UK's first govt-backed Open Source project launched

CIOL Bureau
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UK: Schools Minister Jim Knight officially launched the first nationwide Open Source project, the National Digital Resource Bank (NDRB). The new platform will benefit all UK schools that have invested in technologies for putting lessons, coursework and homework online but do not have the digital content to fill them.


The NDRB is based upon Agrega, a content repository technology funded by the Spanish government and released under the EUPL, the 'European Union Public Licence'.

From day one, £30m worth of Creative Commons licensed publicly-funded content will be available through the NDRB, which will grow rapidly as further content is contributed.

The announcement comes after increasing cross-party political support for the greater use of Open Source software and open standards in public sector IT procurement.


The nature of the NDRB project means that taxpayers money will be used in the most efficient way as, once created, content is shared across UK schools.

The NDRB is an example of best practice in inter-governmental collaboration and shows how the European public sector can benefit from the Open Source development and cost-sharing model.

The new platform will be managed by the North West Learning Grid and technical support will be provided by Sirius, the UK's only OGC and Becta accredited Open Source supplier.


Jim Knight, Schools Minister said: “A partnership with the Spanish Telecommunications and Information Society has been signed ... to develop a National Digital Resource Bank, to create, search for, and share digital content. The UK is renowned for excellence in ICT infrastructure, development of Digital Resources, and willingness to work with other countries and has combined these three elements in this landmark project.”

Gary Clawson, CEO at North West Learning Grid said: “The National Digital Resource Bank is the missing link in UK Digital Resource Strategy. We have a great infrastructure, we have lots of media rich resources and we have implemented Learning Platforms in every schools. But despite this, schools have been unable to share resources with other schools because of different technical solutions implemented across different Local Authorities.”

Mark Taylor, CEO, Sirius, said: “The National Digital Resource Bank is a visionary national project, and the first to rely entirely on Open Source, Open Standards and Open Content. It shows how these technologies can be used in the Public Sector to reduce the risks associated with national IT projects whilst massively reducing their costs.”