Draft ‘Back-Page’ Best Practice Notes Released
Looking at many of the UK-OER resources that have been released so far, it looks like most projects have decided to use a very minimalist approach to ‘wrapping’ their OER resources.
Some I feel have taken this to extremes – I have found some resources which do not even have an author’s name within the resource. This does worry me a bit. I fear that once a resource becomes separated from its basic metadata then it has become much less usable. Indeed I would suggest that without an ‘author name’ associated with it, it can no longer be covered by the CC license, which requires attribution, so is no longer truly open.
For our C-change partners, the chance to release their materials in an OER form was encouraged by their hope that it would be good publicity for them, their courses and their institutes. This demanded a much more elaborate presentation of the material, with a much higher level of ’visual design’, which included institute logos. It is also the case that much of our materials are rather heavily laden with third party material for which we have to provide separate and individual attribution.
It was therefore unlikely that the ‘minimalist’ approach would work for us and we needed to consider how best to include all this information within a ‘back page’.
From a project viewpoint, it seemed imperative that as much of the resource-metadata as possible should be included within the text of the resource itself where it is viewable by the user and search engines etc. to make the resource as useful as possible in it’s life in the wild after it has left its primary repository.
This metadata could also be held within the file header in the Document Properties on Microsoft Office, Adobe file formats and within the header of HTML documents.
It has taken us much discussion with other OER projects, but finally we have written a set of draft recommendations of best practice for writing the ‘back page’, which can be found on our Documents page at: http://c-changeproject.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/back-page-notes-draft-1f.doc
It is pretty draft, but makes a good start.