Here's an excerpt:
For some years, digital content has been stored in our VLE, but the VLE does not encourage sharing or re-use. EdShare is intended to act as the storage for the VLE, storing our everyday teaching materials such as presentations, hand-outs, reading lists, assignments etc., so that they can easily be viewed by others and re-used in whole or part as appropriate.
Important design principles of this share were:
- Ease of use The share should be open to anyone to access, whether logged-in or not; any logged in member of the university can upload resources and comment on others. The user interface should be simple to use and fully accessible
- Minimal metadata We acknowledge that requiring metadata is a barrier to use, and that search engines do a large part of the job based on free text. Web 2.0 style recommendations complement the search engines
- Permanent URLs Every share entered in EdShare, and the description of the resource, are allocated unique and permanent URLs, which can be used to refer to them from external programs – for example VLEs such as Blackboard
- Open Access to the descriptions, but user controlled access to the content. Anyone in the world can browse or search to discover what items are in EdShare (i.e. they can see the description), but the depositing user can control the visibility of the actual resource. The default is to allow visibility within the university, but it is possible to make the visibility wider (the whole world) or narrower (only my school, or even only the depositor and named collaborators). . . .
EdShare has been implemented as open source software on top of E-Prints, and the team are committed to working with others in supporting other institutions, or cross-institutional disciplinary consortia, to make both the technical and educational changes that we have benefited from.