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In trying to think about what content management and file management mean in Sakai I polled some folks in the community and asked them "How would you describe/define the kinds of functionality resources [tool] allows?  In other words, what is it that 80% of users are using?"

Here are the community responses:

  • Broadly put - file storage with the capabilities to share items with groupings of people
  • I agree with the general, "the place to put things to share with my students" replace students with "Colleagues" or "Project Team" for the project site. This fits with the 80% rule. The issue of having it also as the repository for other tools and HTML to be exposed elsewhere is only a by-product of necessary work-arounds.
  • For OSP users, the Resources tool replaced the "repository" tool that existed in previous versions. The idea was that users would amass a volume of raw material in their repository and then organize it into "collections" (think virtual folders where any file could belong to one or more folders or tags that could be applied to one or more resource objects) that had special meaning for them.  That sort of functionality might have a bit of overlap in the Resources Viewer...but the audience for the view is ME, rather then my students.
  • As I am sure is obvious, Resources allows the labeling, categorization, sharing, and dissemination of digital content.
  • This spring I asked a number of faculty how they would describe the Resources tool to a friend who hadn't seen it. (Harriet's suggestion.) They all said something like "It's where you put things you want to share with your class." I stopped asking the question because the answers seemed so predictable.
  •  "where you put things you want to share with your class" is about right for faculty. I believe current functionality is on the verge of overkill and I've heard of some finding it confusing.  If you are a ed tech technologist the resources tool can mean more. But I think that is confusion with a content management *service*. A flavor of technologist is those who want to link up with repositories seamlessly. Doing so requires expansion of UI to locate/select those resources (ie. picker) or so it "naturally" seems.
  • These are the terms in which Resources is described in the interview
    transcripts with the people using Sakai as a VCE:

"depository",
"file store",
"resources base,
"data bank of all your final documents",
"filing system",
"storage",
"archive",
"record keeping"

I'm afraid we don't have any interviews transcripts with lecturers, so can't
do a similar list of actual phrases in which it's described.

But it's clear that that's a very different thing from the idea of
'somewhere where you put resources you want to share with your students'.

Of course, one problem that we come up against a lot is that resources is
also the place 'where you put the things to make your site look pretty'. So
it's where you store the photo and HTML for your Workspace Info page, for
example.

Resources is also 'the place where you put the documents that you and your
colleagues use for planning the course' - which you don't want the students
to see.

Oh, and it's also 'the place with the folder where the students contribute
useful web links they found'.

And it's 'the place where we put the video that we want students to watch,
but only once they've read this article'. 

So it seems to me that Resources Viewer is solely 'resources you want to
share with your students', and that (unfortunately?) Resources is a whole
lot more...

  •  Controls all aspects of content from storage to presentation

Wikipedia says of "content management":

"The digital content lifecycle consists of 6 primary phases: create, update, publish, translate, archive and retire. For example, an instance of digital content is created by one or more authors. Over time that content may be edited. One or more individuals may provide some editorial oversight thereby approving the content for publication. Publishing may take many forms. Publishing may be the act of pushing content out to others, or simply granting digital access rights to certain content to a particular person or group of persons. Later that content may be superseded by another form of content and thus retired or removed from use." 

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