JISC IE Metadata Schema Registry

Notes of Project Meeting, 9 Mar 2004

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Home Background Dissemination Contacts
Phase 1 WP1: Project management WP2: Model/Use WP3: Tools WP4: m2m WP5: Validation WP6: Policy WP7: Evaluation

Venue: Centre for Academic Practice, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

Present: Barry Kruger (Becta), Lorna Campbell (CETIS), Clive Church (CETIS), Steve Jeyes (CETIS), Alan Slevin (LT Scotland), Phil Barker (CETIS), Dave Beckett (ILRT), Rachel Heery (UKOLN), Pete Johnston (UKOLN)

1. Introduction

The purpose of the meeting was to gather requirements for the IEMSR from users of the IEEE LOM metadata standard within JISC e-Learning projects and within services and projects provided by Becta for other learning/teaching communities.

RH introduced the IEMSR project and participants outlined their own current projects and interests, with particular reference to their role as potential users of a metadata schema registry.

BK: Has worked on several services provding access to educational content (Virtual Teacher Centre [1], Teacher Resource Exchange [2], National Grid for Learning [3], Curriculum Online [4]). Has developed tools for metadata creation based on the IMS LRM XML binding. Also interested in (re)use of taxonomies, interoperability between services (e.g. COL and LTSN).

LC: Interested in registry that can accomodate XML-based metadata. Wants centralised point of access to profiles of IEEE LOM. Also interested in application profiles of specs other than metadata. Also noted relationship to conformance testing (e.g. TELCERT [5]). Conformance requires testing against a specified application profile.

CC: Co-ordinator CETIS FE Focus Group. Working on National Learning Network online learning object repository [6]. Also Community Education initiatives (with Fred Garnett, Becta)

SJ: Co-ordinator CETIS FE Focus Group. Interest in e-Learning architecture, integration with JISC IE, especially through Web Services. Working on tools for XML visualisation and interested in potential integration of tools with IEMSR. Also possible use of IEMSR within JISC CREE project [7].

AS: Cataloguing resources for NGfL Scotland [8] (move from DC-based schema to UK LOM Core-based schema)Interest in metadata creation, disclosure/reuse of taxonomies.

PB: Co-ordinator CETIS Metadata/Digital Repositories Special Interest Group. Interested in improving awareness of specs/standards, disclosure of which specs are used in which way.

2. Functions of IEMSR

RH introduced the IEMSR project and its principal deliverables. The intention is to produce an initial prototype in autumn 2004 and a second version early 2005. The project ends in June 2005.

PJ presented an overview of the IEMSR as an application that provides services based on aggregated information about metadata vocabularies, the component terms that make up those vocabularies, and the relationships between terms. He situated the IEMSR as a shared service within the JISC Information Environment and outlined at a high-level the way in which other service components might interact with the IEMSR.

SJ emphasised the requirement to clarify the distinction between the services that will be provided by the Service Registry (IESR) [9], the Metadata Schema Registry (IEMSR) and terminology service(s). The Service Registry discloses the existence of services and provides information on the interfaces which those services implement, but the services disclosed by the IESR may be provided by other components within the IE. The Metadata Schema Registry may provide services (e.g. disclosure/discovery of information about metadata vocabularies) that enable other services to be built, but those other services may be provided by services components other than the IEMSR itself.

Action: PJ to amend Functions document to clarify roles/scope of shared services.

3. Usage Scenarios for the IEMSR

Four primary use scenarios emerged from the first part of the discussion:

Other points that were discussed included:

4. Prioritisation

RH suggested that it may be helpful to try to prioritise these scenarios during the second half of the meeting.

BK emphasised the need to support the metadata creator. Commercial content providers should be able to access information about a specified application profile, and download a machine-processable form which is suitable for the configuration of a metadata authoring tool, as well as human-readable commentary on each element and on the values provided by controlled vocabularies

LC highlighted the role of the IEMSR in supporting JISC projects and LTSN Centres. They should be able to discover application profiles, obtain sufficient information to understand the usage/relevance of the application profiles, and download a machine-processable form which is suitable for the configuration of an authoring tool. They should also be able to disclose/upload information about their new application profiles, created using tools that enforce the constraints of the LOM. Controlled vocabularies should be made available in standards-based forms (e.g. VDEX, ZThes). Application profiles might be made available as IMS Content Packages.

CC suggested that the IEMSR might include pointers to case studies for the LOM, to provide support for users who perceive the LOM as complex and intimidating. It is also desirable to cater for additional specifications like IMS QTI. Tools for application profile should support the use of an existing profile as the base for the new profile; tools must be usable, by beginners as well as experts. Also there needs to be clarification on the scope of the project, the sustainability of the services delivered, and what else could be done in future.

SJ emphasised the necessity of clarifying the scope of the IEMSR and the benefits it would provide: what functions it would support (and what functions are to be supported by other shared services), the range of content to be processed (e.g. which controlled vocabularies?), and what tools will be developed by this project. Such a scoping exercise was essential to manage the expectations of potential users.

AS expressed similar concerns to BK in his interest in supporting metadata creators, particularly commercial content providers. They require a source of information on metadata schemas in which they can have confidence. The IEMSR should also serve as a source of detailed information on application profiles which can support the training of cataloguers.

PB prioritised first the "quick win" tactic of providing support for the configuration of metadata authoring tools, and second the capacity to disclose/discover existing schemas. Support for the creation of new application profiles might be regarded as having a lower priority; we should be encouraging reuse rather than fostering implementers' tendency to want to reinvent/extend/improve exsting schemas.

DB expressed some concern about the risks of developing a schema creation tool that was specific to the requirements of the LOM. The requirements for a "profile-validation" function may be complex, and were almost certainly schema-specific.

Action: PJ to write up three usage scenarios.

5. Next Steps

LC and AS asked for clarification on what the project wanted from the contributing partners.

Action: RH/PJ to contact additional potential users (Intrallect, Reload, Simulacra, CREE?, commercial content providers?, also DC implementers, RDN etc) for use requirements, which will further clarify issues of scope.


[ 1] Virtual Teacher Centre

[ 2] Teacher Resource Exchange

[ 3] National Grid for Learning

[ 4] Curriculum Online


[ 6] NLN Materials

[ 7] CREE

[ 8] NGfL Scotland

[ 9] JISC IE Service Registry