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This help page is designed to assist you to use the repository. It is divided into four sections, and you can jump straight to these from these links:

If you have any queries or comments about the OSIER repository, you can e-mail the project administration (link to be supplied).

1. How to use the OSIER repository site

This section introduces you to the OSIER site and provides you with the information that you will need to use the site to find and share resources. If you want to find out more about the project, go to the About page.

Although anyone can download resources from the site, you need to have a user account and be logged in if you wish to use some parts of the site, including the ability to add new resources.

This page and others will use a number of terms such as 'resources' and 'metadata' that have specific meanings in the context of this site. If you are in doubt about these, you can access a full description.

You can download a print version of this complete section.

1.1. An introduction to the site

The OSIER repository site is designed to allow users to share resources relating to training and professional development for teachers in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Global Citizenship.

A resource comprises one or more files or URLs plus a single set of metadata. You can find out more about resources in Section 2 of this page. Resources are made available under the terms of Creative Commons licences, that specify the way that they can be used and distributed without infringing copyright.

Any user can search for resources and download them. Registered users have a user account. When they are logged in, they can use additional features of the site, including commenting on resources, creating resource collections, and adding new resources to the site.

1.2. How to set up a user account

Any user can set up a user account on the OSIER site. The process is simple, and involves the submission of a number of data that form the basis of a user profile.

Download a step-by-step guide | View a tutorial |

1.3. How to find resources held in the repository

There are several ways to find resources contained within the repository. All of the search links are located on the site home page, and you can search for resources without needing to be logged in.

The simple search box allows you to enter a search term and find any resources that contain the term in their resource description or metadata or filename.

The advanced search link is located underneath the simple search box, and is also accessed using the Search link in the main navigation tabs. Either link opens a new page that contains a listing of the metadata terms as a series of search fields. You can select any of these terms to produce a specific search that uses the terms used to describe resources when they are deposited.

You can visit the advanced search page now.

There are also pages that allow you to browse resources by author or by tag (keyword). In both cases, the lists are alphabetical, and you can only select one search term at a time.

There is a tag cloud that contains the most popular tags.

Any search will take you to a page that displays all resources that meet the search criteria. You can then go direct to the page for any resource, and can download files. You do not need to log in to search or download.

1.4. How to add new resources to the repository

Only a registered user who is logged into the repository can add a resource. The depositor is usually the resource author, but this is not mandatory. The resource author may be better placed to supply the metadata for their resources.

As soon as the depositor elects to add a resource, a new resource placeholder is created. This has a unique web address (URL).

Resource files can be added by browsing to any drive or network device accessible from your computer. This can include archive files (zip) as well as single files and URLs for external resources. The depositor will also have the option to add an audio file describing the resource, or a text description based on a template that can be downloaded from the resource upload page.

The remainder of the upload page consists of an online form for the depositor to complete the resource metadata, and a link to select the publication status. There are help links with each of the metadata sections.

The depositor can return later to the upload form to add data or make changes.

Download a step-by-step guide | View a tutorial |

1.5. How to build a resource collection

You may find it helpful to group together related resources that you find useful. This might be simply because they cover the same topic, or because they can be used together to cover a new topic.

In order to create a collection, you need to be a registered user and logged in. Open the Upload page using the tab in the main navigation. On the new page, open 'New Collection'. You can select resources for the collection using a simple search of all of the published resources, by browsing the list of resources that you have deposited, or by browsing the list of resources that you have bookmarked previously.

A collection has supporting data comprising a title, overview and tags (keywords). It can be published or private.

Download a step-by-step guide | View a tutorial |

1.6 Commenting on resources

The value of resources is enhanced by comments, where users can share their experience of using a resource, suggest extension or additional context, or link to other materials.

Each resource and collection page has a space for comments, at the bottom of the left hand side of the page. Existing comments are displayed below a text-entry window. In order to write a comment, you need to have a user account and be logged in.

Recording a comment is a simple matter of adding the comment to the text-entry window, then clicking the ‘Add Comment’ button underneath. The comment will then be displayed. You can edit or delete your own comments.

The comment box has a ‘Notes’ tab. Notes are private records for a user, and cannot be viewed by other users. If you wish to share your comment, make sure that you complete the ‘Comments’ tab (which is the default view), rather than ‘Notes’.

Download a step-by-step guide |

‘Personalizing’ OSIER

The OSIER site contains several features that enable users to enhance the value of the resources and the site. These include:

  • Bookmarking resources
  • Adding personal notes to resources (see also previous section)
  • Saving and re-using searches, including automated e-mail notification
  • Creating personal resource collections

You can download an introduction to personalizing the site |

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2. Guide to resources

In this section, you will find information about resources, including guidance on preparation of resources and their metadata, copyright and IPR, and resource publication.

You can download a print version of this complete section, including a full specification of the project metadata.

2.1. The different resource types in the repository

The OSIER repository will accept a wide range of resource types, including several different file formats and hyperlinks (URLs) for online materials.

A single resource may consist of one or more items with their associated metadata. A resource containing several items may include different file types.

File types can include text (word processor and text processor files), HTML (HyperText Mark-up Language), image, audio, video, animation, presentation and spreadsheet. Archive files (eg ZIP) can also be resource items. There is no restriction on the type of file that can be uploaded to the repository, but not all file types can be previewed within the site.

If URLs are submitted as resources, the depositor should be confident that the link will remain current and is openly accessible (ie does not require user authentication for access). A URL would normally be accompanied by some other item, such as a brief explanation of how it is used and why it has been submitted (see Section 2.5). It should be clearly understood that the OSIER project is not responsible for the content of external sites (see Terms and Conditions).

2.2 OSIER resource guidelines

OSIER resources need to meet project criteria in relation to:

We have made a significant effort to ensure that the repository site is usable for the great majority of users, irrespective of difficulties with using online technologies (see the Accessibility Statement. We hope that depositors will follow guidelines to carry this approach into the resources themselves.

We have compiled a series of guidance notes relating to four common file types, and these can be downloaded from the repository. We recommend strongly that authors and depositors follow the suggestions in the short checklist. The longer guide is based on statements of good practice from several sources and as such is very much more exhaustive. It is provided for information and assistance with the preparation of new materials, rather than being intended to indicate project requirements.

2.3. Licensing your resources

Resources released through OSIER need to be covered by a Creative Commons (CC) licence, which forms part of the metadata for the resource. CC licences allow users to use or repurpose resources under specific circumstance. There are various types of CC licences, that specify whether a resource can be used freely only for non-commercial purposes, for example.

A full list of CC licences can be found on the Creative Commons website. OSIER encourages depositors to opt for CC-BY-NC-SA (attribution - non-commercial share-alike), but accepts that this may not always be possible. An ND (no derivatives) licence means that a resource must be used in the form that it is downloaded. Whilst this may be necessary for a few resources, the project discourages the use of ND licences because it prevents the re-purposing of resources.

If a resource includes more than one file (see Section 2.1.), the CC licence selected in the resource metadata must apply to all components of the resource. If this cannot be done and you wish to associate files contained in separate resources, you can use a collection to do this. You could also include the repository URL for related resources as items in a resource.

2.4. Copyright and IPR

Authors and depositors should be aware of copyright and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). A CC licence is not a substitute for copyright, and it is the responsibility of authors and depositors to ensure that their resources do not contravene existing copyright or IPR, and that they can justifiably apply a CC licence. This forms part of the Terms and Conditions for use of the site. OSIER operates a Take-down Policy to respond to any instances where a user indicates that a resource infringes copyright.

OSIER encourages authors and depositors to include a copyright and CC statement within each resource item. Template files are available for the project default CC licence for use in word processor documents and derived PDF files, presentations and spreadsheets.

Guidance on copyright and IPR is included in the OSIER resource guidelines.

2.5. Tagging and metadata

In order to allow visitors to the site to search efficiently for resources, OSIER encourages the full description of each resource. It has designed a metadata protocol that enables depositors to provide information that describes the resource in a standardised way and allows efficient searching by key terms. The metadata are specific to project, and have been designed to reflect the nature and subject coverage of the resource contained in the repository. Where feasible, the project has sought to supply standard descriptors both to ensure consistency and facilitate searching.

OSIER acknowledges that completing metadatanis an additional burden on depositors, and has sought to keep the load within sensible limits whilst at the same time creating an effective resource description within the context of the project. The resource upload page also includes a link to a separate template word processor document that can be completed by a depositor to provide further contextual information around a resource. Alternatively, depositors can submit an audio description of a resource, in which case the template may act as a useful guide.

The OSIER metadata also meet the requirements of the UK Jorum OER repository. The URL for each OSIER resource is added to Jorum Open, along with the necessary metadata.

2.6. Publication status of a resource

When a depositor creates a new resource, its default publication status is 'private', which means that it is accessible only to the depositor. It will not appear in searches undertaken by other users, irrespective of whether they are logged in or not.

If the depositor fails to complete the metadata for the resource (see previous section), the publication status is 'in progress'. Again, this resource will not be accessible to other users.

The depositor can select the 'public' publication status, in which case the resource becomes accessible to any user on the site. A depositor cannot make a resource public when its status is 'in progress'.

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3. OSIER policy documents

This section contains links to three pages that you can also access from any page on the site.

3.1. Take-down Policy

The Take-down Policy explains how the OSIER project will deal with a complaint that a resource infringes copyright or otherwise is inappropriate. A depositor should be aware of the contents of the take-down policy, which would be invoked if one of his/her resources is challenged.

You can download a print version of the Take-down Policy.

3.2. Terms and Conditions

The Terms and Conditions sets out the conditions for using the repository. In particular, it describes the responsibilities of users. The Take-down Policy forms a part of the Terms and Conditions.

You can download a print version of the Terms and Conditions.

3.3. Accessibility statement

UK legislation requires that the project makes reasonable effort to ensure that the project repository can be used by all users. We have incorporated various aspects of site design to make it easier for some users to access the site, including different contrast styles. This and help for users is contaied in the Accessibility Statement.

We also ask depositors to follow project guidelines to provide similar help to site users for individual resources (see Section 2.2).

You can download a print version of the site Accessibility Statement (link to be provided).

4. Glossary

The glossary not only provides definitions of the terms used in the repository, but provides a useful explanation of how several features of the site are implemented.

You can download a print version of this complete section.

4.1. Users

Visitor A visitor to the site is an unregistered user who will be able to browse, view and download open resources. A visitor has no access to deposit or modify resources. To have such permissions on the repository, a visitor needs to register and be logged in.
Depositor The depositor is the person responsible for uploading the resource to the repository. A depositor may be the author/co-author of the resource or they may be another individual acting on behalf of the author(s).
Depositors are registered users of the repository and must be logged in to add or modify a resource in the repository
Author The author(s) is the person(s) who has produced the resource that is being shared. Their details can be added in the 'Authors' metadata field and the resource will appear on their personal profile page.
An author has no default access to the system: they must have a user account, and be logged in, in order to add or modify a resource.

4.2. User accounts and registration

User account A user account can be created by any bona fide user and allows access to all features of the repository.
Registered user A registered user is one with an existing user account, which includes a username and password used to log into the repository.
Personal profile When a user creates a user account, personal data supplied as part of the account creation are saved as a personal profile. A registered user can make changes to their personal profile, and can elect to publish the profile or keep it private. By default, a profile will be private when created.
Unregistered user An unregistered user does not have a user account, and can only use the repository as a visitor.

4.3. Resources

Item An entity that forms part of a resource. An item may be:
  • An individual file (such as a presentation, word processor file, video file, audio file)
  • A zip-compressed file (possibly used to pack together a suite of files)
  • A group of files, such as a small website, where one file is the entry point for the group
  • A URL (weblink) for a resource located on the web outside the repository

In addition, OSIER has two classes of items that are designed to supplement the data associated with a resource. These are:
  • A pre-recorded audio commentary on the resource
  • An extended description (composed using a MS Word template document downloaded from the site)

Each item has associated data that are added automatically when it is uploaded to the repository.
Metadata A suite of data that describes the resource as a whole, so applies to all of the items within it. Metadata are added to the resource at the same time as items are uploaded. Some metadata are generated automatically.
Resource An object that comprises one or more items and one set of metadata.

4.4. Publication status of resources

In progress A new resource is created as soon as the resource creation process is initiated. A resource that has the status 'In progress' is currently incomplete, and cannot be seen by any user other than the depositor and repository administrator.
Private A resource that is complete but is not released to users of the repository has the status 'Private'. The resource can only be accessed by the depositor or repository administrator.
Public A resource that is both complete and has been released for access has the status 'Public'. The resource can be accessed by any user, irrespective of their registration and whether they are logged in.

4.5. Comments and notes

Comments Registered users who are logged in can add comments to a resource or collection in the repository. Comments are public and can be viewed by all users.
Notes Registered users who are logged in can add notes to a resource or collection in the repository. Notes are private and can be viewed only by that user.

4.6. Collections

Collection A collection is a group of resources in the repository that have some form of relationship to one another.
A collection can only be created by a registered user of the repository.
As with a resource, a collection contains a set of metadata fields.
A collection may contain any published resources that exist in the repository.
A collection cannot contain other collections, only resources.
In the same way as a resource, a collection can be set to be viewable by the depositor only or to be available to all users.

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