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April 29, 2013 In: Old Case Studies Written by: Master Editor

About The National Digital Learning Repository (NDLR)

The National Digital Learning Repository (NDLR) provides services and support to enable the sharing of digital learning content and teaching experience across Universities, Institutes of Technologies and associated Colleges funded by the HEA. The NDLR mission is “to promote and support Higher Education sector staff in the collaboration, development and sharing of learning resources and associate teaching practices”. The NDLR provides an online repository to support collaboration and sharing of teaching and learning resources within the Irish Third Level Education sector.

DSpace, the best technology for the job The team running the National Digital learning repository are dedicated to pushing up the standards of teaching and learning in Ireland. This includes using the best possible technology to support their initiatives. Following an initial pilot between 2004 – 2009, the project team conducted a project review to identify areas for improvement during the roll-out stage. These included setting up communities of practice to help drive content into the repository, addressing referencing issues and taking advantage of developments in repository technology by moving to the DSpace platform as the technology of choice for the project.

Key DSpace Features:

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Bring in the Bespoke Experts The NDLR project team chose to work with Enovation Solutions because of their extensive repository expertise with other Universities in Ireland and their proven background meeting client’s specific business and technology requirements with open source technology and managed services. Enovation worked with the NDLR team to deliver the DSpace enhancements as outlined in their project review documentation. The main requirements included providing a more community interface to the site, enhancing the storage capability and allowing access through separate websites. Enovation started working on the project in August 2009 with an official launch in April 2010. An outline of requirements and services are details below.

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imagesReferencing – all about Creative Commons The success of a repository depends largely on the content and materials being uploaded. It also about making people aware that by bringing together their collective resources they can raise the profile of the work both in Ireland and aboard. However, referencing has been a barrier to the success of repositories because of fear that resources might get passed on for commercial use. Enovation Solutions worked with the NDLR to implement creative commons licensing in the NDLR site. This means that the repository can contain materials for which the user has copywrite over and users agree that anyone in higher education can access the materials for educational non-profit purposes, on the condition that somewhere they acknowledge the original author, called attribution. This clear licensing structure has encouraged more users to upload content into the site.



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“DSpace had made huge advancements since we started the project in 2004. It had increased storage functionality, a bulk upload facility and an option for search and retrieval so users didn’t have to go into the repository. It was exactly what we needed to bring the project to the next level.” Catherine de Bruen, NDLR Project Coordinator

“Enovation Solutions punch above their weight in terms of open source development support in the education sector. We have worked with them on other projects over the years and they are experts at delivering bespoke solutions.” Catherine de Bruen, NDLR Project Coordinator

“Ireland is now ahead of its European counterparts in terms of the repository technology. This is evident when you look at the NDLR project and their approach to not just the technology but teaching and learning practices. The success of the project has everything got to do with the team’s energy and enthusiasm for collaborative learning and their belief in the power of the collective.” Gavin Henrick, Solutions Consultant. Enovation Solutions