AskOnlineFilestore

From ASK

The askOnlineFilestore is for:

  • Upload digital resources into your personal online briefcase
  • Create collections of resources and control who can access the resources in the collection
  • Search online catalogues of resources
  • Add retrieved items to a reading list
  • Apply a range of styles to the list e.g. MLA, Harvard
  • Export the reading list as XML, HTML, RTF, PDF or Endnote files.

You can experiment with the system by exploring the demo installation.

Contents

About

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The centre of activities is your briefcase, where you organise your resources. Another way to think of the briefcase is as a "window" onto the resources in the askOnlineFilestore which you have added yourself, together with the resources which other users have added and have made available.

Entries in the list are metadata, or information about each resource. For example, the metadata associated with a book might be taken from the catalogue entry in the library where it is held, while the metadata for an image which you have found in another repository might be taken from the information stored about it in that "source" repository. If the resource is stored online and you have access to it, then you can click the "URL" link to open and view or play it.

The askOnlineFileStore also allows you to organise your resources into reading lists, for the different courses that you teach, and collections, which are aggregations of resources which you want to keep together such as references and other resources needed for writing a particular paper.

Getting started

Please note that the askOnlineFilestore is BETA software - this means that it is still under development and updated versions will be released periodically.

The askOnlineFilestore is accessed through the Shibboleth authentication system. If you would like to explore the system please contact the project team so we can set you up with an account using the mailing list. We will send you login details and help guide you round the system.

If you have any problems with the software, or would like new features added, please make contact.

Adding resources

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You can add resources to your briefcase in these ways:

  • Search the online catalogues and repositories simultaneously. This is also known as a federated search.
  • Import a reading list created in the AskOnlineReadingListTool tool.
  • Manually, by typing the metadata yourself. If the resource is a file which you have created yourself (e.g. lecture notes or a learning object) and whoch isn't already stored online, then you can upload it for storage in ASK.

Using folders

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Folders are another way to organise resources. The difference between a folder and a collection is that a folder is internal to your briefcase (rather like the compartments in a real one). To make an assortment of resources available to other people you create a collection.

Sharing resources

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Sharing is fundamental to the ASK repository system design. You can make the items in your briefcase available to other people in three ways:

  • Set permissions for each item that determine who can access it, and whether or not they can make changes to the metadata and/or the contents of the item itself (e.g. if the item is an uploaded file or reading list).
  • Send an email containing the link to the metadata for an individual resource, collection or reading list to another ASK user or group of users. This is an efficient way to distribute reading lists to students.
  • Export a reading list or collection to a file which you can then make available to others e.g. by placing it in a shared storage area or content management system.

The tale of the forgetful tutor

Imagine that Oxford University Archaeology lecturer Dr Veria Clevera is on a field trip to Jordan. From her Amman office she is scheduled to discuss the site at Petra with her tutor group back in Oxford via a forum in the University's VLE, WebLearn. She opens her browser, goes to the Oxford University home page, clicks the link to the University 'VLE' called Weblearn and logs in with her Oxford username. She then navigates to the discussion room where her tutor group has already logged in. There, contrary to her expectation, the students are discussing an "Indiana Jones" movie which is partly set in Petra.

Dr Clevera therefore asks the group if they have read the book chapter and two papers on Petra in the online reading list which she gave them at the start of term. Back in Oxford, the students scratch their heads and reply that there aren't any readings on Petra in the list. Dr Clevera clicks the link from WebLearn to her ASK briefcase, where she locates the reading list among the book references, online journal papers, video clips, images and other course reading lists stored there. Opening the reading list, she notices that she had indeed left out the readings in question.

Switching back to the WebLearn forum, Dr Clevera apologises to the students, says that she will add the missing items immediately and suggests that they postpone the discussion until the next day, to give the students time to read them. Back in her ASK briefcase, she decides that the quickest thing to do is to perform a federated search for items on the Petra topic. Along with the three items in question the search also retrieves a paper which Dr Clevera peer-reviewed a few months ago and has now been published. She clicks the "Location" button to ensure that the journal issue has been received by the departmental library. It has, so she adds the paper to the reading list along with the other three references. Finally, Dr Clevera clicks the "Email" button in ASK to write an email to her tutor group, informing them that they can now get on with their reading.