Indiana University Libraries Information Technology is working on a pilot experiment to develop a user interface for accessing digital library resources from within the Sakai course management environment. Titled “Twin Peaks” to illustrate the currently separate mountains of library and course management resources being bridged, it is a fully JSR168 compliant tool being developed as an experimental option within the new WYSIWYG authoring tool of Sakai. Currently available resources are limited so the effort as is centered on foundational aspects of user interface and integration into Sakai. The goal is to provide a system to make it easier for instructors with limited time and very limited technical expertise to simply locate and reuse digital content, in the widest sense of such content (licensed, local, any media, etc). This tool encompasses several practical functions for teaching and learning like reading lists, creation of guided searches, and course or subject specific web pages. The functionality is targeted for eventual acceptance as a default tool within the core Sakai code.
Sakai itself is rapidly evolvingstill undergoing steady changes in integration of the four lead institutions’ efforts. We are in essence adding a customized functionality to a moving target that is barely in production and mostly a pilot effort itself.
Few licensed database/journal vendors currently offer natively persistent links. Those that do offer them in vendor specific formats not consistent in interface or format.
Majority of library vendors resist avoidance of their local “branding” that occurs when libraries or search engines attempt to execute a direct search ( and occasionally such direct searches, depending on frequency or scope, can violate licensing agreements)
Citation lists obtained via meta-searching my not result in links that offer intuitive “one click” access to the full text resources. This could be because the tool requires a re-search to be executed to ensure currency of the full text availability or due to the resource only offering abstract level coverage.
Common current practice in library collections development of electronic resources is to periodically review options for obtaining particular serials to choose the best price among vendors who offer the same titles. It is not unusual for libraries to therefore switch various titles as pricing changes or better options become available. Thus, even a link that was persistent when it was obtained in search results may later break as the vendor is dropped in favor of another.
As this project is tied to the overall Sakai Project, all related software is open source, licensed under the Educational Community License Version 1.0