Common Questions Answered
- As a university repository to share resources including video between faculties
- As a back-end to a Learning management System to manage resources and avoid embedding them in courses limiting their re-use.
- As a bank of assessment questions from which tests may be constructed and managed
- As a method of peer reviewing resources being collected in a cross-institution collection
- As a set of exemplars of good practice shared among a community of teachers
- As a back-end for a social network-based assessment system
IntraLibrary is available under two license models. The “contributor” model is designed for small projects or cross-organisation collaborations. The software is licensed for any number of users, but the number of users who may contribute resources or metadata to the repository, known as “contributors”, is constrained. This is a very cost-effective model for organisations who have only a small number or people who will be putting materials into the repository.
The institutional model is designed for adoption of intraLibrary by a whole institution or organisation. In this model the number of contributors is not constrained, and the price is based on the number of staff in the organisation. This is a very cost-effective model for organisations who want a large proportion of their staff to be able to contribute materials to the repository.
Intrallect is responsive to customers needs in terms of licensing. It can offer variations on the above two models, and is open to negotiating specific terms for organisations whose structures do not fit either of the above models. Intrallect also sub-licenses intraLibrary to resellers and OEM’s targetting specific markets.
We have heard some people are saying intraLibrary is very expensive compared to other solutions in this area. They may have got this idea from some of our better-publicised large contracts. In fact, Intrallect’s license models for intraLibrary (see FAQ “How is intraLibrary licensed?”) are designed to make intraLibrary easily affordable for organisations large or small. For commercial reasons we do not make our price lists public, but please contact us with your requirements, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Yes, intraLibrary has a number of image support features. See below!
Yes, any user can choose to see thumbnails of JPEG, PNG and GIF images in their search results. They can also select a lightbox view of thumbnails for images from their search results. When they click on images in this view, they see a larger version of the image.
IntraLibrary supports a subset of NISO z39.87 technical image metadata. This metadata can be automatically extracted from JPEG images to fill in the correct metadata fields, using a metadata template.
Because of the sophisticated way in which intraLibrary stores and handles metadata, digital objects such as video, images and audio can be stored and easily discovered.
Yes. Through integration with the market-leading Kaltura we can offer streaming and transcoding of video at no additional charge with Kaltura Community Edition.
Yes, you can set up intraLibrary so that a comments feature is available to users. The user’s name and the time and date of the comment are recorded, and other users can read comments when looking at resources in the repository.
Yes – you can arrange to have an e-mail alert whenever a comment is made.
Yes, users can give a resource one to five stars. When looking at search results, intraLibrary displays the average number of stars for the resource. You can also go in and look at all of the individual ratings and comments.
Yes, you can use advanced search to do this. For instance, you can do an advanced search for all resources that have four or five star ratings.
Yes, you can do this by making any of your searches in intraLibrary into RSS feeds. For instance, if you want to be notified of new resources in your subject area, or by a particular author, you can carry out a search, then create an RSS feed that means that new resources that meet your search will be fed into your RSS Reader. You won’t have to go back into intraLibrary and check for new resources.
IntraLibrary keeps a record of all of your news feeds in your personal profile area. You can look at them there, delete them, or run them on the spot to check what’s new in the area while you are in intraLibrary.
You can enter a word or phrase into intraLibrary’s simple search box to find resources. You can also carry out more advanced or specific searches by using “AND”, “OR”, or wildcard searches in the simple search box. IntraLibrary offers a sophisticated Advanced Search feature as well, allowing expert users to search by any number of specific metadata fields and collections. All searches at present only search the resource’s metadata, not the text of the resource.
Once you have found a resource you want to use, you can either download it or you can create a Public URL link for it and put the link where others can click on it to access the resource. A Public URL means that you can give access to a resource held in the repository to someone who doesn’t have a user account.
An alternative to search is intraLibrary’s browse tree. You can set up any number of taxonomies or classification systems of your own choosing in this browse tree. Users can then browse through the tree as they would along the shelves of a library.
IntraLibrary has an extensive set of REST-ful web services making it easy to integrate intraLibrary with other applications.
Several examples of intraLibrary web-service-based applications are available as open source code. These include a search portal and plugins for Moodle, Blackboard and Drupal. These can be used as they are provided or adapted for other uses.
Yes. You can upload individual files and standard content packages (IMS and SCORM) to intraLibrary via our simple Web-based upload page. You can also link to external resources from within intraLibrary, and create metadata for these links.
There are several ways of uploading multiple files at the same time. These are:
- Use the browser interface to add several files at the time of upload
- Use ftp or webdav to upload multiple files
- Use a desktop drag and drop application to deposit several files at once
- Use a customised application for substantial bulk upload with additional metadata extracted from a spreadsheet.
IntraLibrary supports IEEE LOM and IMS Learning Resource Meta-data. It also offers support of Dublin Core metadata, by allowing you to export metadata in Dublin Core XML format, and exposing metadata as Dublin Core for OAI-PMH harvesting and SRU/SRW searching.
IntraLibrary’s architecture also means that we can develop bespoke support for other metadata standards if needed. We currently support subsets of NISO z39.87 technical image metadata, Dublin Core Bibliographic metadata, XCRI Course metadata, and ODRL rights expression metadata. Various customers have also requested local extensions to their metadata schemas, which we have been happy to provide.
IntraLibrary has a Web-based metadata and classification editor tool. You can also import resources with metadata already in an IMS or SCORM package manifest, and the metadata is read and can be edited within intraLibrary.
Yes, you can use metadata templates in intraLibrary, which fill in fields for users, including automatically determining such things as the size or technical format of a resource, or filling in the contributor’s name from their user record, or automatically generating an identifier. You can also set up any text field in the metadata to be filled in by any text you choose.
Yes, there are two ways to copy metadata in the metadata editor: by importing a previously downloaded metadata record from your local file system, and by copying metadata from one resource within the system and pasting it into the record.
IntraLibrary has a very user friendly Web interface for creating and editing application profiles for the metadata standards you use. We can provide useful application profiles out of the box, and you can configure your own, setting visibility, editability, cardinality and so forth for different fields. You can make some fields mandatory, or optional, or set them as “not used”. You can apply standard or locally developed vocabularies to fields. You can use more than one application profile, which means you can set up specific profiles for particular collections or groups of users.
IntraLibrary provides you with the standard LOM/IMS vocabularies out of the box. You can also create your own local vocabularies and apply them to metadata fields using the application profile editor. Alternatively, you can import vocabularies in IMS VDEX format. IntraLibrary also allows you to create your own labels for standard metadata vocabularies so end-users can understand them; you can work with different languages, or give your own terms to LOM numerical values, for instance.
Yes, an administrator user can configure which metadata fields simple search looks at, and which metadata fields are available for advanced searches.
Yes. You can also import individual files and then export them as IMS content packages with any metadata you have subsequently created included. (You can still choose to export them as simple files too).
Yes. You can view the packages and see both their manifest and a list of their resources. You can use any of the internal navigation within a package while viewing it. You can also create a Public URL link to any individual asset within a content package.
No, intraLibrary is a repository, not a content packaging tool. Our commitment to open standards, however, means that you can use intraLibrary with other content packaging tools and delivery systems. We maintain interoperability with other standards-compliant systems.
You can edit the metadata in a package, however, and you can export a package with the newly edited metadata, or with the original metadata.
IntraLibrary is specifically and solely a repository solution. It does not force you into any particular solution for authoring or delivery of resources. However, because intraLibrary has very strong support for international standards of interoperability, it is easy to apply standards-compliant authoring or delivery solutions in parallel with intraLibrary.
IntraLibrary is natively designed to have full and complete support for very complex packages of interactive learning materials, such as IMS or SCORM packages, and complex, hierarchical metadata for describing such materials, such as IEEE LOM. The architecture of intraLibrary is designed for full disaggregation of content packages, enabling simple re-use of individual components. It does not rely on any external solutions for any of this.
IntraLibrary’s web interface has won much praise for being very easy to understand and use. It does not intimidate the user with too much information or complexity, and is designed for ordinary lecturers, teachers, trainers or learners to get as much benefit from using the system as learning technology experts.
IntraLibrary is capable of supporting any number of users and is in use in systems designed for a million users. IntraLibrary can also be licensed by the number of Contributors, with the number of Users being unlimited for smaller applications.
Contributors are able to place content within intraLibrary, whereas Users can access intraLibrary to view and download content.
Yes, intraLibrary has a metadata subset feature, which means that users who are uploading and filling in only a small amount of metadata don’t have to see the whole metadata screen. For instance you may only want a teacher to fill in the title, description and keywords for a resource: you can set up a metadata subset showing only those fields at their stage in the workflow.
Yes. An administrator can create custom user roles and allocate powers and privileges to each role.
Yes, research has shown that teachers and other people who create learning objects in their work are not always interested in metadata. Poor quality or non-existent metadata can mean that resources are lost in a repository, because searching and browsing doesn’t find them. For this reason, intraLibrary has a very flexible configurable workflow system. Many intraLibrary customers now have workflows that allow people to upload resources, and other people, e.g. librarians and subject experts, to create better quality metadata, or to add rights information, or to quality assure the resources.
Yes, you can set up any number of groups of users and allow them to upload to and view only certain collections. You can also give them their own specific classifications or taxonomies, and their own metadata application profiles.
IntraLibrary allows you to create browse trees using any number of taxonomies or classification systems. You can add and edit these manually in the user friendly Web interface, and you can also import taxonomies using the ZThes vocabulary standard. You can control which users see which classification system or taxonomy using intraLibrary’s groups and collections functionality
Yes, you can use intraLibrary’s highly configurable groups and collections functionality to allow different sets of users to have different kinds of access to resources. For instance, you may have a collection of images that only users in a certain department have access to, or you may have a collection of restricted materials where your users can only find and view the resources without being able to export them.
Yes. For instance you may only want to offer SRU/SRW external searches to completely open resource while not allowing access to resources for which intellectual property rights require more restrictions.
Yes, Intrallect is committed to the use of open standards for interoperability. IntraLibrary supports such e-learning interoperability standards as IMS Content Packaging, SCORM, and IEEE LOM and IMS LRM metadata. We have implemented a number of other metadata standards, such as NISO z39.87 for images and ODRL for digital rights expression. We also support other open standards, such as Dublin Core metadata; ZThes and VDEX for vocabulary management and exchange; and SRU/SRW and OAI-PMH for external searching and harvesting. We further show our commitment to open standards by taking active part in their development; we take part in various IMS and Dublin Core Metadata Initiative activities, and are active in standards organisations.
No, intraLibrary is commercial software, and is not released under any open-source license.
However, this does not mean you will be locked into a proprietary system, because Intrallect has an unrivalled dedication to supporting open standards of interoperability. We think for most organisations, support for open standards should be a much more important criterion in purchase decisions than access to source code.
Many organisations have attempted to build a learning object repository or digital library system from scratch. Others have attempted to adapt existing open-source solutions to support the learning object paradigm and learning object standards. Some of these systems have been successful demonstrators, and some work well within certain constraints, such as not actually storing the content itself.
However, most organisations who have tried to develop their own systems have discovered that it is not quite as simple as it first appears. Implementing full support for the relevant interoperability standards and specifications, such as IEEE LOM, IMS Content Packaging, SCORM, OAI-PMH, SRW, LDAP etc is a considerable amount of work. Doing this in a way that works well for users is even harder.
Producing the first version of the software is only the start. It will be necessary to support and improve the system over a number of years. To succeed you will need clear goals, a stable team, and a long-term commitment to funding. Self build is rarely, if ever, a cheap option in the long term, and you should have a very good reasons for taking this approach when an off-the-shelf solution is available that meets your needs. For comparison, in a world which already has Microsoft Office and Open Office, amongst others, you probably wouldn’t develop your own word processor or spreadsheet software.
By licensing intraLibrary you will immediately get the benefit of over 30 person-years of professional development effort, and more than a decade of user feedback. You will also have access to regular software updates and support, and become a member of a rapidly growing user community. IntraLibrary is being continuously developed and improved. You will have the opportunity to feed your requirements into this development process, and commission specific features to meet the particular needs of your organisation.
We would expect that most, if not all the core features you would require from a repository solution are already available in intraLibrary. If not, they may well be coming in the next version! By licensing intraLibrary, you will be choosing a highly configurable solution, with lots of options for your organisation. Intrallect has also designed intraLibrary so it is straightforward to integrate it with your existing systems, based on open standards of interoperability. Furthermore, if you do you need to extend the system, a rich programming API is available which allows your technical team to access most features of the system and use them to build other services.
The short answer
Using intraLibrary means:
- Having professionally developed, high quality software
- simple installation
- inline configuration
- painless upgrades
- continuous improvement
- long-term commitment
- A powerful and flexible solution
- strong on interoperability
- powerful management features
- ability to handle complex, structured materials
- Immediate access to expert help and support
- long-term support contracts
- technical consultancy
- content, metadata, and policy experts
The long answer
Some open-source repository solutions offer similar basic functionality to intraLibrary. They can be good solutions for managing simple digital resources such as e-prints, but to get them to do any more than that requires a lot of extra work installing add-on libraries and making fundamental changes to system configuration. These systems do also have individual weaknesses, such as the lack of support for taxonomies and classifications in the current version of DSpace.
Intrallect intraLibrary is very good for managing simple digital resources and metadata, but it also understands very complex packages of interactive learning materials, such as IMS or SCORM packages, and complex, hierarchical metadata for describing such materials, such as IEEE LOM, and rights expression languages, such as ODRL. IntraLibrary’s behaviour is also highly configurable within the product itself. You can easily apply the classification systems, workflows, application profiles and licensing models that suit your organisation’s needs.
Installing, configuring, supporting and integrating an open source repository solution often requires a lot of technical know-how and a great deal of persistence. Upgrading to a new version of such a system can be an even more painful experience. IntraLibrary is very easy to install and configure. It runs in standard versions of generic technologies, and can be installed on any server platform supported by these generic technologies. Upgrades to the intraLibrary product are released on a regular basis.
The commitment of funders and developers to open source projects can be short-lived. Without strong industry or institutional backing, projects can stagnate, and developers drift away, move on, or get drawn towards the “next big thing”.
IntraLibrary is Intrallect’s core product, and is being continuously developed and improved by our focussed team of professional software engineers. Intrallect also offers annually renewable support and maintenance contracts. These provide peace of mind, and give you immediate access to expert help just by picking up the phone or sending an email. If you are concerned about the longevity of Intrallect itself, we have established arrangements for software escrow.