I have been writing a plugin for the Moodle Repository API that can now browse and search records in a Fez digital repository. Here’s the simple configuration, using the RMIT Research Bank as an example public access Fez repository:
And here you can see that the plugin can browse communities, collections and records just like any other repository plugin:
So far, it only supports using external files, and the resulting links are links to the Fez record view, not the attached files. This also means that you still have to add the title and description manually, even though that metadata is present in the metadata of the files presented by the repository plugin! I hope to somehow fix this with work on MDL-32130 on the Moodle bug tracker.
Today I wrote a text filter for Moodle 2.2 which will help Moodle teachers and admins cite documents from a Fez digital repository. Fez is a digital repository written by University of Queensland library staff for the university’s digital assets and for use as an open access research repository.
The best fit in Moodle for a digital repository such as Fez would be through a repository plugin, but the Moodle repository API assumes that you only want either a file, or a URL. I think there’s room for the API to be able to return a snippet of HTML as well – of an appropriately formatted link to the document in question. For instance, it would not be enough to simply present a URL, such as
it would instead be really nice to be able to have the repository plugin return a <div> element, with a formatted citation, such as:
Taylor, William (2005) (FAB_15_2_095) Lest We Forget: the Shrine of Remembrance, its redevelopment and the heritage of dissent. Fabrications : The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, 15 2: 95-112.
This would also apply to other repositories – it would be nice if the Flickr, Picasa and YouTube repository plugins could return a thumbnail of the image or video instead of just the URL. Until that happy day arrives however, we can use a filter instead. After installing the filter, we tell it which Moodle content formats we would like it to parse, and the base URL for our Fez repository:
Then, in our content, we insert a search term or a Fez document PID into a placeholder using double curlies, e.g.
Which when we save, and have the Fez filter enabled, will produce a nicely presented citation:
It would not be very difficult to convert this into a repository plugin that simply returns the URL to the document, or to extend or clone this filter to talk to other digital repositories, such as EPrints, DSpace or Fedora.
TODO: add a setting to control how many search results you want to display.
I just got back from 3 days of Moodle Moot in Hamilton, officially the hickest town in the whole world! I gave a talk on digital repositories, got to hang out with and learn heaps from a whole bunch of cool Moodle people in NZ and also from Australia (including the big Kahuna Martin himself), Fiji, Canada and elsewhere. Photos are up on flickr with the moodlemootnz07 tag.