LMAP Update

The story so far: through the learning materials application profile scoping study we are investigating the metadata requirements when storing learning materials in a repository. The first news to tell you is that we wont be finishing at the end of January as originally planned, but will have a draft report available by the end of February. Most importantly at the moment we have a straw man model that we hope to use in the analysis that we would welcome comments on.

Our starting point has been that metadata will be required to describe many resource types and to support many activities each of which will be a domain of expertise in its own right. We have now finalized our list of these domains relevant to LMAP, and are talking to representative experts about metadata requirements related to each domain. Feel free to get in touch if you’ve got something to tell us. I hope to be able to put links into this list to the information that we acquire for each domain, so that this will become the working document for the synthesis.

In order to help with the other part of the project, the analysis, I thought it would be useful to have a domain model for learning materials in repositories. The result, on which I would like comments, is a two-part model based on OAIS and FRBR dealing with what the repository does and what the object is respectively. I don’t claim that this is the only view of repositories / learning materials, or that it is the best, but I hope that it is at least a valid view that doesn’t miss out anything too important. Please let me know if you agree or not, either as a reply to this blog post or by email direct to me or to the CETIS-Metadata list if you would like this to be discussed more widely.

6 thoughts on “LMAP Update

  1. Hi Phil, this is good work, thank you (and the Dublin Core Education AP Task Group thanks you too for getting started with a Domain Model, which we need!). I like the start you’ve made at expanding the FRBR model for the educational setting, with the different kinds of agents and some expression of their context; also the feeding-back-in of user/usage generated data in the OAIS model.

    If there’s a gap, it might be the other kinds of relationships learning materials might have, as part of a more complex learning materials- the whole ‘asset – learning object – lesson – course’ type thing. Did you give any thought to that, do you feel it can be encompassed in FRBR, or did you decide to give it a wide berth? Perhaps you feel it’s not relevant to metadata descriptions of learning materials? I think maybe it is, but I wish it wasn’t.

    I may just be missing where it fits in of course, highly likely, so look forward to hearing more!

  2. Hi Phil,

    I’ve finally had a chance to look over the list of domains and the draft domain model. Regarding the domains, I understand the distinction you’re trying to draw between “domains relating to activities” and “domains relating to resource types” and I know why you’re trying to make this distinction. However I’m a bit unsure about classifying “assessment metadata” as relating to a resource type rather than an activity, couldn’t it be either? Also does accessibility metadata really relate to an activity? I wonder if part of the problem here is the use of the term “activity”?

    I think you’ve made a really good start on the draft domain model and it’s good to see some initial comments from Pete and Sarah. I’m not too concerned about the issue Pete raised regarding whether Agents must be coherent units, however I definitely agree with his comments regarding the importance of model accommodating whole part relationships. I think this also relates to the issue Sarah raised about the asset – learning object – lesson – course relationship.

  3. Hi Phil,
    Like what you have done so far.
    I would agree with Sarah that it would be useful to include some form of ‘structural metadata’
    I know the problems that this could to if you start down this route with people then using this for presentation purposes but I think it would be useful to include what Lorna calls ‘whole part’ relationships


  4. Hi Phil,
    Thanks for the work you have done on this, I printed off the sections from the website and read them on the train down and back to Manchester today ( I ended scribbling on the paper – very retro I know). As I just got back and am going to the workshop tomorrow I thought I should write down my ideas before they fade.

    The model does look useful indeed – and one of the good things about such an idea is that it provides a starting point for discussion and I can see that this will be a useful function Jorum as we revisit ideas about the repository and its function in a very fundamental way. It abstract enough to be shareable and not to detailed to be full of low level clutter if that makes sense. A graphical representation iis really handy as well. The model can be adapted and tweaked for local use.

    The model for objects looks useful and I was looking at it to see if it might be mapped onto essential aspects of rights management information – and I think it might be possible to do that in a simple and useful way, we can talk about that later.

    Picking up on Lorna’s comments about the terminology of domains relatig to resource types and activity. I think you are right to do this but erhaps the better term would be to talk about the context of use for the metadata instead of activity? In this connection I would link this to saw a really good presentation I attended recently by a BBC usability engineer ( I think that was the job title) who was involved in media/information delivery to multiple platforms. The phrase she used that has stuck inmy mind was ‘service delivery in context’ and is one of their jargon phrases but it seems very relevant here. If we look at what you call domains realting to activities and is we called it ‘Service delivery Context for Metadata’, not very catchy I know, but that might capture and express the meaning more clearly? In this perspective the different metadata domains then relate to the type of use/interaction/service the user is going to get from the metadata. Hope that makes sense – it might fir with the agent aspect of the model as well.

    I think somehow there is a need to distinguishe between the long-term info management needs of the service and the needs of the user. These are not always the same and currently the web2 bandwagon seems to (in e-learning) think the info management issues are sorted, I don’t think thery are for info management but web2 stuff can help users make sense of the service – and it is not an either or thing – although web2 seems to not like dissent in this area. In a lot of industries if you giving out lots of dosh to create content you dont get a choice you have to create metadata (mandate is probably the only way to make that happen in e-learning – oops a bit controverisal there 🙂

    The relationship of the part to the whole is an important obe that Sarah raises and practitioners are very clear about the need for context to make sense of a resource. It is an article of learning object dogma that they should be small – but it would be interesting to see how users use and make sense of larger resources and that would be worth investigating. After all the open learn stuff is appearing as complete courses (I think).

    Thanks John

  5. Phil:

    I have to say that I was a bit worried about the broad scope of this LMAP work. One of the things that sent us aground in the first few years of the DC-Ed AP work was this notion that we had to have a model of the whole world as part of our AP. In other words, we took as given the idea that an education AP had to describe entire resources, not just the education aspects of resources. When we started work under that assumption, we found that people’s ideas about the general description of resources were very genre and format driven, and we couldn’t even get past “Title.”

    What we ended up doing is saying that the DC-Ed AP was intended to be modular, and we would expect it to be used in conjunction with a more generalized AP appropriate for the description of the basic resource itself, which would then be combined with a DC-Ed AP to describe just the educational aspects. I still think this is the right way to go.

    With that approach, FRBR is really out of scope as a model, because it doesn’t have any relevance to educational description. This is a good thing, and goodness knows there’s lots to talk about in the area of describing educational aspects to keep people busy for some time! Lately I’ve been working with the DCMI/RDA efforts to nail down FRBR sufficiently for a formal representation for RDA, and this experience ha convinced me completely that there will be a variety of FRBR approaches to the description of the resource themselves, based primarily on the type of resource described and who’s describing it, and rather than fight that, we should accept it and move on to what we’re really interested in.

    Particularly in the world of re-use we will of necessity not want to mess with the description of the resource itself when describing education use, whether actual use or intended, and I think we should depend on specialists in those descriptive areas to define what happens with titles, and creators, and whatever.


  6. Hi again Phil,

    Just to add to Diane’s comment: first I’d like to say that taking part in the work you’re doing has been incredibly useful for me in helping me think the issues through for the purposes of the DC-Education AP Domain Model- I’m very grateful to JISC CETIS for the opportunity to have these discussions at such a ripe time for *our* work, which I’m aware wasn’t really what you were originally funded for.

    My feeling is that it is exactly the fuzzy places in both models you have put up as strawmen that are the areas (or domains if you like 🙂 ) where the DC-Education work resides. That is, in the OAIS model, you’ve added a proposed “user-puts-back-in” bit for user comments / reviews / ‘I used it like this and this is how it worked in my classroom’ type stuff. Well, that is something that has come up in our use case gathering and as you know comes up all the time when talking to educational practitioners about useful metadata. Then there’s the whole “context” discussion which is the new and fuzzy bit of your strawman FRBR model, which encompasses a lot of the rest of what we’re about. *Then* there’s the part-whole relationships that have already been discussed (asset-learning object-lesson-course etc.).

    I would almost hazard that, you may end up meeting your own local requirement for a domain model of use to JISC for the next step in whatever they decide to do for the Repositories Programme- and whatever we end up with will be leaping off from there (with, for the reasons Diane has elucidated above) only a loose coupling back to the overall domain model you develop, as ours has to fit in with many other domain models.

    Of course, the problem for us is that those fuzzy areas which we need to describe, have had many good minds trying to describe them for years, often causing long arguments. I guess that we (DC-Education Community) will have to end up being pragmatic and *just* coming up with something that reasonably describes the domain we want to cover based on our use cases.

    So, watch this space (here and at DC-Ed)- looking forward to the LMAP report Phil.

    Thanks again.
    S. 🙂

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