Friday, 16 December 2011

OVAL Dissemination Event Recording

We now have the Adobe Connect recording of the launch event. The whole day, including the OVAM launch, is covered so the recording are quite long but you may find it useful to view if you are interested but were not able to come. Have a look at the agenda to see which part of the event you are interested in.

View it at:
Morning session 1 - OVAL Dissemination 

Morning session 2 - OVAM Launch part 1
Afternoon session - OVAM Launch part 2

Thursday, 24 November 2011

OVAL Dissemination and OVAM Launch Event

We are running an event on the 9th December to mark the dissemination of the Opening Access to Veterinary Literature (OVAL) and the launch of Online Veterinary Anatomy Museum (OVAM) projects. It will be held at the Royal Veterinary College.

You are probably very familiar with the OVAL project now, after all, you are reading the blog! As it is coming to a close, we are running the dissemination event. We were fortunate to receive funding for the OVAM project recently and as it is going to build on the lessons learnt during the OVAL project, we thought it is a good idea to combine its launch with OVAL dissemination. 

The OVAM project is also funded by JISC as part of the Content Programma 2011-2013. OVAM will provide access to a comprehensive and pedagogically structured set of veterinary anatomical resources from UK veterinary schools and other institutions. These will be aggregated and ordered in an environment which will make them easily discoverable by different cohorts of learners. Key to the success of this project will be the development of effective methodologies to embed and integrate these materials within a traditional curriculum to maximise exposure, uptake and sustainability.

For more information about the event please see the agenda. Everyone is welcome but we would particularly like to encourage those interested in contributing to the anatomy museum (OVAM). The event is free but places are limited so please email Bara to book your place.

Monday, 14 November 2011

WikiVet is on iTunes

You probably already know that as part of the OVAL project, we have recorded several podcasts. We have a selection of podcasts in English, French and Spanish. They are available free via iTunes.

iTunes is a media player computer program, used for playing, downloading, and organizing digital music and video files on desktop computers.. The front page of this displays high-profile podcasts from commercial broadcasters and independent podcasters and allows searching by category or popularity. Once subscribed, the podcast can be set to download manually, or automatically — and as with other audio, content can be listened to directly or synced to a portable hardware device like an MP3 player.

WikiVet has now established a presence on iTunes and has published over 50 short podcasts on disease related topics. These can be listened to online through a laptop or downloaded onto an iPod or iPad. For those who want to keep up to date with new developments on WikiVet, you can choose to subscribe to a “feed” and new podcasts will then automatically be added to your iTunes account as they become available.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

New Pages and French WikiVet

We are still progressing on the OVAL project. Some new pages that have been tweeted are:


Interdigital Dermatitis in Cattle

Edwardsiella tarda

Fish Streptococcosis

Small Animal Dermatology Q&A - This is again a selection of sample questions from this book pictured here. These types of questions seem to be popular with users.

Another piece on news is our new French WikiVet that currently hosts all the pages that have been translated into French during the OVAL project. It is a simple version on WikiVet but it is a start! Have a look for yourself at

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Review Process

Reviewing Process on WikiVet for the OVAL Project
by Helen Dirrig

WikiVet aims to have all articles reviewed by an expert in the appropriate field. For the OVAL project,
disease datasheets from CABI and self-assessment books from Manson were used. The role of expert
reviewers was to check the information but most importantly to provide updates for any newly
discovered strains, new diagnostic methods or treatments. This would ensure that the most up-todate
information was available to the online veterinary community.

Reviewer recruitment
Reviewers were recruited by the WikiVet team and by CABI. The WikiVet team asked staff members
from the RVC, experts in farm animal virology, bacteriology and large animal clinical medicine.
CABI were able to contact experts from a wider range of backgrounds, including scientists from
Brazil, Egypt, Denmark, Germany, the USA and the UK.
An introductory email was sent to any prospective reviewers explaining the OVAL project and the
role of reviewing. It was explained that the articles were aimed at the undergraduate veterinary
student body and that they did not have to be comprehensive reviews of the pathogens or diseases.
A financial incentive of £30 per article reviewed was offered.

The reviewing process
Reviewers that accepted the task were sent Word documents of the articles from WikiVet. One
reviewer was already experienced in editing WikiVet and thus did not require the word document
and could make any necessary changes.
The response time from reviewers found by CABI was usually in the range of 2-3 weeks. RVC
reviewers tended to take a little more time and needed several reminders.
Reviewers were generally responsible for reviewing several articles from the OVAL list, as many as 19
for one expert.
Reviewers generally tracked any changes made using Word. Some people preferred making
annotations on a printed document, and one reviewer preferred to discuss changes in person.
Alterations generally concerned minor details and formatting. Diagnostic methods and treatments
were often supplemented. Reviewers also offered more up-to-date references for certain articles.
A considerable number of articles required no alterations at all.
Their recommendations were collected by a member of the WikiVet team and transcribed onto
The flashcards , which are question-and-answer pages associated with each article, were also altered
accordingly if any changes had been made.

Reviewer acknowledgment
The reviewer’s involvement with the article was acknowledged at the bottom of each article with a
box giving details of the reviewer’s name, qualifications, and the date the article was reviewed. A
follow-up email sent by the WikiVet team gave the reviewers the opportunity to provide a link to an
external page they may have about themselves, or offered to set up a page on WikiVet about their
Most reviewers already had external links or university staff pages, and a few WikiVet reviewer pages
were created.
Reviewers were sent a link to the finished article on WikiVet and encouraged to contact the team
with any comments.
Several reviewers provided positive feedback on the concept of the site and recommended other
diseases of importance that should be added to the database.
Reviewers were also sent an invoice form to claim for their work. Overall, they were quite efficient at
sending back the forms which were then forwarded on to the payroll team at the Royal Veterinary

Monday, 24 October 2011

Current Developments

We have more content released now, some of which can be accessed below.

Manson books:
Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care Q&A
Cytology Q&A
Small Animal Soft Tissue Surgery Q&A

CABI pages:
Amoebic Gill Disease
Viral Haemorrhagic Septicaemia

Another development has been the creation of a French WikiVet site to host all the pages from CABI datasheets that have been translated into French. It is just a basic site for now but it is a start! Have a look for yourself:

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Released Content and Update

We have more released content, 24 questions from Feline Medicine Manson Q&A book and several reviewed pages:

        Avian Pneumovirus
Spring Viraemia of Carp
Infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis
Sea Lice
Edwardsiella ictaluri

Don't forget to check out the flashcards that are created from each of the page's content. You can find the link to them at the bottom of the page text.

More content is being released as we go. 

We also really appreciate that we have been granted a project extension till the end of the year. We are sure we can deliver what we have promised, and lots more, but so far it is taking longer than expected. We have only minor issues with the Manson book, like quality of images and the fact that some of the pages on WikiVet that the questions link to still need to be checked. We are almost there with them though.

The CABI datasheets have all been re-written into WikiVet format but the bottle neck is with the review process now. We had approximately half of the pages returned but are still waiting on the rest. That means that the extra resources we hope to produce are also being held back. Once the pages are reviewed, they get translated into French and Spanish and podcasts are recorded from them in all three languages. Obviously, we do not want to do all this work if we then would have to change something!

We are also linking to the pages from Wikipedia. This work is nearing its completion too and we are already seeing some increase of traffic. The most obvious influence so far has been the links advertised via Twitter though!

Friday, 7 October 2011

ALT-C conference 2011

Thoughts for the OVAL group – Liz Mossop

I attended the ALT-C conference on behalf of OVAL and Wikivet, which was held in Leeds during September 2011. There were several themes of interest to us.

1.    Next steps with OER – this was a key area of discussion, and one of the best attended sessions was delivered by JISC. There was discussion about where OER will go next, what happens to institutions who don’t engage, and where we go when the money runs out. It was clear that some individuals feel that OER should never have been funded – i.e. institutions should have wanted to release material anyway. However, this appeared to be quite a short sighted view, as many presentations discussed JISC funded projects which had helped in some way – whether through direct funding or just by raising awareness. The consensus seemed to be that the projects have been necessary to get the concept going in the UK HE environment, but that it will not last much longer and we need to be looking at long term sustainability. I think we have already been applying much thought to this matter within the Wikivet steering group, and the OVAL project has realised the potential of working with publishers. We need to apply further thought to see where we go with this. We should aim to be a leader in this field and demonstrate that it is possible to produce a sustainable OER model.
2.    Learning through gaming – I thought this would mean technology, but actually there are several teams looking at more basic game based learning, often involving board games. I wondered whether a Wikivet board game could be produced to introduce new students to the usefulness of the site?
3.    Social networking – Anne Marie Cunningham, a GP in Cardiff, presented about developing a social media presence and the uses and pitfalls of this. She discussed developing a digital identity. This is going to be key for Wikivet as an organisation. We also need to think about our individual identities as members of the steering group, and how we use this to publicise Wikivet.
4.    Use of QR codes – again a prominent conference feature was the use of QR codes and smartphones. These can easily be produced to link to webpages via a simple scan. There may be applications of this to help promote Wikivet on posters, or a video of the month scenario.
5.    Copyright issues – this came up quite a lot, and one aspect I hadn’t considered previously was how you can safely create a resource with differing levels of C-C licenses. The Web2Rights group presented a really useful session on this issue and their powerpoint is here. We need to think about this as an issue for Wikivet and ensure we are sticking to the rules!

Friday, 30 September 2011

More pages and books available

We have lots more pages reviewed and open to the public now. There are also more question and answer books available. Today we you can visit the Cattle and Sheep Medicine and some of the pages listed below.

Lots more pages and questions are ready but we only publicise (via Facebook and Twitter) one at a time to achieve a steady trickle. To view them all visit the OVAL Project page on WikiVet.

Cattle and Sheep
Renibacterium salmoninarum

Porcine Stress Syndrome

Avian Nephritis

Bovine Herpesvirus 1

Bovine Herpesvirus 4

Riemerella anatipestifer

Bovine Herpesvirus 5

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Steering Group Meeting

On Thursday, we had our fourth steering group meeting, which proved very inspiring. We showcased what has been completed under the OVAL project so far and what is going on at the moment.

All of the 100 pages created from CABI datasheets and their respective flashcards have now been completed. They are going through a review process and once reviewed, they are being publicised on WikiVet front page, Twitter and Facebook. They are also mentioned in this blog. The reviewed pages are than translated into French and Spanish and podcasts are recorded of them in the three languages too. These podcasts are published on iTunes. The WikiVet pages are also being used to provide public friendly version of the text on Wikipedia with a reference link back to WikiVet.

All of the Manson Q&A book sample questions are also already available on WikiVet. Some still require few images and completion of pages they link to, but majority is well under way.

Some of the staff have also Skyped in to provide a brief report on their work for OVAL. We discussed plans for dissemination and further focus group sessions. To see the meeting minutes see the pdf document on WikiVet.

As part of the ongoing process, three more pages have also been reviewed. Why not have a look at what it is all about?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

More Reviewed Pages

The publishing is really speeding up now. We have more pages reviewed and have just released the Avian Medicine Q&A book. Click on the links below or the image to have a look!

Avian Adenoviruses

Avian Orthoreovirus

Dermanyssus gallinae

Derzsy's Disease

Duck Hepatitis Virus

Duck Viral Enteritis

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

More content!

Another few pages have been reviewed. There is a sample of fish and poultry diseases, some are ready now. Check them out and let us know what you think!

Columnaris Disease
Cold Water Disease
Chicken Anaemia Virus Disease

Another book published by Manson is also ready, Small Mammals Q&A. It contains a selection of 21 questions relating to a variety of small mammals.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

New Page Reviewed and A Staff Member's Thoughts

Jaimie is another staff member that recently left to work as a veterinary surgeon. You can read her thoughts below. One of her pages has now been reviewed and can be seen at Ascaridia in Poultry.

Working for Wikivet

I joined the Wikivet team straight after finishing my finals in the interim before getting my first job as a Veterinary Surgeon.  It has been a very enjoyable experience and I feel lucky to have worked on the Wikivet project.  It was a good way to earn some money whilst learning a lot about different veterinary diseases through reading disease CABI sheets and summarising key facts and creating Wikivet pages.  I also helped to choose useful revision questions from Manson Self-Assessment Colour Review guides to open these resources up to all vet students online.  It gave me great job satisfaction to know that my work is going to help other veterinary students who will benefit from this information and the revision flashcards that I have designed. 
It has been great to work alongside other students from different Veterinary Institutions and during the project I have met some really lovely people who are dedicated to opening up learning resources to veterinary students and different target audiences.  During the project you get to work from home so you can work around other commitments.  The project runs weekly Skype conferences so immediately you feel part of the team and your opinions and ideas really count and matter.  The work areas are diverse and you can develop areas that you are interested in e.g. podcasts, dissection guides, information pages, quizzes etc .  I really hope that Wikivet continues to grow and expand and I wish the team every continuing success.  Wikivet really is a resource that current vet students cannot afford not to utilise and I only wish that I had had access to these resources as a student to aid my revision and learning.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity,
Best wishes
Jaimie Meagor

Friday, 12 August 2011

Project Staff Thoughts

One of our temporary staff, this year's graduate form the University of Nottingham Stephanie Massey, has now left to enjoy some time in Australia and the surrounding area. She has done very good work for us, produced many WikiVet pages from the CABI datasheets and their associated flashcards. She also worked on the Manson questions and started to explore integration of WikiVet pages into Wikipedia.

Before she left, she produced a document outlining her experiences working for WikiVet and the OVAL project and useful tips for anyone that would carry on with the work. You can see her thoughts here: WikiVet Hints and Tips.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

First Resources Reviewed

The review process of the pages created from the CABI datasheets and the flashcards from Manson question and answer book is now started. We have two pages already reviewed:

Bovine Ephemeral Fever

Enzootic Pneumonia of Pigs

One of the Manson books is now ready too:

Equine Orthopaedics and Rheumatology

Have a look and let us know what you think.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Nottingham Student Focus Group

We held a small focus group on July 12, 2011 to find out what students think about the content and resources provided on WikiVet via the OVAL project so far. Seven students attended, a mixture of about to graduate students and current fourth years.

Overall, the impression was good. It looks like we are on the right tracks with both the content and resources we have created so far. Small improvements were suggested, e.g. keep questions and answers short within the flashcards and keep to the key points only. This is really only relevant to the flashcards we are producing from the CABI datasheet content as the Manson flashcards cannot be changed.

The main issue identified was that it is not widely known that WikiVet contains resources. Most students think of it as an encyclopaedia style information repository. Even the name (WikiVet) doesn't encourage thinking otherwise. We need to work on advertising the resources more obviously from the front page and each content page. The work regarding this had already started so hopefully we will see some improvement in the awareness soon.

It looked like creating podcasts from the content will be appreciated. Some students mentioned that they already listen to recordings of lectures whilst driving. Audio resources containing only the key information and avoiding anything that is difficult to follow, e.g. referring to an image that cannot be seen, will be preferential to these. More thoughts from the focus group can be seen here.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

WikiVet Pre-Conference Workshop

The workshop on July 12 was a success. During the morning session Nick explained the general concept and how WikiVet started, followed by Barbora briefly talking through the current content development. Gemma showed her Spanish version of the site in progress and Chris concluded with a showcase of our learning resources.

Following a short break we asked the delegates to discuss what they think should be our priorities for the developments in the near future. It clearly transpired that we need to have a 'roadmap' so that we do not get distracted with too many things and that we are clear in what it is we would like to achieve in small steps. Sky is the limit really but we need to aim there a bit by bit. The issue of expert review process was also mentioned and the need for it if we would like WikiVet to be supported and advertised by university lectures. More thoughts from the focus group.

After lunch the delegates were shown how to edit the wiki, upload pictures and provide both internal and external links. The team and some of the delegates then enjoyed an evening meal at he local pub.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Using Creative Commons to get the most of OERs

E-Health 2011 Conference Report

Speakers: Gillian Brown, Centre for Medicine, Dentistry & Veterinary Medicine (MEDEV)
Gillian Brown, from the Centre for Medicine, Dentistry & Veterinary Medicine (MEDEV) talks about the risks associated with OER and the value of Creative Commons to protect against copyright infringement.
Gillian first defined OER and invited us to explore how we can make OERs more accessible.
Ten to 15 years ago it was fantastic to use PowerPoint Presentations instead of overhead projectors,” she said. “Lecturers thought it was great. The material could be uploaded, they could copy and past images and show them to students.
Along came mobile phones and MP3 players, and students were downloading these files to their devices,” she says. “Then came social networking, and students found lectures so interesting that they started uploading content onto their profiles on the Internet.”
And here began the problem, because this raised serious copyright issues. “Within your VLE limited numbers of people saw it so it wasn’t really an issue, but once material is published online without permission then this becomes a problem.
OER was developed to sort out the kind of issues that arise with sharing material online, and it aims to promote best practice in this area. “These are resources with an open licenses to reuse and repurpose as you see fit,” says Gillian. “It’s not about re-inventing the wheel,” she adds. “It’s about sharing with colleagues and peers, and finding aspects that are useful for you and inserting it into your learning resources.
So what are the benefits of using OER? “Emerging evidence shows that the time staff spends on resources can be reduced by 50% by engaging with OER. Students also save time and money.
As Gillian explains, teaching staff need to arm themselves with the right information so they can understand and manage the risks associated with using OER, and in order to to make the most from OERs there are considerations to be taken into account. “What if you move institution?” says Gillian. “Cab you take the material with you? Do you own the copyright, or is it owned by the university?”
Or what if you got promoted? Are you entitled to use your predecessor’s work that they left behind?
Copyright is key with OER,” she says. “Creative Commons is a legal statement outlining what you can and can’t do with copyrighted work. It is the way to guard yourself against copyright infringement. And if you train your staff on how to create resources that are safeguarded against being sued for copyright infringement this will filter down to the students.
Websites of Interest

WikiVet - A New Model For Sharing OER

E-Health Conference 2011 Report

Speaker: Nick Short, Head of eMedia Unit at the Royal Veterinary College, London
During this session, Nick Short, from the Royal Veterinary College in London talked about WikiVet, a comprehensive OER resource for vets.
As Nick explains, WikiVet was established in 2007 using the Wiki framework to allow online collaboration and store resources. “Uploading into a repository can be clunky, and we wanted to avoid duplication,” he explains.
There was mixed funding, from the HEA, JISC, even the Donkey Sanctuary! A lot of people came in to fund this project,” he says. And now the site has grown to include over 4000 pages of information. “All the content is authored by student and recent graduates, and the web orientated content is accessibile via the web and mobile phone interfaces,” he adds.
It’s huge! And it’s indexed in a very intelligent way,” he says. “There’s a lot of different ways to access the content. The key think is to make the information easy to find for our target audience.
With 11,000 registered users and an average of 50 new users joining per day, the success of this project is clear.
All the content is OER compliant, and there are translations, with students translating the content,” he says. “It’s an international resource and we have international partners. Everybody seems to want to get involved.”
After the obvious success of the WikiVet resource, Nick feels that wider questions now need to be answered. “Do we really need an international audience? I don’t know the answer to this. And the issue of commercial partnership is also an interesting challenge. For example, would we be comfortable having Big Pharma involved?”
Ultimately, these issues raise the question – can OERs have a commercial value. “It’s great to share, but can we ever sell them?” he concludes.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Presentation at e-Health Conference 28th June 2011

The presentation examined a collaborative model for sharing OERs between veterinary schools through a wiki.  The session described the lessons learnt from the JISC funded Opening Veterinary Access to Literature (OVAL) project. This is intended to trigger discussion as to how academic institutions can collaborate effectively with commercial publishers in the development of free to access learning resources.
The intended learning outcomes include an appreciation of the issues involved in sharing OERs and the application of the MEDEV OOER toolkit to support this process. More specifically, the session discussed how OERs can be adapted from existing published texts to generate educationally valuable, quality resources which are open access.
The WikiVet project has now been running for a 4 year period. In that time over 10,000 individuals have registered with the site representing over 198 veterinary schools from 68 countries. The presentation explained how the WikiVet environment has assisted in the publishing of OERs in an accessible format. A comparison was made with other approaches to repositories for OERs including JORUM and the case was made for new thinking on the most effective publishing models for the future.
The relevance of this session to the wider healthcare community includes exposure to new working practices which help address current shortfalls in funding for resource development. This will include developing business models which facilitate collaboration between corporate partners and academia with benefits for both.
To date review and evaluation of the project has been limited to feedback from small focus groups and statistical review of site usage. The session explored ways that these OER initiatives can improve feedback and evaluation in order to better focus provision on the needs of an international audience.
Further information on WikiVet and the OVAL project can be found at A compilation of key blogs relating to OERs is available on the MEDEV site at

Scase, T., Brown, G., Cox, B., Short, N., Smith, K., Whittlestone, K., Hammond, R. and Rhind, S. (2008) 'The WikiVet community of practice', The Academy Subject Centre for Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine Newsletter 01, no. 17, Autumn 2008 pp. 15-16. ISSN 1740-8768 Also available online at: accessed [5 May 2011], ISSN 1479-523X.
Brown, G., Quentin-Baxter, M. and Belshaw, Z. (2010) ‘WikiVet: building a community of practice to support a self-sustaining wiki for veterinary education’, Int. J. Web Based Communities, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp.183–196.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Life in Spain and Working for OVAL (by Gemma Gaitskell - Phillips)

Living in Madrid and being involved with WikiVet has its problems and its advantages. Personally I think the advantages far outweigh the problems from both work and personal points of view! Being based here will definitely be an advantage as the Spanish site grows in terms of being able to visit and liaise with Spanish vets and vetschools which we hope will gradually become more involved as the site becomes more populated. Already I made a trip to Murcia to speak to the students who are going to be involved with the translation of the anatomy section over the summer and am in contact with a vet in Madrid who is keen to help with translation of the more clinically orientated articles. Spanish reference resources such as text books and libraries are also far more accessible form a Spanish base.
The downside is that communication has to be mainly via Skype, which although a brilliant tool can occasionally be a little bit temperamental! The advent of video calls means that I can feel just as much a part of the team as if I was in London! Face to face communication is always the ideal but this is the next best thing. As far as work on other aspects of the project go I don’t think that location has much of an effect, save perhaps if there is query and having to email or Skype to try and find out the answer. Last, but not least, the weather is definitely a huge bonus!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Datasheet progress

The datasheets are first selected by CABI according to the top world diseases. From the list they send us I choose the most appropriate diseases according to how much, if any, content is already available on WikiVet. The selected datasheets are then copied into a word document. These word documents I share with the team members via Dropbox. This is very useful as it allows us to share a regular looking folder on line. As we all work in different places, it makes our life much easier. I also create or tag the relevant page within WikiVet and put it in a 'To Do' category from where the team members select them to work on.

The work of the team members involves picking out the most relevant information from the CABI datasheets and  putting it into the relevant WikiVet page. If the original WikiVet page already contained some information, this is seamlessly integrated to provide text that is suitable for the veterinary undergraduate or recent graduate level. We do not aim to cover everything there is to know about a disease as there are other online places more suited to this, such as the original CABI datasheets. In case there is some information missing from the datasheets, this is then complemented by other sources.

Another major part of the team member's work is to create flashcards for their pages. This is a question and answer style of a page that encourages students to first think about the question before the answer is revealed to them. It works along the same line as the Manson flashcards but is specific to the information provided by the converted datasheet.

Once the team members are happy with their work, they put the pages into a category for me to review. I then look through them, add links, redirect all the 'also known as' terms so that whichever name of a disease a student searches for they land on the correct page. I also correct any typing errors that become obvious and check that the page conforms to the WikiVet style.

So far there have been quite a few pages completed and I will share a sample with you soon.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Manson Flashcards selection process

One part of the OVAL Project has been to integrate questions from Manson Publishing's series of Self-Assessment Colour Review books. Manson kindly agreed to open access to 10% of the questions within each of these books and have them integrated into WikiVet in a 'flashcard' format. This format enables the user to view a picture, then there are some questions related to that image (often of a case). The user can click to reveal the answer, and then follow a link to the relevant WikiVet article. The tricky part of this process is to select which questions to choose, as there are some really great questions!

A Veterinary graduate has been reading through the books and shortlisted questions that would be most suitable for incorporation into WikiVet. A number of criteria have been used to select the best questions, some of which include:
  • The questions do not give away the answer
  • The questions are relevant to a global audience
  • The image is of a high quality and is integral to the question
  • The answer is sufficiently succinct and in a format that is easily readable
  • There are only 1 or 2 images as part of the question
Once these questions and images have been shortlisted, the next task involves selecting which will represent the book. Time is taken ensuring that the questions represent an appropriate spread across the topic that reflects the importance of the different problems represented. It is hoped that the 10% of questions selected give a good representation of the book itself and the topic. Some of these questions can be viewed at

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Project Steering Group Meeting

Today we had another very useful steering group meeting. Representatives of all the partners were involved and some good ideas were bounced about and agreed. The most interesting will probably be the inclusion of links from Wikipedia to the WikiVet pages formed from the CABI datasheets that will be open to the public and making podcast versions of them.

For more information see the meeting minutes.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

New team members started

We have employed two new team members to help with the workload of adapting the CABI datasheets for WikiVet purposes. They are from the first cohort of veterinary graduates from the University of Nottingham. The selection process involved the usual CV and cover letter as well as a little task of re-purposing a CABI datasheet into the WikiVet style. For this task that was done just in a word document as it would really not be fair to ask people to do that directly in a wiki! They now had their training session, which went really well, they learned how to edit WikiVet and clarified what format we are looking for. Now they have selected topics from a list and are working on their first pages.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Beyond Collections

Two members of our team attended the Beyond Collections conference in Oxford yesterday. Some successful projects were discussed there giving us some pointers and ideas for WikiVet. Even though the WikiVet project is a bit different because we cannot source from the general public as such but only from within the veterinary profession, it was still very useful to see how others succeeded in their tasks.

I found it particularly useful to see that the word 'crowdsourcing' may not be the best to use as I have always struggled with what exactly it means. It was good to see that people found that providing easy ways for people to contribute increased their volunteer input. We have tried various easy editors for our wiki but so far there were too may glitches to keep that going. It is definitely worth pursuing it further though.

The ethics of using volunteer input is also something to keep in mind and the fact that some projects found that 'user awards' also increased the volunteer motivation.

And finally, I was really encouraged by the idea of providing audio versions of content. One of our team has suggested that very recently too and the fact that others found it very useful for their projects was motivating to pursue the idea further.

Monday, 23 May 2011

The CABI List

At the end of April, we had a very productive meeting with Robert Taylor, CABI representative, and agreed the following: CABI will provide a list of diseases that have been researched the most in the past twenty years and have suitable datasheets, WikiVet will select diseases from that list to appropriately fit into the WikiVet site. The 'new' information sheet within WikiVet will be written/adapted. CABI will provide abstracts of about 5 key references for each of those new sheets (there may be a possibility to extend this to other WV pages). Small subset of these sheets (details to be confirmed, possibly 10-20) will be integrated either by part or whole into Wikipedia as a test run to enhance traffic to both CABI and WV sites. CABI may be asked to try to obtain permission from authors to use selected images (details to be confirmed).

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The OER Toolkit

Today we had a Skype call about the Open Educational Resources (OER) toolkit. It was very useful and cleared up some confusion. We agreed that the toolkit is very useful for people that are new to open publishing and provides good pointers for what needs to be looked at. Once someone has been through it a few times, they do not have to keep using it for every resource as they will already be familiar with the issues they are likely to encounter.

As part of the OVAL project we will be looking at adapting the toolkit for the veterinary profession as some of the language used and topics discussed for the medical toolkit are not really appropriate. So watch this space!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Repurposing text books to flash cards

Chris, one of our team members, has taken on the communications with Manson Publishing. He has been going through their Self-Assessment Colour Review series of books.  These feature great images of cases with questions asking about the case.  Manson publishing have given WikiVet permission to use 10% of their material from these books on the site, so Chris has spent time going through these books and selecting the best range of questions.  These cases have then been integrated into WikiVet’s flashcard format, which allows the user to think about an answer before revealing it.  We have also been creating links from these cases and answers to articles within WikiVet, so that the leaner can read more information on the topic if required.