By making their resources available as individual objects rather than pre-articulated packages, libraries like SCRAN allow educators and learners maximum flexibility in engaging with their resources. At the same time, a measure of structure and support can be extremely valuable in helping users to make the most of the resources, and many digital resource providers now provide appropriate tools and guides for their users.
Examples of the different ways in which digital resources can be accessed and presented include timelines (Digital Egypt for Universities), curriculum navigators (SCRAN and the 24 Hour Museum), exhibitions, (National Archives Learning Curve), trails (24 Hour Museum), online tutorials (PATOIS) undergraduate teaching materials (LEMUR) and online courses and seminars (Fathom).
SCRAN also offers various articulations of the materials, such as Pathfinders, brief narrative introductions to popular topics illustrated by links to multimedia records in the resource base, or multimedia essays available on CD-ROM (Fig. 40). Features such as the forthcoming albums where the user can collect objects into different themed folders which are available whenever they log in to the system facilitate the process of selecting, organising and engaging with the material.
Figure 40: SCRAN Archaeology CD-ROMs
Rich, web-based environments also provide much scope for learners to start to define their own areas of interest, follow up particular subjects and generally take more charge of their learning. Good online environments will support this; SCRAN, for example, provides many hyperlinks across its resource base and a 'References' field in every record details box (Fig. 41) to point the learner towards reliable sources of further information.
Figure 41: Record box for SCRAN record 'Amulet'
More sophisticated tools are available to support the construction of narratives, arguments or questions. For example, the 'SCRAN Exhibitor' tool (Fig. 42) provides an interface through which the user can organise resources downloaded from the website, add their own narratives and generate a website which can be uploaded to a protected area of the SCRAN website for sharing with tutors, colleagues or friends.
Figure 42: Screen shot from SCRAN Exhibitor program
Last updated: Wed Aug 28 2002
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