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The hunting of the OER – or curatorial responsibility in publishing OERs

May 29, 2011

Via Scoop.itOpen learning news

A thoughtful piece by Phil Barker from JISC CETIS on “curatorial responsibility” – the importance of linking a description of an open educational resource to the actual resource. As he says, “Nobody wants to find a description of a resource that links to a description of the resource.”

You might wonder how/why this problem should have arisen in the first place; after all, who would bother to simply post a description of a resource without attaching (or linking to) the resource itself? I imagine it’s because many of us are posting links to resources in repositories such as Jorum Open, rather than actually uploading the items themselves to these repositories. And the reason for that is that we want to have our OERs housed on a single server for updating, version-control and take-down purposes. In which case, our “curatorial responsibility” is to ensure that the links we add on such repositories actually point users to the item, and not to another description of the item, or to another repository’s home page. And, of course, to make sure the links remain current and live.

Seems obvious, but in practice it’s easy to overlook these things. I suspect that many of our institutions need more rigorous policies for OER release and maintenance.
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