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.