30 Sep 2011

OU develops new full-text search engine to aid research scholars

The Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) has developed an innovative new search facility called CORE - COnnecting REpositories - to help academics, researchers and students navigate related papers from across UK Open Access repositories.

Current search systems, such as Google Scholar, used to find academic papers can deny users access to the full article, particularly when subscription fees are required and this often proves a frustration for scholars. CORE specialises in searches of the full-text items held on all approved Open Access repositories, ensuring a vastly improved level of accessibility for users. Anyone searching CORE will therefore receive better access to relevant results. In addition, the CORE system stores these downloads, so that papers are still available even if their original repository is offline, thus ensuring a reliable service.

The creation of CORE – symbolised with an eye-catching apple core logo - was funded by JISC and is accessible via an online portal, mobile devices or through repositories and libraries which have integrated CORE with their own search features. Researchers can be confident they are receiving the most relevant recommendations as the system offers similar articles based on the full text of papers and currently searches 142 British research repositories and libraries.

Senior Research Fellow at the OU, Zdenek Zdrahal, who led the project, said: “The Open University is at the forefront of producing new and innovative advancements in educational resources. CORE is an exciting addition to this history and we believe it will be beneficial to the academic research community and to the OU. There are plans to develop systems further, to aid research.”

CORE is already integrated into The Open University’s research repository, Open Research Online (ORO) which includes more than 18,900 research publications. It is hoped that CORE will be adopted for use in many other universities and academic institutions.

CORE received £40,000 funding from JISC and the project took place over six months finishing in July 2011. Andrew McGregor, JISC programme manager, said: “UK repositories contain a wealth of high quality research papers. This service should help make it easier for researchers to discover and explore this content. CORE is an exciting demonstration of how JISC’s investment in emerging semantic technologies is being harnessed to benefit researchers.”
Notes for Editors

Knowledge Media Institute

The Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) was set up in 1995 in recognition of the need for the Open University to be at the forefront of research and development in a convergence of areas that impacted on the OU's very nature: Cognitive and Learning Sciences, Artificial Intelligence and Semantic Technologies, and Multimedia. We chose to call this convergence Knowledge Media.

Knowledge Media is about the processes of generating, understanding and sharing knowledge using several different media, as well as understanding how the use of different media shape these processes.

Open Research Online
Open Research Online (ORO) is ranked the third best higher education repository in the UK by the Registry of Open Access Repositories. The OU’s Library Services which hosts and manages ORO, supported the creation of CORE and believe that the key beneficiaries of the system will be library users. The KMI team were grateful to the OU’s Library Services for its support in the creation of CORE.

JISC is the UK’s technology consortium for higher and further education. It inspires universities and colleges in the innovative use of digital technology – and is a strong advocate for making research papers open access for the benefit of education and research.

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