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  • Design Lenses, 13 December 2010
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  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. Notetaker volunteers? Dec 13 Etherpad:
  3.  Today's topics:  Re-conceptualization of the institutional directory.

Meeting Notes

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  • Lynn Ward, Indiana
  • Daphne, Berkeley
  • Josh Baron, Marist College
  • David Goodrum, Indiana
  • Debbie Runshe, IU/IUPUI
  • Ann Jensen, TX State 
  • Robin Hill, Wyoming
  • Clay Fenlason, Atlanta
  • Jon Hays, Berkeley


Potential Discussion topics:

  • How could you see a directoty/hierarchy being used at your institution?
  • Using directory/hiearchy to browse, what would you expect to find after clicking "X" Department?
  • What about multiple hiearchies? (more than academic hieararchy)?
  • Who is responsible for creating the relationships?
  • Who is responsible for creating & maintaining?
  • How is it curated?  
  • The idea of individuals placing content, groups, etc. into the hierarchy.
  • does framework make sense to individuals?
  • is it safe to just let anyone add the relationship?
  • How does it work with existing websites (open education)?

Clay: What's the incentive for attaching to the hieararchy?  This hierarchy is the way that the institution (or the administration) thinks of itself, but not necessarily the way individual people organize their work, yet it's the individuals we're asking to associate their stuff with the directory.  Can imagine the purpose the directory serves to be implemented in a completely different names.

What's in it for individuals?

  • make it findable/browsable later

David:  Might have public (informal) directoies that anyone can assign content to as well as formal managed directoroes.

Josh:  institutions that are committed to OER would be inclined to do this; other institutions may not be comfortable; Web services group may be involved in deciding what gets opened up to the public.

Clay: action of asociating content with the hierarchy is managed. Maybe the ambition is to reduce the cost of OER license vetting.

Josh: may need to be support for intermediate steps:  need workflows and process without going full throttle.  This is about making content open, not just about the directory.

David:  May want to have a separate gateway page that is the gateway to open content.


  • 1st use case Interested in how student groups will be able to market themselves, Sakai OAE as a social space in which groups can market themelves.  
  • 2nd use case:  post syllabus & allow people to look for courses & course material.

Robin:  hierarchy carries information; may be necessary to attach items to more than ine place.

Clay:  one way in which this is attractive to administrators: about delegating control to departments; department can put their personal stamp on things; more of an administrative problem than something that emerges from crowd-sourced association-making.  e.g. Math department wants to put up a respository of stuff that Math teachers around the state can use.  

Doesn't emerge from trusting a bunch of individual people to start linking their own content.

Josh:  Thinking about what users get when they drill down into the directory is important.  Following a path to Public health... that takes you to an empty page will be furstrating.

David:  New territory (directory where there aren't any now) is probably the value.  People aren't goign to abandon sites and structures.

What else might a directory be useful for? 

  • Josh: Marist already has a people directory, but might want to the existing people directory to link to or suck in information about a person from Sakai OAE.  
  • Likely there are already existing institutional directories that could pull in info from Sakai.
  • EXAMPLE:  U of M has a people directory where you can search for faculty, staff, etc. (see  I think it might be powerful to have Sakai "directory" data available to be "ingested" into existing diretories rather then always replacing or providing a secondary directory.  When I do a search in U of M's directory for a faculty member it would be nice if I had the option of also viewing which courses they teach, access to the syllabi, sample lecture notes, a list of their "colleagues" (which might flow from the academic networks they are part of). etc.   My point is that we need to integrate Sakai directory data with existing institutional directories.
  • Suggestion > It might be useful to survey what directories are used at institutions today to better understand what exists and we need to possibly integrate with vs. what doesn't exist.

Clay:  in order for this to take off, we need to be able to use the directory to finds things in ways that can't be done--highlight connections that are hard to discovere via the traditional hierarchy of the institution.  Valuable as part of the public experience.  Bring to light other connections that could be used in interesting ways.

David:  Directory can facilitate Google indexing of content.  A place to put content where they know it would be crawlable.

Clay:  Directory can be used to drill down as well as to drill up (discovering other bigger things about the institution as the result of finding content).

Daphne:  if it's too much work for indiviuals to put istuff in the directory, whu would do the work.

Josh:  some could be done automatically.

Robin:  Some has to be done manually.

Daphne:  since people might be associated with a node in directory, we might be able to make assumptions about where the things they create go in the directory.

Clay:  the act of making something public might prompt the user to choose the directory location.  

Encouraging people to make directory associations:

  • Filing out profile - "will be easier for people to find you and your work if you link to the directory".  
  • while making something public, remind them could be more findable if associate with profile?
  • Bouncing sakaiger - "have you thought about making your profile public"  (smile)

Use cases:

  • course shopping (taking advantage of existing data)
  • sending a message to everyone in my department (as an administrator)
  • provided directory (back end work to handle provisioned data)
  • campus group spaces (student groups) - different than hierarchical directory.  Tag based? ("virtual sproul")
  • Important to have distinction between official and unofficial groups
  • department "home" page
  • this may live in Sakai
  • may live somplace else & want feeds into it from Sakai OAE

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