At last, it is official: “effective October 23, 2014, leadership and governance of the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) […] have transferred from the Association of Educational Publishers and Creative Commons to the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI).”
This represents the end of LRMI as a project, and the start of it as a member of the family of stable-but-evolving educational metadata specifications, one which is maintained under the governance protocols of DCMI. This does not mean that LRMI is being merged in some way with Dublin Core’s well known metadata element set or terms; DCMI is more than its specifications, it is (as it says on its website banner, with my emphasis) a metadata community “supporting innovation in metadata design, implementation and best practices”. The longstanding high regard with which the DC Metadata Element Set and DC Terms are held is testament to the care and expertise that the DCMI community devotes to specification development and curation. LRMI will now benefit from that same care and expertise. It will also benefit from representation among other educational technology and metadata specification and standardization bodies, for example through the Digital Learning Metadata Alliance.
This does not mean that activity and development of LRMI will stop. It won’t (I hope), but new developments will be subject to careful scrutiny and well governed procedures leading to community acceptance. The scope and pace of new developments won’t be prescribed by project proposals, workpackages and deadlines agreed with funders, they will depend on people articulating needs and solutions that they are prepared to put effort into developing. The funding was necessary to get the initiative up and running, the funders have been great in allowing the project to be responsive and agile in ascertaining and meeting the needs of key stakeholders. The funders never dictated how the project met its aims. The project would not have reached this successful end point had that not been the case. For any initiative to continue after the initial project funding ends is a challenge, but I believe LRMI as part of DCMI is well placed to meet that challenge, now onus is on the community who use LRMI to take it forward by defining new areas for building consensus within the DCMI governance framework and by bringing new resources to this effort.
Transfer to DCMI does not mean the end of the involvement of many of the individuals who have worked on LRMI in the past. The task of setting up LRMI within DCMI is being undertaken by a task group that includes Lorna M Campbell and me, extending the work that Cetis were funded to undertake in phase 3 of the funded project, Stuart Sutton, Dan Brickley, Michael Jay and Steve Midgley all of who have been active throughout the project. Beyond that, one of the reasons why DCMI was felt to be an appropriate home for LRMI is the fact that there are no barriers put in the way of anyone who wants to contribute to their work on specifications, so I hope that we will see many others who have contributed to LRMI in the past joining us.
Many thanks to my colleagues at the Association of Educational Publishers, Creative Commons and the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative who have made this possible.