The purpose of this document is to provide users and implementers of the IMS Learning Resource Meta-data1 v1.3 Specification with a narrative description of the data model along with guidelines on its use, including the creation of application profiles. This Best Practice and Implementation Guide also provides a brief description of IEEE P1484.12.3 Standard for Extensible Markup Language (XML) Schema Definition Language Binding for Learning Object Metadata [LOMBind, 05] plus guidelines on binding meta-data instances. Designers and developers of online learning materials have an enormous variety of software tools at their disposal for creating learning resources. These tools range from simple presentation software packages to more complex authoring environments. They can be very useful in allowing developers the opportunity to create learning resources that might otherwise require extensive programming skills. Unfortunately, the wide variety of software tools available from a wide variety of vendors produce instructional materials that do not share a common mechanism for finding and using these resources.
Descriptive labels can be used to index learning resources making them easier to find and use. Such labels are "data about data" and when they are formally declared, or structured according to some specification, they are referred to as "meta-data". An example of meta-data is the label on a can of soup, which describes the can's ingredients, weight, cost, and so forth, usually in a small table with labels that are recognizable. Another example is a card in a library's card catalog, which describes a book, its author, subject, location within the library, and so forth.
A meta-data specification aims to make the process of finding and using a learning resource more efficient by providing a structure of defined elements that describe, or catalog, the learning resource and requirements about how the elements are to be used and represented.