Open Science Resources

Open Science Resources (OSR) was a collaborative project co-funded by the European Commission under the eContentplus programme. It aimed to create a shared repository of scientific digital objects - currently dispersed in European science museums and science centres - to make them more widely and coherently available, searchable and usable in the context of formal and informal learning situations.

A highly accessible portal, organised with state of the art technology and equipped with excellent searching tools, provided an easy and attractive interface to access the repository. Through the OSR portal, users were able to view the finest digital collections in European science centres and museums, follow attractive educational pathways connecting the objects with well-defined semantic metadata and even enrich the contents provided with social tags of their own choice. 

Educational Pathways were developed for each of the project’s user groups (students, teachers, families, visitors in general) to guide the user along a storyline connecting different objects, which may be physically kept in different European museums.

From a professional point of view, the project facilitated communication between users and museums by identifying common terminology and creating links. The easy access and the possibility of tagging objects enhanced user experience in connection with the museum and science centre, creating greater engagement in the visitors and giving the museum important information about them.

User engagement with the museums and science centers content was encouraged through social tagging of the educational objects. This was one of OSR’s main innovative points, since it provided a bridge between the education and collection staff in the museums by allowing the visitors to share their life experience. Tagging lets users assert their own connections and associations between objects and phenomena in ways that reflect personal perspectives and interests. Tagging further enables re-discovery of activities previously performed; users’ tags record salient characteristics of personal interest and support subsequent searches.

As a last step, the project proposed a Roadmap towards a standardized Science Resources (re-)usability. This tool included recommendations and guidelines for the design of Science Education Learning Content and Activities, on the appropriate metadata methods needed for their description in respect to both their educational and their domain-related characteristics.

 

Project financed under the EContentplus programme. Grant Agreement ECP-2008-EDU-428045.

List of project partners

The consortium running the project includes a balanced mix of science museums and science centres, pedagogues, educational technologists, metadata experts, user groups and standardization bodies. Ecsite, the European network for science centres and museums, is the project coordinator. The following organisations form the consortium: Bundesministerium fur Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur, Austria MENON Network, Belgium Elinogermaniki Agogi, Greece University of Bayreuth, Germany Lambrakis Foundation, Greece Deutsches Museum, Germany Heureka, the Finnish Science Centre, Finland Eugenides Foundation, Greece National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci, Italy Universcience, France Palace of Miracles, Hungary Pavilhao do Conhecimento - Ciencia Viva, Portugal INTRASOFT Intl., Luxembourg Linnaeus University, Sweden IKnowHow, Greece University of Jyväskylä, Finland Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, USA University of Central Florida, USA The Science Education Center at National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan, RoC