How to search this site
In CommonSpaces you can search Users (CommonSpaces members), Communities, Projects, External repositories (sources of existing OERs), OERs and Learning Paths by using three search modes: livesearch, browsing and "advanced search".
Moreover, by searching with Google or other search engines you could find all type of public contents in CommonSpaces.
A livesearch function can be invoked from a control placed at the right of the main menu bar:
it allows to perform fast full-text search of users, projects and educational resources based on keywords (sub-strings) to be found in some of the metadata describing them; results are grouped by type.
Browsing and searching
We use the term browsing to denote the access to the platform contents from screens showing their distribution according to the values of some of their metadata. In this way you can find contents in an exploratory way, without knowing precisely what you are looking for.
Browsing contrasts with advanced search, where you can search some types of platform contents by specifying explicit search criteria; the platform helps you in doing that by suggesting how said search criteria can be formulated.
The Browse people entry of the Communities menu allows you to get an idea of how many registered users are in CommonSpaces and how they distribute according to a number of chracteristics.
The Search people entry of the Communities menu allows you to search people by specifying a set of search criteria to be jointly fulfilled by the users you are looking for.
The Browse mentors entry of the Communities menu allows you to view all Mentors registered inside the Rolls of mentors of any Community.
Note: you will not able to find users that didn't fill all mandatory fields of their user profile.
Communities and projects
The All communities entry of the Communities menu gives to you an indented list (a kind of "tree") of all open Communities and Projects, including sub-projects, with the exclusion of projects marked as "reserved" and of those belonging to non-public types, such as the Mentoring projects.
The Projects entry of the Communities menu allows to perform the advanced search of the projects
The Rolls of mentors entry of the Communities menu lists the Rolls of mentors existing in the CommonSpaces communities.
The All resources entry of the Library menu allows you to get an idea of how many and which Repositories, OERs and Learning Paths have been catalogued or created in CommonSpaces.
For each classification attribute of the Repositories, we list all (populated) values of that attribute and the number of repositories with that value; by clicking this number, you get a list of the repositories for which the chosen attribute has the value specified.
Similarly, for each classification attribute of the OERs and of the Learning Paths, we list all (populated) values of that attribute and the number of OERs / Learning Paths with that value; by clicking this number, you get a list of the OERs / Learning Paths for which the chosen attribute has the value specified.
The Learning paths, Open resources and Source repositories entries of the Library menu allows you to performed advanced search on the respective type of resources each.
Advanced search is what sometimes is called precise search. You can specify the value for one or more attributes used in classifying a resource type and then request to list all objects of the chosen type whose attributes match all specified search criteria.
Some attributes of a content type can assume multiple values; for example a source repository can include OERs in different languages, and an OER can address multiple subjects (i.e., can be associated to various subject areas); moreover, most search controls, in the advanced search page, allow to specify more values for the same attribute. In both cases, it is enough that a resource matches at least one of the values specified, to satisfy that search criterium.
After you have executed a query and got the list of results (hits) - possibly no results at all - you can refine and re-execute the query, using the search form being proposed again in the same page.
Search and navigation
How browsing relates to advanced search? The list of results (Repositories or OERs or Learning Paths) that you get by clicking on a number in the "Distributions" page, will be presented as a properly initialized search page, where a unique search criterium has been set, corresponding to the attribute-value pair associated to the clicked number.
Irrespective of the way you filled the search form, when you click on an item in the list of results, you get the detailed view of a resource, showing the values of its relevant attributes. In general, clicking on one of those values is equivalent to specifying a search criterium: the result of this new search consists in a set of resources similar to the previous one as far as that attribute is concerned.