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ELIXIR's TeSS (Training eSupport System) is a portal for disseminating, discovering and packaging training resources, aggregating information from ELIXIR nodes and 3rd-party content providers.  

TeSS is not a repository for training materials where you would upload files and trainees would view or download them - it does not store training materials themselves; rather it stores links to original training materials. TeSS is a registry where we collect and present just 'links and metadata' about training materials; people then use the filtering, searching, and sorting tools to discover materials they need and use the link to be directed to the original source where they can begin training. As it is a registry, if you have training materials - you will need to upload them to a Web site or some kind of training repository like GOBLET and then have them registered (automatically or manually) with TeSS.

TeSS is available at http://tess.oerc.ox.ac.uk/ an is currently in a pilot stage.

TeSS pilot is implemented by extending the CKAN platform, an open source data portal software. TeSS is populated either automatically by scraping content providers for their training materials or by adding materials manually. Both the TeSS Portal and all the scraping/aggregation scripts are open source and are released under the GPL license. The source code be found in GitHub; issues are being tracked by Jira. When adding content automatically, we are using content providers' APIs where available; otherwise it is just good old HTML page scraping. We aim to add as many scrapers as possible, to avoid people having to register their training materials twice. We already have scrapers for several providers (and are adding more), e.g. GOBLET and COURSERA, so if you register your training material there it will automatically appear in TeSS as well.

The main concepts in TeSS are: training materials, training workflows, training packages and content providers. 

Training materials can be searched for, filtered by various filters (e.g. by content provides, by ELIXIR nodes, by packages they belong to, etc.) and sorted to help users find what they want.

Packages and workflows are collections of training materials. For example, packages can be used to group materials required for a particular training course. One material can belong to several packages. Training workflows are ordered collections of training materials - they represent a series of steps that need to be undertaken in order to perform a certain analysis, e.g. structure prediction, homology modelling, protein ligand docking, MS-based metabolomic analysis, etc.

Content providers are institutions which are being scraped for training materials. Content providers in TeSS are given a good space to promote themselves - they can add logos and descriptions. Uses can also see all training materials that has been submitted by/has been scraped from a content provider.

There is another concept in TeSS - that of an ELIXIR node. This is ELIXIR-specific and aims at providing an easy overview of what is going on in the training department at each of the ELIXIR nodes. TeSS aims to serve the ELIXIR community by providing a sort of 'shop-window' of the training materials, news, events and activities being done in each ELIXIR node, as well as providing several other views and tools to help trainees find and collect materials in life sciences not just provided by ELIXIR nodes. For example, it should enable users to ask questions like "Give me all training materials from ELIXIR-CH", or "Give me all training materials relevant to protein sequence alignment".

Nodes in TeSS are envisaged like special organisations, whose member institutions can be content providers as well. So, some of the member institutions of a node may also find themselves under TeSS' content providers as well; others, which do not provide any training materials, would just be listed under nodes' details. This is the space where each node can highlight their own training, news, events and features. Similarly, training materials could be attributed to an ELIXIR node and that would be clearly visible when searching for materials.

 

 

 

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