ASPECT - Standards and Specifications
|The following standards and specifications are being addressed in the project:
- IEEE LOM. Dublin Core IEEE LOM and DC are well adopted. DC is for content in general while LOM is designed for educational content. The major need is to be able to transform metadata instances from one format into another. While solutions for mapping the default specifications exist, good solutions are lacking for specific application profiles of IEEE LOM and DC.
ASPECT partners will make all their content available through the LOM.
- XVD, VDEX, ZTHES, SKOS. ZThes has a wide adoption and the latest version has improved features for internationalisation. VDEX has a wide adoption as well. XVD is the most advanced specification supporting mappings between vocabularies and alternative structures but it has very little adoption at this stage. SKOS has currently the best approach to the mapping of vocabularies. Hence transformers between the formats should be offered to the wider audience of vocabulary developers. However, this is not sufficient. All too often it is the case that Application Profile developers invent vocabularies again and again. Apart from being inefficient, it harms the semantic interoperability of different application profiles. Given this situation, adoption can be best supported by providing a registry for vocabularies and mappings between vocabularies that allows for uploading and downloading in different formats.
ASPECT will evaluate all specifications and adopt one or more as an input and/or output format of the European Vocabulary Bank (part of the ASPECT service centre). In addition the ASPECT will investigate to what extent mappings between these different specifications are possible.
- SQI, SPI, SRU/SRW, OAI-PMH. SRU/SRW are well adopted in the library world. SQI has a good adoption in the European Learning Technology world and many MoEs have adopted it for exchanging LOM instances in the LRE. SQI has been developed in order to support more advanced features such as asynchronous communication and different query languages in federated LOR networks. It is our conclusion that SQI could be profiled to support SRU/SRW such that both specifications could be used in a federated search scenario. OAI-PMH is well adopted also in the European LT world. As it is dealing with a different scenario (harvesting), it can co-exist with the other specifications. SPI is at the specification stage. It is work planned under CEN/ISSS contract.
ASPECT will evaluate all specifications and adopt one or more as for exchanging metadata and content. As a minimum all content providers will adopt SQI and/or OAI-PMH. In addition it will be investigated to what extend these specifications can be made interoperable through for example profiling or a run-time gateway. Finally ASPECT will co-operate with CEN/ISSS in order to test the new SPI specification.
- CQL, PLQL, LRE-QL. These are all abstract query languages that operate on a conceptual model instead of, for instance, relational tables. They have been developed by different parties involved in federating LO repositories and are used to interrogate metadata following the IEEE LOM. In the end it would be better to have a single well thought through query language.
ASPECT will thus first investigate this route and, if this is not possible, try to establish translation mechanisms. LRE-QL is already an application profile of PLQL.
- SCORM, IMS Common Cartridge, IMS Content packaging. In Europe SCORM has been well adopted in training military personnel and to a large extent by commercial publishers, also especially for training purposes. However, the adoption in the school sector is limited. Cited barriers include the limited pedagogical models (primarily instructional design) that SCORM supports, as well as the steep learning curve demanded if one wishes to repurpose a SCO, a situation that occurs much more frequently in the school sector. IMS Common Cartridge is a specification under development that encompasses Content Packaging, Question &Test Interoperability (QTI), IEEE LOM and SCORM. Icodeon, an ASPECT partner and a member of IMS, is making available a Common Cartridge RESTful Web Services Platform that will be used by project partners. Other organisations currently implementing Common Cartridge may introduce their own implementation and present this more as a CC “Player”. As Common Cartridge is still, therefore, at the beginning of the adoption life cycle and project adoption support measures will primarily be in terms of awareness raising, and demonstrators.
ASPECT will not address the barriers to SCORM take-up, as this will involve a long-term effort within the Learning Technology research and pedagogical communities. However, ASPECT will help content providers to use SCORM as well as apply Common Cartridge to content. As part of establishing best practice, the project will investigate what barriers exist for content providers in using these two specifications.
- IMS-QTI. IMS-QTI is reasonably well adopted and works well for what it is supposed to do. While the consortium recognizes that the educational world needs more advanced specifications to fully support assessment, this is not retained as an objective.
ASPECT will help content providers to use IMS-QTI as part of the new IMS Common Cartridge specification.
- CORDRA. CORDRA is a model that is not really adopted in Europe. One of the barriers is the confusion between the general model and its specific implementation and deployment within the US Department of Defense in the ADL-Registry. Nevertheless, it is an important specification. Specific elements, such as the Handle System for identifiers, is of particular interest.
ASPECT will analyse and compare the technological options offered and set-up a demonstrator implementation to be used by content and metadata providers.
- Creative Commons. The Creative Commons licensing scheme is by now well adopted. There are, however, some problems that hamper its adoption. First, as content providers are creating variants, interoperability of those variants becomes a problem. In addition, there is a usability problem. EUN’s experience is that, although Creative Commons is very simple, end-users such as teachers and learners make regular mistakes (about 30%) when uploading material.
ASPECT will investigate these usability issues in order to improve the adoption and practice of Creative Commons.
- ISO/IEC 19796-x. This quality standard, based on European pre-work in the CEN/ISSS workshop learning technologies will be adapted to the project’s needs. By nature, the process-oriented standard ISO/IEC 19796-1 is adaptable to different organizational contexts. The other parts of the standards series will also be used: ISO/IEC 19796-3 (reference methods and metrics) will be used to derive quality measures, ISO/IEC 19796-4 (good practice guide) will be input for the guidelines.
ASPECT will implement those standards and provide feedback on the further development of those standards. This work will be performed as part of WP5 with the help of WP7.