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Portable reading lists

Lorcan 2 min read

Reading lists are an interesting site for discussion about interoperability between library and learning management systems, and one where one might imagine some progress given the shared interest.

These are a place where library and learning management interests intersect. What requirements might one have of a reading list builder? To be able to take citations from different databases and add them to a single structured document? Exchange that document easily between applications (e.g. between a learning management system and a library portal application) and between authors while retaining its structure? So that a faculty member could create a list, and a librarian could add some general resources, maybe linking it to other library resources, and pass it back again? Include ‘canned searches’ against particular databases or combinations of databases? Have persistent links to remote licensed resources? Be able to include and share annotations? Resolve citations against an OpenURL resolver to ensure that the appropriate copy of a resource is obtained? Integrate with authentication and authorization services. These are all sensible things to do. However, what seems to be emerging is a view of the reading list as a sharable portal, with all the attendant issues we have discussed above. [The recombinant library: portals and people [OCLC]]

Maybe a sharable potal is a portable? Since I wrote that, some interesting things have happened.
These include the development of the Resource List Interoperability specification from IMS.

The Resource List Interoperability (RLI) specification details how structured meta-data can be exchanged between systems that store and expose resources for the purpose of creating resource lists and those that gather and organize those Resource Lists for educational or training purposes. A typical example of such a resource list is a reading list. [IMS Global Learning Consortium: Resource List Interoperability]

And we have some uptake of services from Sentient Learning, which provides linking services between learning management systems and library systems pivoting on reading lists.
I have been thinking about this, because I spotted that the Discover+ project is working to return RLI data in SRU results. Which seems like a nice idea.

By default, the SRU services return IEEE LOM XML packaged in SRU results wrapper. In addition to consistent searching of heterogeneous repositories, a goal of the d+ project is to facilitate results mapping to various metadata and packaging schemas. In addition to the native library metadata schemas from various repositories, d+ is currently testing a metadata schema from the IMS Resource List Interoperability Specification – RLI (XML binding). [Discovery+: Brokerage for Deep an Distributed e-Learning Resources Discovery]

Incidentally, this project uses Ralph LeVan’s open source implementation of SRW/U.

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