WOU Library explores the use of WEKO

(3-4 March 2014)

Wawasan Open University, through its Learning & Library Services Department, organised a WEKO repository training workshop at the main campus today. WEKO is an open source repository software developed by National Institute of Informatics (NII), Japan some six years ago and being used by almost 200 universities in Japan.

Participants pose with the trainers and WOU management.

Participants pose with the trainers and WOU management.

The workshop was attended by 11 participants, with seven from WOU – comprising Learning & Library Services director Kamsiah Mohd Ali and assistant manager Chew Bee Leng, and five ITS personnel – and four librarians from Asia e-University, Universiti Malaysia Perlis and Universiti Putra Malaysia. The external librarians were specially invited based on their experiences and knowledge in developing and managing their Institutional Repositories (IR) using other IR open source software. WOU Library hopes to use them as catalysts to facilitate WEKO-based IR development in their universities at a later date.

The trainers were Assoc Prof Dr Kazutsuna Yamaji and Dr Hiroshi Kato from NII, and Prof Tsueneo Yamada from The Open University of Japan (OUJ). The workshop aimed to equip participants with hands-on knowledge on how to replicate a WEKO type arrangement in their respective universities.

Prof Yamada gives his welcoming remarks.

Prof Yamada gives his welcoming remarks.

”WEKO is to deposit mainly Open Access contents for sharing locally and globally. WOU will thus be able to supply its contents for the use of its students, and the other institutions in Malaysia and around the world,” said Dr Yamaji.

He stated that the WEKO repository software is very easy to use by end users and repository managers. “It has a multiple deposit transfer functionality allowing for the contents to be deposited into the repository with just one click of the mouse.”

Dr Yamaji shared that NII aims to collaborate with WOU in using the WEKO system in an OER (i.e. Open Educational Resources) world. “We plan to supply our system to the South East Asian countries, starting with Malaysia. So WOU can be the first partner to deploy our system to the different countries,” he added. He hoped universities in Malaysia will see the benefit of migrating to the WEKO repository system, and NII is ready to offer support in migration and to the end-user community.

Dr Yamaji provides insight into WEKO.

Dr Yamaji provides insight into WEKO.

“If a few universities in this country decided to use WEKO, they can then easily share information within the end-user community, relying on each other for support and enquiries. The NII wants to build up the WEKO community here, and I would be happy if WOU can lead that community. It is important to have communication and a network beyond the country focusing on a single subject, in this case, education,” he said.

The University library received a RM50,000 grant from WOU’s Institute of Research and Innovation last November to build and run a university digital repository using WEKO. This will allow the library to migrate its existing ePrints based WOU Open Educational Resources repository data to the new WEKO based repository. This repository would facilitate the library to not only capture the metadata of WOU resources but also grow into providing a gateway to other OER resources from around the world.

The WOU team is planning to work with OER Asia and GLOBE (Global Learning Object Brokered Exchange)-OUJ to participate in OER Asia–GLOBE Harvester network.