LMAP Scoping Study draft report

Some time back I started a scoping study into a potential Learning Materials Application Profile (LMAP) for the JISC. Well, I have at last written a draft report that is fit to be read by others, for comment.

It is rather long, and I don’t expect that anyone will want to do any more than look at the section that is relevant to your own interests. But if anyone is interested in taking a sneak preview then do please have a look and let me know of anything you spot that is wrong or misleading. (In my opinion it gets better as it goes along.)

I have some more work to do on it, filling in references, adding acknowledgments etc, that will take me a couple of weeks at least. Any comments received before I get those finished will be considered in the final report submitted to JISC.

Update, 11 Dec 2008: Thank you for your comments. The report as submitted to JISC is now available. I’m hoping they don’t want too many changes made.

FRBRizing learning materials

I may have bitten off more than I can chew. I wanted an example for showing how the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) might be applied to a typical learning resource. I’m not entirely sure that there is such a thing as a typical learning resource, but the OpenYale online lectures seemed seemed like reasonable candidates. I chose one on Newton’s Laws of Motion as my example because it’s a subject I like. I’m no expert on FRBR. If I was I would probably have known better than to choose a complex aggregation of different media types as my example (but would that have been typical?). Anyway, with some help from John Robertson, I came up with the diagram below. (It doesn’t quite model the example: I’ve modelled overhead display content in PowerPoint rather than in chalk.)
Application of FRBR model to online course unit

I’ve described the modelling and rationale in some more detail in a separate document [pdf].

I would warmly welcome any comments, suggestions and pointers to where I’ve gone wrong.

OAI-ORE 1.0 released

The first production release of the Open Archives Initiative Object Reuse and Exchange (OAI-ORE) specification was published last Friday (17 Oct). OAI-ORE uses concepts from the web architecture, semantic web, linked data and Atom syndication to expose the relationships between parts of an aggregation, e.g. linked web pages, different formats of the same publication, chapters in an online book, and collections of documents, photos or recordings. OAI-ORE comes from the scholarly publication community, but has wider application: it’s sort of equivalent to parts of the manifest in an IMS Content Package, but with more emphasis on showing relationships between resources on the web and rather than describing what should be in a package and how it should be displayed. Further info: press release [pdf], OAI-ORE specifications.

George Orwell is blogging

George Orwell is blogging, so is Samuel Pepys. And quite aside from the content (I’m an Orwell fan, the merits of this content was discussed when the blog was launched here, and here), I think this is brilliant way of putting diaries online as open content[1]. Delivery, at least, relies on software anyone can use for free[2]; you and I can get the text in a machine readable format, HTML and RSS; each entry gets a URI; the entries can be tagged and commented on; locations can be mapped on Google (Orwell, Pepys), other concepts mentioned linked to encyclopaedia entries; the blog owners could, at least in principle, export the whole lot in XML and stick it in a database to process, and anyone can process entries with text mining software or by setting up a Google custom search engine or . . . .

The two examples above are slightly short of perfect. I like to see the dates for the blog entries matching the dates for the diary entries (the Pepys diaries do this, Orwell managed it at first, but then slipped). And I think it would make more sense if the monthly archives were arranged to be read top-to-bottom in chronological order. Also I wonder if hosting on wordpress.com is the best idea. It has its attractions, but the tags in the Orwell blog link to posts from other blogs which are well out of scope while the Pepys diary has some very interesting customizations; also if the Orwell blog owners do ever find a way to go back to posting against the diary entry date I imagine they would have problems setting up redirects so that links to the current posts still work.

1. I guess I should be clear: I’m not saying that these diaries are open content. The Pepys text is from Project Gutenberg, I don’t know the licensing arrangements for other aspects of the blog; Orwell’s text is still copyright in many countries (including the UK and the US), I don’t the licensing arrangements for the blog.
2. The Orwell diary is on WordPress.com; Pepys uses a customized installation of Moveable Type.