The Open Access for Library Schools curriculum was developed under UNESCO’s Open Access Program. On their website UNESCO writes, “The carefully designed and developed sets of OA curricula for researchers and library and information professionals are based on two needs assessment surveys, and several rounds of face-to-face and online consultations with relevant stakeholders” (n.p.). Here, I’ve scanned through the “Interoperability and Retrieval” module.
This module is a rather specialized look at interoperability and retrieval needs and standards for open access content. It is certainly geared toward librarians and information professionals, but I did feel like I could keep up even without that sort of professional training. The module compilers provide a thorough overview of issues with open access content in regards to information organization and retrieval. For the compilers, OA content is too often distributed, redundant, or volatile, and does not adhere to general metadata or data structuring standards. This general lack of standardization makes OA content difficult to find, which can be a kiss-of-death in our current era of information overload. OA resources need to be findable, mine-able, and able to be integrated into various repositories if they are to be of use to researchers, students, and the general public.
This module was a valuable peek into the scale of scholarly communications. Information retrieval and organization depends on the efforts of many software developers, libraries, advocacy groups, and standards coalitions who all have a role to play in how information is stored, accessed, and used. Without a coordinated approach, it is difficult to see how research output could ever be indexed and accessed equitably.
UNESCO. 2015. “Interoperability and Retrieval.” Open Access for Library Schools. (curricula selections)