In our elluminate session on metadata and aggregation for Open Educational Resources, Phil and I spent some time gettting everyone to think through the information required to interact with an educational resource in certain ways (such as: (re-)use, cite, find, identify, manage). this produced a lot of responses prioiritizing different bits of information that are needed. I’ve not gone through my notes thoroughly yet but on the whole particapants agreed that the metadata which the programme asked for was needed (the main element of contention was file format and size which thankfully are probably the most automatable of metadata).
With this in mind I was interested to read about ccLearn’s developments in developing a tool to provide an enhanced search of aggregated OERs and their metadata reccomendations for sources.
“DiscoverEd is an experimental project from ccLearn which attempts to provide scalable search and discovery for educational resources on the web. Metadata, including the license and subject information available, are exposed in the result set.” http://wiki.creativecommons.org/DiscoverEd_FAQ
There’s a lot more to be said about their work as I’m still trying to figure out how it is similar to and differs from all the previous work done on aggregating repositories (at first glance – it’s got the advantage of web friendly syndication/ transport standards but potentially less robust/ standardised descriptive standards). Today however, I thought it would be interesting to compare minimum metadata sets for OERs that I’m aware of and that are intended for multi-organisation/ insitutional use (i.e. not just what a given organisation has decided as a minmimal set for its metadata).
UKOER Mandatory Metadata:
- programme tag
- date (uploaded/ creation)
- file format
- file size
- [I’m fairly sure rights is on some versions of this list but it doesn’t appear on this one]
- subject classsifications
All the metadata is optional but the following is highly recommended :
- education level
Jorum’s OER deposit tool
Gareth Waller summarized the Metadata requirements of the the Jorum OER deposit tool in comment on http://repositorynews.wordpress.com/2009/08/05/musing-about-metadata-for-oer/
“The profile is as follows:
Mandatory metadata set:
- Overview (Description)
- Author Name
Recommended metadata set:
- Project name
- Creation date
- Classification (JACS subject classification)
System Generated metadata set:
- Contributed Date
The ‘keywords’ metadata is currently user generated and does not use a controlled vocabulary.”
Comparing the lists it’s obvious to see some of the reasoning behind the chosen metadata sets. For example, that Jorum’s deposit tool can take advantage of information from Shibboleth and user profiles. It is also very encouraging to see their overlap but I think for me these sets raise a few issues:
- Knowing a file size is important, but are we reaching a point when this information is part fo the programme/ browser?
- I think we still need to record it but am not sure as I’m fairly certain that often when a file size is displayed to someone selecting/ downloading it’s being generated from the file/ by the browser not from the metadata.
- Educational Level…
- I’m surprised to see this in ccLearn’s list – for all it’s simplicity it’s thus far proved a nightmare to agree on educational levels. not only is is nightmarish cross culturally but even within countries it’s not easy. I’ll pass over UK Educational Levels quickly and point out a project I’ve mentioned before Standard Connection – an NSF project trying to map curricula within the US. I’m not sure what progress they made but do know it certainly wasn’t straightforward.
The inclusion of educational level does however point to the difference between what educators think is necessary and what is easy to provide. I’ll come back to this in part 2 when I’ll try to wrangle some sense out of our elluminate session surveys.
I’ll note two things in passing by way of interim conclusion:
- that OCW are discussing if they should have a minimal metadata set (http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/1493).
- that the suggested basic metadata for ccLearn is similar enough to the required and suggested metadata for DiscoverEd that there’s no reason that UKOER projects can’t (at no extra cost 🙂 ) publish their collections there too. The University of Nottingham initiative UNOW is doing this already. [edit: the Open University’s initiative Open Learn is there too]