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New Tools: OpenScholar & Anthologize

Two new tools to help  faculty digitally manage  and present assorted  research/teaching tasks  were announced this week in the Chronicle.

OpenScholar (Chronicle 8/1), developed in 2009 for Harvard faculty as a user-friendly WYSWYG website builder, is now freely available  to rest of the scholarly community. DRUPAL-based, it’s designed to be installed by institutional IT, after which individual faculty can log in to customize personal websites and research-project websites.

In their words, OpenScholar is “enormously scalable, easy to set up and administer with a minimum of resources required. Scholars create and then manage content their own sites.” “Scholars” is the key word: OpenScholar’s plug-ins are designed entirely for research professors and instructors, unlike, say WordPress. Plugins include course calendars, course announcements, blog, CV, publications, research projects and image galleries; the developers made OpenScholar accessible even to techphobes.

OpenScholar is interested in working with institutional partners. This could be a solution for UO to pull its 20th century faculty (reluctant to do any digital teaching, course management or research) into the 21st century where UO’s digital natives (students, graduate students, and many junior faculty) get most of their their work done.

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Anthologize (Chronicle 8/4) was crowd-hacked during the  One Week, One Tool project at the Center for History and New Media the last week of July. Anthologize is a free, open-source plugin designed to turn your WordPress 3.0 blog and other feeds into platform for publishing electronic texts. Online student research projects can be harvested, ordered, and edited into an anthology, for instance, and exported as PDF,  TEI or ePUB.

Anthologize cannot be installed on WordPress.com, however–your WordPress 3.0 has to be running on another server. Should UO decide to adopt WPMU, this will not be an issue. But here at UODS, we can’t run Anthologize.

Still under development–and admittedly buggy–, Anthologize has a user forum where you can see the kinks worked out. You can also follow its development on Twitter @Anthologize.

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for posting this to the blog, Robert — these are interesting tools. A few quick comments on each one:

    Open Scholar: This looks like a “Drupal MultiUser” concept that lets a large number of sites get hosted on a single drupal install. There is a drupal community on campus, so it is definitely worth watching and possibly testing as an alternative to WordPressMU (WPMU).

    Sean should jump in here, but a big question for me is whether or not Information Services is willing and able to support more than one central multiuser web publishing/blogging service. IS is already planning to roll out a campuswide, permanent WPMU 3.0 service this year, as the current WordPressMU-based e-portfolio pilot (a.k.a UfoliO) phases down.

    FWIW in the meantime, in my first looks at the Open Scholar features list and a few sample sites, I don’t see much that couldn’t be accomplished by providing a few pre-approved and well-tested WPMU custom themes aimed at individual UO scholars, research project groups, departments, etc. Testing these two alternatives head-to-head on live sites would be important, though, because it is hard to compare the ease-of-use factors or other advantages without looking at the admin and user dashboards for both applications.

    I find Anthologize much more interesting in the long run. Yes, any blog can already be exported and preserved as an xml file, but the idea of easy output to PDF (and hopefully other formats) seems promising not just for individual publishing, but as a tool for systematic capture and preservation of campus web content/blogging activity as e-records and digital archives — something we are already doing. The Libraries and IS should keep an eye on this, and as the bugs get worked out, evaluate it as a plugin for the UO’s emerging WPMU service.

    Hope these are helpful thoughts, and thanks again for keeping these issues in front of the community.

    All the best,

    ARB

  2. For more info about Anthologize and the One Week/One Tool experience, check out Julie Meloni’s 8/5/10 post to the Chronicle of Higher Educations’s Profhacker blog.

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