by: Norm Friesen
Tools that support the creation of high-quality learning object metadata are indispensable to the successful implementation of the IEEE LOM standard. CanCore has earlier emphasized that these tools should be developed in such a way that they directly address (or can be adapted to address) the requirements of particular user groups and local implementations (Friesen, Roberts & Fisher, 2004). This document provides an overview of a number of these tools. It begins with a discussion of the purpose and recommended design characteristics of tools for metadata creation.
Approaches to Metadata
In the introduction to the 2.0 version of its metadata guidelines, CanCore suggests that tools for metadata editing and management should generally expose their users to as little of the complexity of LOM element names and structures as possible. The reason for this is that the significance and complexity of many of these names and structures are likley to be challenging except for very specialized users. What is likely to be more meaningful are terms and structures that reflect the meaning and purpose given to LOM elements and their interrelationship within a specific implmentation. (E.g. The element "General.Identifier.Entry" could be automatically be given a value based on the project url and the database identifier assigned to the resource, rather than being presented to the user as a blank field requiring input. A value for General.Identifier.Catalog could also be similarly provided or "set" within the implementation.)
At the same time, however, hiding the complexity of the LOM from its users can limit the flexibility and range of applications of a tool, and can limit its utility to a single workflow or implementation context. The economies of scale that prevail in educational institutions and projects makes the costs of such limitation and inflexibility prohibitive. As a result, each of the tools listed below --many of which have utilized the guidelines of CanCore or of a related application profile (e.g. UKLOMCore)-- tries to strike its own balance between the complexity it presents to its user, and its comprehensiveness and flexibility.
One tool, or rather, framework or component, presents a kind of exeption to this: The "automatic metadata generation tool" listed below offers none of the LOM elements for completion by its users. Instead, it generates values for a number of LOM elements automatically. It represents an approach to metadata that differs somewhat from that implicit in the other metadata tools listed here --and from the approach taken by CanCore: It generates metadata through entirely automatic procedures, and only based on the "the content of the learning object" and the "context" in which the object is "deployed" (see description, below.)
Readers are encouraged to try out these metadata creation tools, and to apply their own on criteria for judgement.
The tools featured in this document met the following criteria. Each tool
- has been updated during or since 2004 (at the earliest)
- is readily available (anyone can download directly or can reliably request/register to use)
- is capable of producing IEEE LOM XML (The IEEE LOM XML binding standard has only been available since the spring of 2005)
As indicated in the comments above, this overview of LOM editing/creation tools is intended to be informative rather than evaluative. It uses, to whatever extent possible, the words used by the tool's creators to describe the tool.
Please help us make this listing more comprehensive and complete. Send information about any additional tools (or approaches to metadata creation) to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ADLib: http://adlib.athabascau.ca/adlib/ (Login required; free registration)
ALOHA 2: http://aloha2.netera.ca/
Automatic Metadata Generation Framework:
Curriculum Online Tagging Tool (v3x): http://www.curriculumonline.gov.uk/SupplierCentre/taggingtool.htm
eduSource: eRIB Metatagging Tool: http://demo.licef.teluq.uquebec.ca/eRIB/
EXPLORA-II LCMS and Learning Object Repository / EXPLORA-II: http://explora2.licef.teluq.uquebec.ca/demo/
PALOMA is a learning object and metadata manager with distributed repository access. It offers the following functionality:
Reload v2.0: http://www.reload.ac.uk/index.html