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Comments on feature proposals /
2 new "My" pages: My Glossaries and My Bibliographies


Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3864

07 June 2009, 2:27 AM

Hello,

the Bachelor in Educational Sciences at the University of Luxembourg has decided to use Mahara as its eportfolio system and we are getting involved in funding some features that we would like to see implemented in Mahara and hope that others may find them useful as well.

If anybody wants to contribute to the funding of any of these features, please feel free to contact me.

I have already talked about our feature requests with Nigel, and over the next months I am going to post our ideas and welcome feedback on them to make them better.

The two features here are of a smaller magnitude than our idea for a Wizard with which one will be able to generate pages like "My Skills", "My Goals" and "My Resumé" (more on that at a later stage). Here we opted for hard-coding the pages because they could be built upon the blog module in my opinion, but the developers may know better. :-)

As I cannot upload files here, I put the description of our ideas for the My Glossaries and My Bibliographies pages in a portfolio view. However, the discussion should better take place here.

I am looking forward to your opinions.

Kristina

07 June 2009, 6:05 AM

Dear Kristina,

I have read your document about My Glossary and My Bibliography's plugin. As you mentioned there are different good product existing on the market or in the opensource worl (personally I use Zotero but there is also Connotea or CiteUlike).

I think that it would be better to develop a bridge plug-in to query (e.g. Zottero) database instead of importing the data into Mahara. So we keep the information dynamic and not static. Then in Mahara we decide what information will be staticaly / dynamicaly shown in the view.

-dajan

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3864

07 June 2009, 2:48 PM

Hello Dominique-Alain,

Thank you for your feedback. I agree with you that an interface between bibliographic reference managers and Mahara would be very nice because then one would just need to sync the information. However, I did not put down my ideas for that right now but pushed them back a bit for 2 reasons.

  1. Although we know that such reference managers are an indispensible help, lots of students and even teachers and researchers do not use them yet. Thus, a lot of bibliographies are manually typed and available in Word documents. Starting late in the game with a reference manager often does not help because then it is too much work to transfer everything into the database than just keep updating the old file.
  2. There is a great number of reference managers out there and they all work differently. I would not like to focus just on one because you never know how long it will survive. Though I must say that I would very much like a tight integration with Zotero. It is a university-funded project and has seen a lot of great changes over the last few months. Synchronization did get better, but there is no automatic updating of databases beyond the Zotero server. One can upload entire bibliographies to MIT's Citeline, but there is no sync. Sync only works with the Zotero server (files can be synced to a local WebDAV though which is great to keep backup copies).
    I do not know the average number of Zotero users vs. Endnote vs. Reference Manager vs. Zitavi (gaining ground in Germany) and they all function differently making it difficult to offer something universal.
    But as we will be funding the development, I guess, we could say: look at Zotero first. ;-)

One thing that may work with Zotero already now is to include it into an iFrame if such a thing would be possible. Then you could link to your library or even a group library on the Zotero server. However, that necessitates that they are open for viewing to everybody as a tutor who may look at the portfolio may not have access to the Zotero library unless you specified it beforehand on the Zotero server.

Question for Nigel: Could iFrames be used for such a thing? Could they be implemented in Mahara? 

Have a nice evening

Kristina

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 1643

08 June 2009, 12:41 AM

Hi - showing other pages in an iframe is certainly possible, though take into account that this doesn't give any features like single sign-on or same themes.

I have a question for you actually - the exported bibliographies, are they in any particular format, or are they just word documents?

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3864

08 June 2009, 1:20 AM

Hi Nigel,

"though take into account that this doesn't give any features like single sign-on or same themes" - Yes, these are the limitations. That's why I am not sure right now if it is a good solution especially if you do not want to make your library public on the Zotero server for example, but it would be a start for those who like sharing their findings.

"the exported bibliographies, are they in any particular format, or are they just word documents?" I thought of them being just regular RTF documents, but they could also be HTML. Endnote also exports to XML. At least for the RTF and HTML documents there would not be a particular structure behind them to use that to generate a bibliography here.

However, if it is easier or better to handle for the updating process, you can also export an entire library from Zotero (to stick with that example) in the following formats:

  • Zotero RDF
  • MODS
  • Refer/BibIX
  • RIS
  • Unqualified Dublin Core RDF
  • Wikipedia Citation Templates
  • BibTeX (maybe that is the most universal next to RIS / RDF?)

Kristina
anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 1643

08 June 2009, 6:37 PM

Right. The reason why I ask is that I'm interested to think about what kind of structure the data will be in, inside Mahara itself.

If you want to be able to put some entries into one View and some entries into another, then Mahara has to know what an entry is - and so needs to be able to figure this out from the imported data.

Something to think about at least Smile

Heinz Krettek's profile picture
Posts: 480

07 June 2009, 7:12 AM

Hi Kristina,

I think even the group functions can profit from a new group glossary. Would be great to use such a tool in collaborative work.

Heinz

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3864

07 June 2009, 2:56 PM

Hello Heinz,

Yes, we haven't even touched upon the group glossary. Great thought there. How do you imagine it to work?

A number of questions pop into my mind relating to that:

  • On which level do you situate the glossary? Institution, group, friends, possibility to have it on any of these levels?
  • How do you work on the entries collaboratively? Like on Moodle where comments can be added or more like on a wiki?
  • How can you make certain glossary entries "your own"? I like the "copy view" option here (we still run an old version and thus I did not know that feature). That could be used for a group glossary as well: copy a group entry to your own glossary. When that is done, there should be an automatic, unerasable footnote stating the source of the entry (something like "The original glossary entry can be found..."). Of course, it can be changed.


Have a great evening over in the Black Forest

Kristina

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3864

21 August 2009, 4:57 AM

Hello Heinz,

Did you think about the group glossary a bit more (maybe even taking my questions into account)?

Nigel and I have been discussing the group glossary a bit in our work request because we are going ahead with the development of the "My Glossary" and "My Bibliography" features. It would be beneficial to include thinking about group glossaries.

Nigel says it is possible to have user and group glossaries and with / after 1.3 also glossaries on institution and site level. My response to the group glossary:

---

Here I have the Moodle glossary as point of reference. As it is not a wiki, letting everybody edit every entry is not so good because you never know who changed what. Having comments added seems to be better unless a wiki is used instead or versioning is enabled.

I would not allow anybody to delete a glossary entry but the author of it. Thinking about it, it seems that a group glossary may actually benefit from a moderator from time to time. Is it possible to have options "not moderated glossary" and "moderated glossary"?

Glossaries on all levels of Mahara is beneficial because then an institution could use it for FAQ or student guide etc. 

---

Furthermore, Nigel said that entries in a group glossary can be copied, but deleting is trickier. We will come back to "deleting" in a discussion on disabling / deleting feedback when we get there.

Do you or anybody else have anything else in mind that we may have overlooked?

Enjoy your weekend

Kristina

Heinz Krettek's profile picture
Posts: 480

25 August 2009, 6:35 AM

Hallo Kristina,

sorry about the delay to write a detailed response. I enjoy my summer vacation and try ;-) to sit not in front of the pc all day long. :-)

I just viewed a video about Moodle glossars and think it would be a good tool in collaborative groupwork. All your thoughts are great stuff. I hope the development is on the road. To install a moderator for the glossars would be very hepful in order to assist groups which collect first experiences in this area.

Heinz

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