Three weeks without a noise from the Web Services blog! How have you coped, dear reader?! We’ve got lots going on with some exciting developments you’ll hear about over the coming few weeks but I’m going to talk about something that’s probably not quite as exciting to most people!
Before Christmas we submitted a proposal for JISC funding for a mini-project looking into implementing and testing the XCRI format. XCRI is an application of XML which is designed for exchanging course information between organisations. For example universities could provide a feed of courses to websites which aggregate course information, reducing the need to retype information.
I’m happy to say that we heard just before the holiday that our proposal was accepted! So now the work begins on integrating XCRI into our systems. This isn’t as hard as it might be – part of the work we’re doing redeveloping the corporate website is on the eProspectus and we’re working on ensuring from the start that all the information required to output valid XCRI feeds is available from the start.
About a week ago I attended the JISC CETIS Joint Portfolio SIG and Enterprise SIG Meeting at Manchester Met. I didn’t really know what to expect but there was a session outlining the XCRI project and developments from last year so I thought it would be useful.
The first morning session was from Peter Rees Jones about ePortfolios and how HE can integrate better with companies. More acronyms than you can shake a stick at, but many interesting thoughts.
Same for John Harrison’s session on “Personal Information Brokerage”. Some obvious comparisons with OpenID, but more than that offers. Edentity clearly think that Education (and delivery companies!) have the capacity to act as a hub for implementing some of the systems they propose. Personally, I suspect that the commercial sector will do more than they give it credit for. Looking at the criteria for selection:
- Need for further data sharing
- Clear organisational boundaries
- Capacity for collective action
John marked them down on 3 and 4 but I disagree. If that doesn’t describe Google, Amazon, Yahoo and a bunch of other online companies (including most that get a “Web 2.0” label), I don’t know what does. Okay, standards may be slow to establish at times, but when there’s the will it can happen!
So on to XCRI. There were a few presentations from people explaining the XCRI standard and how its been implemented in institutions. Mark Stubbs gave a good overview of the standard, where it’s come from and where it’s going. I’ve been using a useful diagram handout showing the proposed XCRI-CAP 1.1 schema for the last week to check that what we’re developing for the eProspectus is heading along the right lines.
A few of the last round of XCRI mini projects displayed their work – the University of Bolton probably most closely matching the work we’re doing at Edge Hill. They’ve not yet launched their new site but I’m keeping an eye out for it!