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INTRODUCTION



Although the number of open content educational repositories and the resources in them is steadily increasing, they still don’t get the use they deserve.  Among the main reasons for the underuse of the Open Educational Resources (OER) repositories is the difficulty of finding them and for searching and sharing content of interest stored in them. The recent advancements in the Web development hold promises for improving the repository discoverability, searchability, and shareability. From one side, the Semantic Web offers technologies for conceptual structuring, annotating, and indexing of educational resources that allow for efficient semantic retrieval. From another side, the increasingly popular Social Web offers means for sharing, distributing, popularizing, promoting and recommending online resources. The goal of this work is to investigate the possibilities for combining the benefits of these two approaches and for designing a framework of a content management system that supports both.

We explored different options and software and decided to focus on an attempt to combine the popular content management system Drupal with the a Fedora Commons repository, which would provide a Drupal-based front end enabling an intuitive interface, and rich functionalities for supporting individual users and communities and a Fedora-based backend that enables the use of Semantic Web technologies. To test our approach we decided to develop a bookmarking application.  

The thesis is organized as follows. In Chapter 2, after a brief discussion of the Semantic Web technologies, we present the Fedora Commons framework, which utilizes such technologies for creating digital repositories.  Fedora (Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture) is architecture for storing, managing, and accessing digital content in the form of digital objects. Fedora is a semantically rich environment which uses features like ontologies, RDF, RDF Schema, OWL, and the Semantic Web Query language. Chapter 3 presents the content management system Drupal and the Social Web functionalities it supports. Chapter 4 describes the integration of Drupal with Fedora Commons mentioning some possible approaches and presenting in detail the approach we have chosen - through the use of the software Islandora. Islandora is a Drupal module which can be linked to Fedora repository. Chapter 5 gives a detailed view on the prototype development of the Drupal-Fedora based Bookmark repository, including  user requirements,  system architecture design, and implementation.