We are very pleased to announce that the Open University Digital Archive http://www.open.ac.uk/library/digital-archive (OUDA) is now available externally. OUDA is a preservation archive, developed to international preservation standards and unique in its breadth of content types.
OU students, alumni and members of the public can access a selection of archival material that has been cleared for online access, including online exhibitions, featured archive items and collections of OU Archive video material. For external audiences, OUDA will promote the Open University and foster a sense of community for all those who have a connection with the OU as well as increase the discoverability of some of our assets.
Key moments and figures of the OU’s history have been added to The OU Story – one of the two exhibitions currently available on the site, including clips of Harold Wilson’s proposal for a University of the Air in 1963, an interview with Jennie Lee, the Charter ceremony in 1969 and the first OU programme in 1971. The site also includes links to related content on other OU platforms, including OpenLearn and iTunesU.
Key elements of the OUDA system:
- An underlying digital repository, uniquely capable of helping to manage the preservation of multiple types of material – including text, audio, video, images and archived websites – using international digital preservation standards.
- A powerful search function with custom filters (e.g. module code, item type, collection) to allow users to find materials
- Custom views of materials – including module view showing materials of different types relating to a module and ability to browse modules by faculty or date
- A permissions structure to limit access to collections or specific items – depending on copyright licensing.
- Different versions of the user interface, including a staff site, student site (currently the same content as the public site) and public site – highlighting different content of interest.
- Online exhibitions and featured items – including the two initial exhibitions – Shakespeare at the OU and The OU Story
- Links to related items in Open Learn and iTunesU – using linked data
Currently only a sample of the full archive collections is available on the site. We will gradually add both functionality and content to the service to support re-use of course materials and research.
The digitised pages of course texts are not currently accessible from off campus, we are working on a fix. This only impacts OU staff, there are not yet any texts cleared for public or student access.
The OUDA public site’s current status is ‘live and in testing’. Additional user testing is planned for this Autumn.
The version of the site for logged-in staff has been available for over a year and contains a wider sample of materials.
OU students can sign in but won’t currently gain anything extra by doing so, although they will then see a purple version of the green ‘open’ site because they are signed in.
We would be grateful for any feedback, there is a link to a questionnaire from the OUDA homepage or if you have specific questions please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org