfES Curriculum Online Team to promote and facilitate the provision of curriculum based e-learning materials by the cultural sector, with the following aims:

  • To increase the use of educational content, both classroom and teacher-support resources, from the cultural sector by schools.
  • To improve the quality and usefulness of educational content from the cultural sector.
  • To make it easier for teachers, pupils and parents to discover educational content from the cultural sector that is relevant to specific curriculum learning objectives."

Run by the DfES, Curriculum Online (www.curriculumonline.gov.uk http://www.curriculumonline.gov.uk/) is an online catalogue which gives teachers easy access to a wide range of multimedia teaching and learning resources, all linked to the curriculum in England. It is a key part of the Government's drive to increase the use of ICT in the classroom.

A pilot study was launched to understand the issues cultural organisations face in becoming registered suppliers. Four organisations were selected to take part. The findings of this pilot study were presented at a series of Roadshows that took place earlier in the year, hosted by each of MLA's Regional Agencies.

Based on these findings, the DfES has published two guides which tell you the benefits of becoming a supplier to Curriculum Online, and how to do it.

Guide One: Getting involved in Curriculum Online - practical steps for cultural organisations What cultural organisations can gain by becoming a Registered Supplier - An in-depth look at the administrative and practical issues involved. Includes funding, registering, how to measure success, and useful sources of information.

Guide Two: Preparing your content for Curriculum Online - a guide for cultural organisations A practical guide to reviewing, adapting and creating content for Curriculum Online. Full of useful hints and tips to maximise the potential of your content as digital learning resources.

These two guides are now available at http://www.curriculumonline.gov.uk/culture - The area of the Curriculum Online Web site specially designed for cultural organisations. As well as everything you need to know about becoming, or being, a supplier, you'll find information about the Pilot Study, key learning points from this research, and the Roadshows where these findings were presented as well as the following key documents:

  • Getting Involved in Curriculum Online: practical steps for cultural organisations
  • Preparing your content for Curriculum Online: a guide for cultural organisations
  • The Curriculum Online Tagging Tool
  • A presentation by MLA on the learnings from the Pilot Study
  • A presentation by the DfES on the role of ICT in schools
  • eLearning case studies from the Regional Agencies
  • ICT in action - DfES video case studies

This gives an excellent overview for those unable to attend the Roadshows,. If you did attend, we hope you'll find these resources a useful presentation tool to help you spread the word to other colleagues. (These resources are also available in limited quantities on CD for those unable to download them from the Web site.

Please contact your local MLA Regional Agency for details http://www.mla.gov.uk/action/regional/regionsmap.asp

[Received: October 2004]
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URCHIN

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) are pleased to announce the lastest release of their open-source RSS aggregator 'Urchin' to SourceForge (http://urchin.sf.net). Initially funded by the UK Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC, http://www.jisc.ac.uk/) as one of the Publisher and Library/Learning Systems (PALS, http://www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=programme_pals) Metadata and Interoperability Group projects, Urchin has been substantially improved. Version 0.92, the current stable release, introduces the following changes:

  • A mod_perl front end for performance and persistence
  • Using XML::LibXSLT to improve performance
  • A new option for using HTTP status codes for error reporting
  • Old items can be now be expunged after an update via an administrator-defined query
  • Access, admin and error logs
  • Web-triggerable remote refresh
  • Configurable RDF output by adminstrator-defined inclusion or exclusion of namespaces
  • The ability to combine several simple RDF query conditions using boolean AND and OR
  • Numerous bug fixes

Urchin is a Web based, customisable, RSS aggregator and filter. Its primary purpose is to allow the generation of new RSS feeds by running queries against the collection of items in the Urchin database. However, other arbitrary output formats can be defined and generated using XSL transformations or HTML::Template templates. In other words, the collection of Urchin Perl modules form a foundation for building an RSS aggregation or portal service.

Urchin is a classic LAMP implementation written in Perl using, wherever possible, pre-existing Perl modules. It uses MySQL for its database functionality and can run using either Apache with a mod_perl handler or any CGI-enabled Web server using the CGI script that is included with the distribution. While Urchin is developed on a Red Hat Linux system, it has been ported to Mac OS X, and earlier versions have run successfully under Windows 2000, XP and CygWin.

This code has been tested on Red Hat Linux 8.0 running Apache version 2.0.40, MySQL version 4.0.13 and Perl version 5.8.0, and on Mac OS X 10.3.5 running Apache version 2.0.49, MySQL version 4.0.16 and Perl version 5.8.1.

Urchin's feature set includes:

  • Reads RSS 0.9*, 1.0 and 2.0
  • Stores all incoming data in RSS 0.9x and 1.0 feeds
  • Queryable on arbitrary data fields
  • Supports boolean, simple RDF, full RDF querying
  • Arbitrary output formats

Alongside version 0.92, a development code snapshot has been released that includes support for importing Atom feeds, new administrative commands for defining feed aggregates, and the ability to use RSS and Atom auto-discovery links.

Urchin is Free Software. Portions of the code are licensed under the GNU General Public License, the rest under the GNU Lesser General Public License.

[Received: August 2004]
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RDN Welcomes New Director

Caroline Williams recently started as the new Executive Director of the Resource Discovery Network, taking overall responsibility for the strategic development of the service.

Most recently, Caroline was with Manchester Metropolitan University Library as Manager for Electronic Services Development, leading a range of electronic projects. In addition, she has been responsible for the strategic development of library support for learning and teaching.

Many will know Caroline through her work as the last Secretary of the Janet User Group for Libraries (JUGL), and as a member of the JIBS Committee. She is known particularly for her work on libraries and Virtual Learning Environments.

From the RDN Newsletter.

[Received: October 2004]
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Date published: 
30 October 2004

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How to cite this article

Richard Waller. "News and Events". October 2004, Ariadne Issue 41 http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue41/newsline/


article | by Dr. Radut