Dublin Core Education Community Meeting: Report

August 29, 2007, Singapore

Meeting organised and facilitated by: Sarah Currier, Diane Hillmann (co-Moderators); Stuart Sutton, co-Chair Emeritus

Attended by ca. 20 delegates; there was also a fair amount of feedback and discussion via the Community email list during the Conference.

1. Introductions and Overview (Sarah Currier)

The DC-Ed Community met to review progress to date on the DC-Ed AP against the workplan for 2006/2007, and to make decisions on progressing completion of a draft AP for submission to the UB by mid-2008.  Sarah noted that there had been increasing interest in the AP work from the DC and LOM communities, and that several new educational metadata APs were in evidence at the Conference.  These included a paper from Abdul Halim Abdul and Abdus Sattar Chaudhry [1]; mention of a metadata application profile for agricultural learning resources in Johannes Keizer's keynote speech on the Food and Agriculture Organisation's metadata implementations [2]; and a presentation here at the DC-Ed AP Meeting.  We were fortunate to have this presentation from Sophy Chen of the National Digital Archive Program in Taiwan, as it grounded the meeting in real world educational metadata requirements (see section 2 below).

2. Report from the Field: Educational Metadata AP in the National Digital Archives Program, Taiwan (Sophy Chen)

Sophy provided a PowerPoint presentation for this meeting, which is now available on the DC-Ed wiki.

The Taiwan National Digital Archives Program (NDAP) started in 2002, under a significant tranche of funding.  Phase I (2002-2006) digitized important archival materials and established the Taiwan Digital Archives, with more than 2 million DC records.  Phase II is from 2007-2010.  Sophy is from the Metadata Architectural and Application Team (MAAT) at NDAP.  She described layers of knowledge management: data type, discipline, functionality, community.  MAAT's tasks are to introduce metadata standards, draft national standards, implement standards into collections, projects and institutions.  One of these is Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs' School of e-Learning (CASE).  They use DC as their generic interoperability layer, over the top of a domain specific layer used for more specific detailed information.

They also do translations of the standards between English and Chinese, and draft the national standard: TWLOM=Taiwan Learning Object Metadata Standard, based on IEEE LOM and SCORM.  Each of the APs using LOM use different methods for localizing.  She described how the project is determining the core elements, with a combination of questionnaires, comparing the existing standards, interviewing educational experts and feedback from staff of repositories.  The result is a structure that is LOM-based and hierarchical.  The feedback from their users is that their first pass is too complex and the creators of metadata would like ten elements or less that they would have to deal with. In total they have 53 elements from LOM that they will use.

They use specialized vocabularies developed from the Grade 1-9 curriculum.  They would like to encourage remixing and reuse, so they have adopted the Creative Commons licences.  They feel comfortable with the choice of LOM, and they have defined their own vocabularies, rather than using those recommended by LOM.  They follow SCORM to determine obligation for their LOM elements.

The TWLOM will be the national standard in Taiwan in 2007, they would like to build an interoperable bridge to DC and expand this to higher education.  Jon Mason noted that the SCORM standard is about to be updated to use a different packaging standard.

3. DC-Ed AP (Sarah Currier & Stuart Sutton)

The PowerPoint presentation for this meeting is available on the DC-Ed wiki here.

3.1 Overview of work to date

Sarah gave an overview of what the Community was doing in terms of focus on interoperability in the educational sector.  Mikael Nilsson talked about what would be discussed in the IEEE LTSC/DCMI Taskforce in the next session after the break.

DC-Ed AP:

- Aim: to provide a modular AP to support description of the educational aspects of resources, which may be used with or plugged into other metadata descriptions.

- Scope: educationally significant properties available in DC, and any other standard (most notably looking at the IEEE LOM).

- Out of scope: will not define or give guidelines for usage of non-educational properties or non-educational use of properties.  This includes accessibility metadata; there had been some discussion of this on the DC-Ed email list, but it was decided that, unless an accessibility attribute is identified that is specific to educational resources, accessibility metadata is out of scope.  Modularity should enable people to plug in educational properties when needed, in conjunction with other APs, including an accessibility AP.

- What to call it?:  There was some discussion over a question raised on the Community email list as to whether this can be called an AP at all.  There was some enthusiasm for the term Application Profile Module, which had been suggested by Phil Barker of JISC-CETIS.

DC-Ed Community Progress for 2006/2007:

The following progress for the 2006/2007 year was reported:

a. Use cases.

- See the DC-Ed wiki for an up-to-date list of use cases for the AP.

b. Candidate list of vocabularies (Type and Instructional Method only).

- See the DC-Ed wiki for an up-to-date discussion of vocabularies work for this AP, including criteria for inclusion in the AP.

- See here for a table collating vocabularies for Type and Instructional Method, noting how they meet or don't meet the inclusion criteria.

c. Investigating possible additional metadata elements.

- The current working draft of the DC-Ed AP includes an appendix listing additional LOM educational elements for possible inclusion in a DC-Ed AP, with notes.  There has been some discussion on the Community email list about possible further Audience refinements (see below under Outstanding Issues).

- Stuart Sutton has been working on developing a new Correlation resource for the DC conformsTo property, as a way of indicating to what extent an educational resource may be used in teaching and learning to meet a particular achievement standard (e.g. a competency or learning objective).  Discussion and information on this work may be found on the DC-Ed wiki here.

General progress in growing the DC-Ed Community has been very successful, with a number of new people joining from around the world since the last Conference in 2006 (and indeed subsequent to the 2007 Conference).  Attendance of Co-Moderator Sarah Currier, and Pete Johnston of the IEEE LTSC/DC Taskforce, at the JISC-CETIS Metadata Special Interest Group (a community of LOM implementers) in April 2007, with a presentation and discussion session on the DC-Ed work, brought about some useful discussion, as well as a surge of new Community members.  Sarah's report on that meeting can be found here.

Outstanding issues:

- AP Modelling:

It was clear from the DC-Architecture presentation on the Singapore Framework for Application Profiles that further work needs to be done to bring the DC-Ed AP in line with the Framework.

The Framework currently states that the following elements may be included in a Dublin Core AP:

– Functional requirements (mandatory)

– Domain model (mandatory)

– Description Set Profile (DSP) (mandatory)

– Usage guidelines (optional)

– Encoding syntax guidelines (optional)

It's likely that there will be another bullet-point required between Domain Model and Description Set Profile, for Properties.

Sarah noted that the Community had already developed functional requirements, but suggested these may need to be looked at again in light of the Singapore Framework, to ensure they were appropriate to requirements.

Stuart presented his draft of a domain model (see the meeting slides on the DC-Ed wiki here), and some discussion ensued.  Stuart pointed out that, being based on LOM, it didn’t handle very well materials aimed at teachers rather than students.  Sarah noted that this type of modelling had been attempted at various stages within the LOM community for a number of years, but that there was no single standard approach, and that no one could really agree on the best way.  All commended Stuart for having a go at it; this first attempt can be built on in the coming year.

There was some discussion of the modularity of the AP.  Mikael noted that the domain model we have is a good start, that we should note where the AP fits in to each of the granularity levels, and what it explicitly doesn’t include, like agents, titles, etc.  He thinks that this is a perfectly good approach even though the Architecture Forum hasn’t quite figured out yet how the Application Profile Module approach will work.

- Properties:

The properties under discussion for the DC-Ed AP are:

- Audience and its refinements.

- instructionalMethod.

- Type.

- Subject.

- Relation: conformsTo.

Audience and its refinements:

Sarah noted the issues around Audience refinement educationLevel, and how they relate to IEEE LOM elements for educational level, educational context and age of intended user.  These issues had been discussed previously on the DC-Ed email list. There was a question as to whether a new Audience refinement needs to be proposed for educationContext and/or something for age of intended user, or whether it is appropriate to continue to subsume at least educationContext within educationLevel as currently is the case.  No conclusion was reached at the meeting and this was tabled for further work.

InstructionalMethod and Type:

Sarah noted that the work item to gather vocabularies for use with these property had been completed, although submission of further vocabularies will continue to be welcome.

Subject:

Sarah asked whether it would be a useful work item to gather vocabularies for Subject.  Would there be subject vocabularies specific to education?  Examples include things like the Joint Academic Coding Scheme used in the United Kingdom for higher education resources.  It was agreed that this could be attempted.

Relation: conformsTo:

Stuart presented his ideas about a Correlation resource for use with conformsTo, based on experience with NSDL and the ASN.  Details of this proposal are on the DC-Ed wiki here.  The proposal was greeted with much interest.  Ivan Herman (who leads Semantic Web activity at W3C) noted that the Correlation work seems fairly close to the work of the W3C Uncertainty Reasoning for the World Wide Web Incubator Group, at least in part; Stuart agreed.  The outcome was a general agreement that work on this proposal should continue.

Sarah briefly summarised other properties from the IEEE LOM that could be considered for inclusion; there was no time for discussion on these.  She also noted that best practice / usage guidelines needed to be looked at and completed for all properties included in the AP.

3.2. Workplan for 2007/2008: priorities and actions

- The DC-Ed Community will form a new Task Group to finish outstanding work on the AP in time for presentation at the mid-year UB meeting in 2008.  This Group will be for those who are willing to take on tasks; input from the wider community will be regularly sought via the wiki, the DC-Ed email list, and any other opportunities that Task Group members have for dissemination and discussion (e.g. JISC-CETIS networks and communities in the United Kingdom).  The Task Group will hold regular teleconferences, with agendas and minutes made available to the whole Community.

- It was clear from this meeting that there is a lot of work to be done on completing this AP to a reasonable standard: Sarah and Diane do not have the time between them to complete everything that needs doing.  Sarah wondered whether we need a better resource base to focus on the big push?  Some funding would be helpful, perhaps something like that which funded the Scholarly Works/ePrints AP, enabling its completion and dissemination.  There is a JISC-funded project currently under way in the UK scoping application profiles for learning materials; Sarah agreed to speak with Lorna Campbell and Phil Barker who are managing this small project for JISC-CETIS, and see if they would be willing to give input to the Task Group.  However, it was also agreed that some investigation of direct funding of a DC-Ed AP project would be needed.

- Specific tasks:

    * Form Task Group, appoint officers and assign tasks (Sarah and Diane)

    * Investigate possible project funding for AP (Task Group; DC-Ed Community)

    * Collate subject vocabularies (Sarah)

    * Finalise domain model (TBC - Task Group)

    * Finalise properties for inclusion in AP (TBC - Task Group)

    * Finalise usage guidelines (TBC - Task Group)

References:

[1] Abdul, A.H. and Chaudhry, A.S.  Integrating Dublin Core and Learning Object Metadata for Describing Learning Objects for Enhanced Reusability in Proceedings of DC-2007, Singapore.  Abstract with link to full-text pdf at: http://www.dcmipubs.org/ojs/index.php/pubs/article/view/33

[2] Keizer, J. "ags - Application Profiles" - Building Blocks for a Semantic "Bus" in Agricultural Information  Keynote speech at DC-2007, Singapore.  Abstract available at: http://www.dc2007.sg/index.asp?section=session#Keynote