cc licensed flickr photo shared by The Rocketeer

Who ever thought the word “repository” was a good idea? C’mon, nearly every one’s connotations go elsewhere and sure, I’m going to be encouraged to go add something (or fond something) I created to something that sounds like something that goes up your butt?

But I digress. I always hated that term.

Last month Stephen Downes wrote in response to some discussions about JISC Repositories a post about his reasoning for running as much of his online resources on his own servers (Not the Institutional Web Server)- in one bullet point he said:

my online work has also outlived most every initiative that has been created to provide a ‘permanent’ home for such work; projects in Canada like CAREO and eduSource are now history. I’m sure people in Britain can create their own list of shuttered initiatives.

I’m rather proud that the one and only “R” like thing I created, the Maricopa Learning eXchange, launched in 2010, is actually still running there at

I think it is less to do that it is anything great, and more the fact that not many people there likely no about it or care, so it just keeps humming along. Actually, it’s more likely to do with the fact that after I left Maricopa in 2006, sometime a year or a half later, they hired back in a full time role, Colen Wilson, who had worked for me as a student program and did much of the back end work for the MLX. So thanks, Colen for keeping the lights on.

The last “What’s New” was 2004…

Probably the best explanation about the MLX came from a presentation we did back in 2004 for the NMC (before I worked there). In building the MLX we purposely steered clear of focusing on metadata and prescriptions for the content -essentially, we created a place to house information about anything someone at Maricopa might have created for learning, from a word template to a full blown program, using the metaphors of a brown shipping package, which could be big or small, and was described by a “packing slip” (our clever cover up for meta data).

So there’s not a huge amount of things there, maybe 1800, and most of the content in the last few years came because we rigged another online system Colen largely built, an internal grants and a faculty professional growth program, so that when people submitted reports online to those systems, we cross listed them in the MLX.

There you go Stephen, not all repositories are shuttered. But more likely cause the MLX is just some old PHP and MySQL code quietly humming on a server directory no one looks at. For some reason, my old code still humming along there makes me smile.

In fact, the big daddy might be MERLOT which seems to be always adding new stuff, but hey, they have funding and staff. Heck MERLOT still list a project I did on the mid 1990s that they added to MERLOT in 2000, and what do you know, old Research Methods still lind of works.

I got nudged to posting this via a post by John Robertson raising the question if reusable learning objects (RLOs) and open educations resources (OERs) are different. It was interesting to read and rummage through some of the past, and honestly while the differences are important to some people like John, it hinges a lot on your definitions, and for me, it seems another toh-MAY-toh TOH-mah-toh argument… I honestly don’t care what you call ’em, and care more that more people share any way they can.

So cheers to old suppositories, may they continue to rise and…. I better stop.

If this kind of stuff has value, please support me by tossing a one time PayPal kibble or monthly on Patreon
Become a patron at Patreon!
Profile Picture for cogdog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I’m actually glad we killed CAREO – it was a necessary experiment to try out the ideas at the time, but it served its purpose and leaving it running wasn’t helpful. Killing it closed the chapter on Repositories for me (and a few others) and now it’s much easier to move forward. It continues to serve a purpose – “remember the Institutional LOR? it’s dead.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *