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Kunkel, Matthias [mkunkel] - 13. Mar 2013, 11:38

Data Collection in ILIAS

Since version 4.3 there is a new type of object in ILIAS called Data Collection. It is made to collect and show information and data in a kind of database. At the ILIAS homepage we have started to use this repository object to build up a Plugin database and to create a new version of the Known Installations (that has been a learning module for years).
The general concept of the Data Collection object is quite simple. You can define tables and fields for datasets, e.g. for a collection of known ILIAS installations. Different data types are supported like text, integer, boolean or datetime. But you can also upload an image, offer a fileupload, use references to other tables and fields of the same data collection or link to an ILIAS object of this installation. Additionally, a rating for each dataset is possible, e.g. to allow users to rate about the quality of the plugins in the plugin database.
Example for the detailed view on a dataset
There are two main views on the content of a data collection. The general overview on all entered datasets and a detailed view on a selected dataset (in the example of the plugin database such a dataset is one plugin). The administrator of the data collection can define which fields are shown in the overview and which on the detailed view. The detailed view is layouted by using the ILIAS page editor and placeholders for the specific data of the shown dataset. Filters allow to reduce the number of shown datasets in the overview.
On this screen one defines the fields, their type and appearance.
A data collection can easily be used for collaborative learning activities - similar like a wiki. A tutor is creating the structure of the data collection and defines the task for this activity (e.g. collecting data about plants) Thanks to the RBAC permission Add/Edit entry a data collection gives specific permissions to those users who should fill the data collection with content. These users might enter new datasets (according to the defined structure), edit them later or even delete them. But they are not allowed to change neither the structure of the data collection (tables, fields) nor change its settings. Both activities require write permission aka Edit Settings. Additionally, a data collection administrator can decide if users with Add/Edit entry permission are allowed to change only their own datasets or even datasets of other users. At the end of this activity a well filled collection of data has been created by all participating learners. This content can even be used in following learning scenarios.
There is an easy way to get a first impression of the data collection: add your ILIAS installation to the new Known Installations collection - and you will see how easy it is use. Have a try!

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