This blog post relates to my study of Open Educational Resources as part of my Emerging Technologies for Learning Program of study at the University of Manitoba. Instructions for this week in my course are to:
…critique a library web site near you (you can use University of Manitoba Libraries, or your own institutional library, or somewhere else). Are libraries repositories or referactories? Can you find examples of both (a library that is a repository, and a library that is referactory). Rant on your blog for this week.
It’s not often that I am instructed to rant on my blog, so let’s get to it. Firstly, what is the difference between repository and referatory? The following is an excerpt from Instructional Repositories and Referatories by Joseph Hart and Bob Albrecht published by Educause in 2004. They have the following to say about defining these terms:
Even the terms repository and referatory are used somewhat differently by different authors; some writers restrict the term repository to online collections that contain the learning materials and use the term referatory to describe online collections of links to learning materials. Within this definition, MERLOT would be a referatory, not a repository, because it contains no learning materials itself, only pointers to sites where materials are stored. In this bulletin we use the term repository more broadly to include sites that contain points, while using referatory to describe sites that contain guidelines and links to repositories. (http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERB0405.pdf)
This definition is in contradiction to Wikipedia which states:
A referatory is the name given to a web application system (also known as a database-driven website). It provides information such as the name and description, reviews, and hyperlinks (metadata) to resources or learning objects in a Publishing Repository. The repository provides the actual resource files, while the referatory is a website pointing at the resources. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referatory)
Okay, so what does it mean to me? I tend to like the latter definition because it seems less vague to me. In the Educause report, they “… use the term repository more broadly to include sites that contain points.” Huh?
So I am critiquing my insitution’s library in terms of whether it is a repository or referatory type service. Might I say at the outset that I think our Library does a very good job with the amount of resources, both financial and human (no librarian jokes here :)) that they have at their disposal. In terms of critiquing, I am considering all audiences to the library, rather than just teachers.
So is CQUniversity’s Library a repository or a referatory? Answer: both.
As a referatory service, the Library has:
- the usual hardcopy catalogue search
- online journal database search
- local newspaper article index
- likely other searchable indices of publishing repositories.
As a repository service, the Library has:
- a collection of learning objects for teachers and students. Their premier repository service is Libguides. These are guides for all manner of topics primarily for students, many of which can be re-used by teachers in their courses.
- course resources online – a collection of digitised copyright journal articles, book chapters and so on, that are available for enrolled students under the provisions of the Australian Copyright Act
- a service called Compass which “… guides you through the skills necessary to access and use the numerous information resources available via the Library.”