On Friday (16th November) I was at a meeting of the Academy Subject Centre e-portfolio projects, in Wolverhampton. Among more gently interesting topics, the big thing that came out in the end was the desire not to be able to navigate around e-portfolio related information and resources without being swamped or overloaded. Initially discussing case studies, people at the meeting agreed that we don’t really want uniform templates, but rather uniform tags. Exactly how these might work was not discussed, but the question got me thinking.
Ideally, to get a coherent and consistent set of domain tags, they need to be based on an agreed domain model. This could be a domain ontology, but what one calls it is less important than the reality of it being: (a) widely and commonly agreed; and (b) able to be put in a machine-processable form for use on the web – the Semantic Web in fact.
JISC could perhaps fund one or more projects, absolutely not, under any circumstances, to invent their own domain models or ontologies in isolation, but to explore what common ground there is in a particular domain, and to explore also the processes which can result in broadening the area of agreement in the domain model. A by-product of this would be an evaluation of the usefulness of the tools needed to facilitate broadening of consensus in the domain model. Here, graphical representations will be vitally central.