JISC Information Environment Architecture

Usage Scenarios


Technical standards | Publications | Presentations

The following scenarios illustrate how a variety of users might interact with the JISC IE and raise some issues associated with the implied developments in JISC IE tools and services.

Scenario one - the student's view

A Performing Arts student on a distance learning course is preparing a multimedia essay for submission electronically to their tutor. They have to write a critical study on "Aspects of humour in twentieth century dance". Their University of Glasgow registered user profile indicates that still and moving image data are particularly useful with associated supporting text and notation. Working from home and remotely accessing the institutional portal, the student initiates an search which is customised to comply with the personal profile rich media file format preferences, and also automatically prioritises materials from JISC IE kite-marked sites and UK-produced resources. A list of 15 hits is returned and the student selects the first 5 to view. The first item is from the PATRON site and is a video clip from the Royal Ballet's production of Cinderella with supporting Benesh notation and text from the Times newspaper critic's review of the ballet. The student views the clip directly via the media-specific PATRON interface and makes use of the associated tools. The student creates a link to the resource in the "link-basket", annotates the moving image clip with some comment about the dancer's interpretation of the music and highlights the corresponding notation. The remaining hits are then viewed in turn: there are two copies of the second item held at geographically dispersed sites. The institutional portal indicates that the second location is preferable for streaming and viewing because it is a local mirror of the distant resource. Further useful material that will contribute to the essay is gathered together via the link-basket and the finished essay will be delivered to the digital drop-box for the lecturer to mark.

Scenario two - the lecturer's view

A lecturer is creating some materials for an online course on "Selection interviewing in the social sciences" delivered via the institutional/Blackboard learning environment. Some video examples of bad interviewing techniques and some in-depth case studies are required. The lecturer initiates an RDN search, selects the SOSIG and IBSS gateway and retrieves 27 hits that include some good case study texts. The lecturer drops the best case study into the appropriate part of the Blackboard Courses tab and constructs learning objectives for the students together with some key issues to consider. The lecturer then creates multiple choice questions about the case study in the self-assessment section. The lecturer then adds a link to the video in the Academic Web resources tab and makes an online note to search a favourite e-journal site for supporting articles. The lecturer finally sends an email to his tutor group via the Blackboard 'Communication Center' reminding them of the URL of the RDN SOSIG gateway.

Scenario three - the research scientist's view

A post-doctoral researcher in biomedicine is interested in establishing links between environmental air quality and a specific lung disease. The researcher begins by performing a cross-search of three selected sites, using the same keywords that are mapped automatically to a common biomedical thesaurus, via the BIOME subject gateway. The search covers the traditionally published primary literature directly via Medline, the BioMed Pre-print archive and the unpublished databank of epidemiological data held by the MRC that is located on the "Grid". Access to each of these resources is managed by the ATHENS/SPARTA authentication mechanism. The researcher retrieves a number of bibliographic references to journal articles and then immediately downloads the full text of the 10 most recent ones. A number of pre-prints by the same authors are retrieved and three sets of raw data from the MRC data repository are collected. The researcher then selects relevant numerical results data from each of these sources and uses a local statistical package to run tests on any valid associations between the data sets. Finally, the researcher saves the search to their user profile for repeating at regular monthly intervals.

Scenario four - the librarian's view

The arts and humanities librarian is designing an information skills course for delivery to the MA Medieval Studies postgraduate students which will cover access to institutional digitised materials and to collections held remotely. The Librarian sets up a demonstration search via the institutional portal. An initial broad search of the JISC Service Registry and the Archive Hub is performed, which identifies a number of relevant local and international sources of manuscripts. Selecting one of these descriptions, the Librarian illustrates the value of this information by highlighting additional details: the existence of sub-collections relating to the original, the format of the items within the collection (such as digital images of selected manuscripts) and the authenticity of the collection as indicated by the rights data. A more detailed and deeper search is then performed directly with the host site using the "strength" indicator within the Collection Description Service and the Rating Service to only select high value/high quality materials. This results in the retrieval of a number of high quality images of manuscripts with linked supporting texts, together with information about their locations and access to the original manuscripts. These are then stored in the institutional learning environment Resources area assigned to the MA student cohort.

Scenario five - the vice-chancellor's view

A university vice-chancellor (VC) is preparing for a forthcoming Teaching Quality Assessment panel in the Department of Chemical Engineering and wants to create a 30 minute presentation on the range of collections/services on offer and their impact on students and staff experiences. The VC starts to retrieve varied examples of JISC IE content and gathers them together in a "link-basket". These include examples of in-house pre-published papers from the institutional e-print archive, 3-D molecular graphics from the chemical structures databank, video clips showing process engineering methods, links to a locally-developed online course which includes interactive discussions between learner and tutor groups. These are then woven together with textual annotations that will form part of the script for the talk. The VC particularly wants to demonstrate the institution's joined-up approach to the management of the whole learning process - the role of support services, quality assurance procedures and management information. The VC decides to illustrate this using anonymised student data (with permission) showing mappings to students' digital records, library transactions, departmental documentation such as Course Board minutes, financial transactions and coursework. The importance of interoperable systems with shared metadata based on widely accepted standards are emphasised in the discussion.