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Dr. Norm Friesen Athabasca, AB 11/12/09 Metadata Possibilities: from the IEEE LOM through Dublin Core to …the “Cloud”?. Photo: EssjayNZ. Overview. What is a standard & how can it be evaluated? Standards to consider for metadata for online learning resources:

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Dr. Norm Friesennfriesen@tru.caAthabasca, AB 11/12/09Metadata Possibilities: from the IEEE LOM through Dublin Core to …the “Cloud”?

Photo: EssjayNZ

  • What is a standard & how can it be evaluated?
  • Standards to consider for metadata for online learning resources:
    • Learning Object Metadata (IEEE LOM)
    • Dublin Core
    • ISO/IEC JTC1 SC36 “Metadata for Learning Resources”
  • A case for a “new” approach
what is a standard
What is a standard?
  • "documented agreements containing technical specifications or other precise criteria to be used consistently as rules, guidelines, or definitions of characteristics, to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose"
  • Fit for Purpose: discoverable, reusable, interoperable, adaptable, accessible
  • De facto / de jure standards: complex relationship
  • E.g. Dublin Core, folksonomies, etc.
three standards for educational generic resource metadata
Three Standards for Educational & Generic Resource Metadata

IEEE Learning Object Metadata

  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; Standard released in 2002; renewed in 2009; CanCore as documentation

ISO Dublin Core (OCLC –Online Computer Library Centre)

  • American (ANSI/NISO) Standard in 2001 (Z39.85-2001)
  • ISO Standard 15836:2009
  • IETF RFC 5013 of August 2007

ISO/IEC JTC 1 Learning Resource Metadata (will be standardizing IMS Content Packaging and SCORM)

  • 2009/09 (framework); 2010/03 (Dublin Core elements)
ieee learning object metadata
IEEE Learning Object Metadata
  • 1484.12.3: Standard For Learning Technology-Extensible Markup Language (XML) Schema Definition Language Binding For Learning Object Metadata (2005)
  • “On 13 May 2009, the IEEE-SA Standards Board approved the reaffirmation of LOM. That means that LOM has entered its second 5 year period of being an active standard.”
lom basics 76 elements
LOM Basics: 76 Elements
  • General (10)
  • Lifecycle (9)
  • Meta-metadata (10)
  • Educational (11)
  • Technical (12)
  • Rights (3)
  • Relation (7)
  • Annotation (4)
  • Classification (9)

2 types of elements:

  • Ones containing others
  • Ones containing data

6 types of data:

  • CharacterString
  • LangString (value, language indicator)
  • DateTime, Duration
  • Vocabulary
  • vCard
how elements data work together
How elements & data work together











<string language="eng">Idea: The Inter…</string>

<string language="fra">Idea: la base…</string>


complex structures classification lifecycle technical
Complex structures: classification, lifecycle, technical










FN:Dr. John W. Smith

ORG:Open Learning Agency







how are these elements used international survey from 2006
How are these Elements used?International Survey from 2006

5 Sets of records varying in size from 75 to over 3000; 50 randomly selected from each (n=250):

  • ARIADNE Project (EU)
  • the LTSN (UK)
  • Metalab (France)
  • CELTS (China)
  • CAREO (Canada)
frequency of element use1
Frequency of Element Use

The most frequently used elements (not container elements; %-tage):

  • Title, Description, Keyword
  • Format (e.g. .html, .jpg, .doc)
  • Language (human)
  • Author
  • Learning Resource Type (simulation, exercise, etc.)
  • Subject Classification (Purpose=Discipline)
how are used elements populated
How are used elements populated?
  • Contributor Types 
  • Info about contributors
conclusions elements and values selected frequently
Conclusions: Elements and Values Selected Frequently
  • The LOM is used to describe intellectual content of resources:
    • General: Identifier, Title, Description, Keyword
    • LifeCycle.Contribute (role = Author and publisher)
    • Classification (Purpose=Discipline)
  • The LOM is used to describe file and media characteristics:
    • Technical.Format, Technical.Size, Location
    • Educational.Learning Resource Type (text, hypertext, notes, etc.)
conclusions elements and values seldom selected
Conclusions: Elements and Values Seldom Selected
  • LOM use does NOT emphasize description of an educational context or level:
    • Educational.Semantic Density 0%
    • Educational.Context <20%
    • EndUserRole 40%
  • LOM is NOT used to describe resources in terms of software objects:
    • Structure, Version (i.e. Alpha, Beta), Status <18%
    • Aggregation level <27%
    • Contribute.Role="terminator" “technical implementer/validator“ 0%

“The “industrialist” Learning Objects approach has run out of steam” (OLCOS Roadmap, 2007)

Keep it simple (stupid!) E.g., see Wilson 2005:

  • notepad test - can you create a valid data instance in Notepad in less than 4k?
  • reading test: can you read and understand the basics of the specification in less than one hourr?
  • scripting test - can you script a simple client or service provider in one day?

Embed in html; realize value with small investment; compatible with “Web 2.0” technologies & practices (interactive information sharing; collaboration; distributed)

dublin core
Dublin Core
  • ISO Standard 15836-2003 of February 2003
    • 2nd edition available as of  2009-02-18
  • ANSI/NISO Standard Z39.85-2007 of May 2007
  • IETF RFC 5013 of August 2007
  • OCLC
  • As a de facto standard?
15 elements in the dces
15 Elements in the DCES
  • Contributor
  • Coverage
  • Creator
  • Date
  • Description
  • Format
  • Identifier
  • Language
  • Publisher
  • Relation
  • Rights
  • Source
  • Subject
  • Title
  • Type
expressing dublin core description sets using xml for title
Expressing Dublin Core Description Sets using XML(for title)

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?> <dcds:descriptionSet


<!-- Description Element -->




<dcds:literalValueString>DCMI Home Page





rdf the resource example org has the subject ornitology from the vocab taxonomy myvocab
RDF: "The resource ( has the subject 'Ornitology' from the vocab: …/taxonomy/MyVocab"

<rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf=""xmlns:dcterms=""xmlns:ex=""xmlns:dcam=""><rdf:Description rdf:about=""> <dcterms:subject> <rdf:Description> <dcam:memberOf

rdf:resource=""/> <rdf:value>Ornitology</rdf:value> </rdf:Description></dcterms:subject></rdf:Description></rdf:RDF>

what does rdf in particular enable
What does RDF in particular enable?
  • "a recommended best practice for exposing, sharing, and connecting pieces of data, information, and knowledge on the Semantic Web using URIs [Web addresses] and RDF." 
  • “The properties and classes of DCMI Metadata Terms have been defined for compatibility with Linked Data principles”
  • “Over the past two years, vast amounts of commercial and public-sector data have been added to a growing to a linked data cloud.”
e g searching in wikipedia vs dbpedia
E.g. Searching in Wikipedia vs. DBpedia

Wikipedia Article: Max Schreck

dc levels of interoperability
DC: Levels of Interoperability
  • Level 1: Shared Term Definitions -based on shared natural-language definitions
  • Level 2: Formal Semantic Interop: based on the shared formal model via RDF & linked data
  • Level 3: Description Set Syntactic Interop: share abstract syntax for validatable metadata records
  • Level 4: Description Set Profile Interop: shared vocabularies & view of world
metadata for learning resources
Metadata for Learning Resources
  • ISO/IEC 19788-1 ITLET – Metadata for Learning Resources –Part 1: Framework 2010-09
  • ISO/IEC 19788-2 ITLET – Metadata for Learning Resources – Part 2: Core Elements 2011-03
  • “The DC-Education Community is working with the ISO Metadata for Learning Resources group to ensure compatibility of the DC-Education Application Profile Module and the ISO MLR-5: Educational Elements standard. We will be attending ISO MLR webconferences on 16 November 2009 and 18 December 2009, in preparation for the group's big meeting in Osaka in 2010.”
mlr characteristics
MLR – Characteristics
  • Multilingual capability: for element contents, for documentation and support
  • Accessibility: one part of the standard will be devoted to accessibility; accessibility experts have been providing input throughout
  • Compatibility: with the IEEE LOM (as an application profile), with Dublin Core (very directly), with Dublin Core RDF
  • Support: implementation guideline(s) planned
mlr part 2 dublin core elements
MLR Part 2: Dublin Core Elements
  • “This Part is provides full Dublin Core interoperability for this Standard. This is achieved through the description of each Dublin Core element using the MLR data element specification template provided in the MLR Part 1 Framework. In addition, Dublin Core definitions were reviewed in order to level out interpretation [and] ambiguity[,] and best practice guidance is provided in notes.”
how rdf works
How RDF works

Oval = Resource (URI)

Rectangle = Literal (String)

  • ISO SC36 Livelink:
  • Dublin Core
  • My blog: