This morning I received a short email:
Hi All, We would like to inform all users of EduSpaces that we will be shutting down the service on Jan 10th, 2008. We have provided a mechanism for you to export all your blog posts in either an RSS format or HTML. To do this, go to your blog and select the submenu option you require. For those of you with files, you might want to download those as well. Thank you to everyone who has supported EduSpaces over the last three years. Best regards, The EduSpaces team
I was quite surprised of course, and began to watch the discussion develop. In the meantime, I considered my options. At my university, we have an instance of elgg. Mostly as an experiment for me and my students, but I have high hopes for its use as an academic community. I also run a couple of Word Press instances. But I decided that I would rather locate a host for my blog. My primary criteria was that it be part of an educational community supporting open source/access and contain some basic tools for spam filtering, media embedding, and access control. I chose edublogs as having the right philosophy, the right tools, and the right community.
The Eduspaces team did provide an export mechanism for personal blogs. The content could be exported in html or rss. (The export mechanism was not available for communities, unfortunately.)
After setting up my new account here, I looked into the import tools (in the admin view, look for “manage” and then “import”) . Edublogs supports import from a fair number of popular blogging applications (from Blogger to TextPattern). If your service is not listed (and, of course, ELGG was not) then the RSS import is probably your best bet. I uploaded the feed exported from eduspaces.
Problems with the conversion:
First, the categories were not cleanly imported. I had a large number of empty categories, so I simply deleted them all, created new ones, and re-assigned. Had I more posts, this would probably have been much more tedious!
The exported feed uses
Word Press uses
I would think that you could carefully insert the proper syntax into the file prior to upload and correct this issue.
Second, the author is listed as “James” for every single post! I found later that the eduspaces export does not seem to contain an author field, but Word Press uses
This seems to be a default value if the author field is not found. However, I could find no way to edit this field once my posts were imported. So James will be getting a lot of (dubious?) credit in my blog! Again, it seems reasonable to think that you could correct this prior to importing the text file.
Third, there were quite a few���� symbols scattered throughout my text. The last time I saw something like this, it had to do with UTF encoding. However, I really don’t know what causes these symbols. Some posts had more, some had less. Posts with a lot of code seemed to have the most. There were also some ]]> closing characters on each post. For most posts, I edited the symbols, but some I just left.
Fourth, I had to manually change the accessibility setting of posts. Most of my posts on eduspaces were accessible to logged in users only. When I imported my content, I had to set the commenting and post status where it differed from the default (default appears to be allow comments and pings, make public). While I know that there is a site wide admin setting you can use, individual articles can override. I was unsure how that affected my newly restored content, so as I was editing �symbols anyway, I checked the access settings.
All in all, it took me an hour or two to get set up. I enjoy all the tools that edublogs makes available. I will certainly miss the social networking aspects of eduspaces; there are some very exciting things happening with ELGG. I would not be attempting to manage a university ELGG site (however small!) had I not experienced it first hand as a member of Eduspaces.net. I appreciate very much the opportunity provided by the Elgg developers.
The good news is that I heard a rumor that edublogs will be venturing into community tools early next year! It could be very exciting!