How project SWORD restored my faith in educational technology

At the JISC CETIS Metadata and Digital Repositories and Educational Content SIG meeting at the University of Strathclyde yesterday we heard about a number of interesting projects, but it was project SWORD and Julie Allinson’s very clear presentation that restored my faith in educational technology and the ability of educational technologists to work with and build upon existing dare I even say ‘main stream’ technology rather than to reinvent it or make it overly complex.

“SWORD (Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit) will take forward the Deposit protocol developed by a small working group as part of the JISC Digital Repositories Programme by implementing it as a lightweight web-service in four major repository software platforms: EPrints, DSpace, Fedora and IntraLibrary.”

The project looked at a range of existing publishing protocols and evaluated these against the project’s aims. And do you know what they concluded? They concluded the Atom Publishing Format and Protocol was the best fit for the project’s requirements. True, there will be some proposed extensions to the protocol but each repository that adopts the APP as part of the project will accept native APP requests to deposit materials.

This is great news and a smart move I think. There are millions of APP devices in people’s pockets able to capture and create content since Nokia adopted APP in most of its newer phones as part of its Lifeblog application (link to PDF Nokia spec). These devices and many others besides as well as desktop and web-based applications currently deposit their content into informal repositories. Soon they will be able to deposit into formal or institutional repositories and who knows, the web 2.0 revolution in content production may arrive on campus.