FOSS alternative to Equella for tertiary institutions

If your educational institution is looking for (as all institutions should be nowadays!) a system for Digital Asset Management (DAM) to complement your Learning Management System (LMS) this is for you. A DAM allows you to collect and manage your digital assets, usually curriculum materials and student work including documents, images, sound files, videos, software and digital references to various types of physical objects (to make them easier to track and search for).

DAMs are especially valuable for those wanting to shift their licensing policy from historical "strict copyright" license-by-default practises - which prohibit sharing and learner-led reuse - to much more education-friendly Creative Commons licenses like CC-BY, CC-BY-SA and others - you can set and manage content creation policies which ensure that the reuse of your institutions digital assets is a well-behaved known quantity rather than the time-and-life-sucking morass of ambiguity and pain that most institutions are facing now.

I would like to respectfully recommend that you ignore the slick marketing from closed software vendors like Equella and instead consider the much less marketed but far more freedom and learning-friendly open source alternatives such as:

Because these and many other open source platforms are based on open standards, they often work very well together with other industry-leading open source platforms like LMSs - Moodle and OpenEdx - and CMSs - Drupal and Wordpress - for example.

I've personally had experience with

  1. Fedora Commons (which also has very good Drupal integration via the open source Islandora distribution) - see Ceismic, the digital record of the Canterbury Earthquakes. Fedora Commons is hugely powerful and quite a complex beast. There are support and hosting providers in NZ and elsewhere.
  2. Omeka - implemented this for a trial for the Open Educational Resource community. It is a much simpler tool than Fedora Commons, but quite capable for many use cases, with clean, simple interfaces, but less scope for extensibility.

Update 2017-04-18:  I've heard, through the grapevine, that Equella is going to be leaving the NZ market (abandoning the many tertiary and other institutions who made the unfortunate decision to purchase - and built large system dependencies on - its proprietary service). Nothing official that I've seen, but wondering if "those in the know" might be responsible for the recent spike in traffic to this page...

Update 2018-05-10: Equella has apparently launched an open source version... I'm not sure what implications that has for NZ institutions.


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