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Keep Pace with Technology Developments

It is the nature of technology that it is constantly changing and improving – as anyone who has ever purchased a computer or electronic device is well aware. Repositories are similar: Administrators and technicians must keep abreast of the latest developments. Users will always desire the newest features—all the bells and whistles that will make the repository user friendly and keep it on the cutting edge.

Sustainability and Revenue Models [PDF] puts it this way: “Sustaining the value of the resource requires more than just ‘keeping the lights on’. As new technologies develop and user expectations shift and grow, a resource risks fading slowly into irrelevance if it does not constantly grow and innovate in ways that continue to benefit its constituents. Not doing this, in the most extreme cases, can result in a resource becoming inaccessible. More often, though, a static resource will lose value over time.”

Even during the relatively short lifespan of The Orange Grove, we have already incorporated significant improvements in the software and technology. Our software provider, Equella, has worked with major learning management systems (LMS) to allow The Orange Grove to integrate directly into institutional LMSs. This allows users to automatically access the repository through their LMS, with the need for a separate repository login. The LMS users are authenticated behind the scenes. Newer versions of the repository software also incorporate some Web 2.0 tools and continue to evolve a more customizable environment for individual users.

In an effort to keep the repository community up-to-date, we utilize our ongoing webinar series to invite vendors and developers to demonstrate new products and technologies. For example, we recently had representatives from Eduworks (http://www.eduworks.com/) demonstrate a tool that automatically generates metadata by analyzing the content of files and creating keywords and terms to describe the item.

Links:
Sustainability and Revenue Models for Online Academic Resources: An Ithaka Report — http://www.ithaka.org/ithaka-s-r/strategy/ithaka-case-studies-in-sustainability/report/SCA_Ithaka_SustainingDigitalResources_Report.pdf [PDF]


A Project of Florida Distance Learning Consortium Funded by Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)