Tony Hirst’s post on Open Educational Resources and the University Library Website has been doing the rounds recently. It’s a good question he poses, why aren’t academic library web sites giving as much prominence to open educational resources as they do to books and journals? My answer is simply, because historically it’s not been libraries that worried about those kinds of educational resources. While libraries were cataloguing books and journals, other parts of the central institutional services were managing learning objects, multimedia resources, e-learning content, whatever you want to call the stuff. These resources were locked up in WebCT or some other VLE/LMS and were discoverable there, at least in theory. Teachers and their students knew, and still know, where to look for books & journals and where to look for other kinds of learning resources.
Tony’s point however is still a good one, it’d be great if you could have a single search interface to everything. But typically universities for example have separate systems that don’t always talk to each other. Shame. However it cuts both ways. You should be able to search the library catalogue from within a VLE. I tried out the OU website search Tony mentioned. It doesn’t seem to search the library holdings. You have to use the library catalogue for that.
It’s time that library and learning system integrated better. If FriendFeed can aggregate potentially billions of tweets, blog posts and status updates, then why can’t a single institution’s systems share their content?