Well, we are at it again. No sooner do we release a new and improved version of MERLOT than we start working on an even newer and even more improved version. Last year we improved your access to more and more OERs with our Smart Search. Smart Search expanded MERLOT users’ search for useful online learning materials beyond our own extensive and high quality repository of over 80,000 materials.
Smart Search now offers a quick and easy way to search about a dozen other, ‘related’ learning material libraries as well as a focused search of the World Wide Web – right from within our own website. And if you find something you like, you can add it directly to the MERLOT repository for our discipline editors to consider reviewing. While these features have really broadened MERLOT’s utility for our 1,000,000+ annual visitors, we are soon going to make things even better. In the next few months we will once again be updating MERLOT’s user interface (UI), incorporating new UI concepts that have evolved since our last update only 3 years ago.
It’s interesting to note that in the 21 years of our existence, we will have changed/improved/modernized that UI more 7 different times, while continuing to add more and more easily accessible features. Remember when MERLOT was available only for English language users? Today our system is accessed by members of an international community from more than 25 countries! And remember when we only had a handful of academic discipline editorial boards reviewing content. Today we have 25, each with its own community of subject matter experts, in 2017 adding two new ones – Computer Science and Information Technology. A short while ago we added the recommender feature that offered: “People who viewed this material also viewed …” Look for a release this year that will be even smarter, recommending materials appropriate to individual user profiles as well as materials similar to ones a user discovers in an initial search.
So don’t go away. We’re working on our third decade and will be making things better and better, and more useful than ever before. Thanks for being a member of the MERLOT Community.