Sandy Buchanan , Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network (SCRAN), Scotland
Session: Tools for Teachers
The main thesis of this proposal is that making educational material available over the internet is only a beginning and it raises as many issues as it 'solves'. I would propose that SCRAN is tackling the issues of intellectual access and resource discovery through the development of software tools to assist in these areas. SCRAN, the Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network, is a Millennium project, spending £15,000,000 to build a networked multimedia resource base for the teaching and celebration of human history and material culture in Scotland. Although based on the museums, archives, libraries and built heritage of Scotland, SCRAN's prime concern is not with conservation, nor with documentation, but with educational access.
Through extensive discussions with teachers, educators and education resource managers (20 meetings reaching just over 650 professionals) it became clear to SCRAN that making this material available over the internet was only the beginning of making the material accessible intellectually to educators and learners at all levels.
The SCRAN resource base at http://www.scran.ac.uk/ presents a number of different access routes, depending on the needs of the end-user. 'Quick Search' presents a single letterbox into which the user can insert a simple keyword or a complete search expression including Boolean logic, truncation, wildcards, proximity operators and nesting, while 'Assisted Search' answers questions of the Who, What, Where, When variety. Both searches are good for retrieving whatever material SCRAN has on a particular topic.
As well as these standard database features SCRAN has developed the following tools to aid the discovery and presentation of resources available through the SCRAN resource base. They are: