Aces, Hearts, Clubs and Spades – The OER Deal

Great Writers - Oxford University Computing Services

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times, in fair Verona, exeunt pursued by a bear. It’s early days for Great Writers, and it’s a lot harder to blog Vs Shakespeare than it was for Politics In Spires. Yeah, read this, it is definitely worthwhile, definitely up there with the work of Dickens. But dear Bill and Chuckie didn’t understand Drupal, or RDFa, or LRMI, so it can’t be long until my face appears on a five pound note.

Or not.

So with a full deck of cards, it shouldn’t take long to club the content into an ace shape, with a song in our heart and with content in spades. All depending on how we cut the deck, that is, if we are the dealer?

We’ve decided to use Drupal for our site, as it has a strong central heart to help pump out the work of our content aces (or academics which is how the more modest ones insist we refer to them).  Like a railwayman shovelling with many spades we can get the site working for demo purposes without banging away with our clubs forlornly. Obviously there are some trade-offs with site features, but so far, all ok.

Those of us in the OER Clubs, we have a space in our hearts for usage and reusage stats, so we need to get our spades and dig dig dig into the site and make sure we can be aces and have these details. Google Analytics has “events” now, so we’ve gone for a media player which can support tracking these events.

We obviously have our site users first and foremost in our hearts, but what of  the aces of google and its indexing robots? Well google has microformats to help it catalogue, so before it used to have to dig at your site with it’s spades, now it can sieve down and see smaller pieces of content.  Better indexing should mean being more discoverable and easy to find – who would not one to be in that club(s)?

Sadly google’s microformats ( and LRMI (RDFa cataloguing) are different clubs competing for our cataloguing hearts. Thankfully we can be catalogue aces and do both at once – using some drupal mangling at a code level, which hopefully won’t hinder us later on and leave us as a spade.

Deep down in our hearts, we know that the CMS is the king here, and we are working within it’s realm. It’s great to get down and dirty with our spades so early on, but in doing so accept that while we’d like to be a kind of surgical aces cutting and making everything perfect, a generic tool can sometimes be a bit like wielding a club – it’ll do the job, but not always quite how you’d like it to do. However, this is the world of OER, and while it might not be exactly what we want, we can always remix it.

And don’t forget the joker….

Posted in copyright, dissemination, Great Writers | 1 Comment

One Response to “Aces, Hearts, Clubs and Spades – The OER Deal”

  1. dkernohan says:

    Pat you are a diamond in the rough. Your blogging has been much missed.

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