What is Schema.org?

Link: What is schema.org  (PDF)

Schema.org is a joint initiative of the search engines Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex aimed at making it easier to index web pages in such a way that facilitates the building of sophisticated search services. Schema.org metadata may also be used for other applications e.g. in eBooks and as stand-alone metadata records.

This briefing describes schema.org for a technical audience. It is aimed at people who may want to implement schema.org markup in websites or other tools they build but who wish to know more about the technical approach behind schema.org and how to implement it. We also hope that this briefing will be useful to those who are evaluating whether to implement schema.org to meet the requirements of their own organization.

This briefing has been produced as part of the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI), which is concerned with extending and applying schema.org to the description of educationally relevant properties of resources. Other briefings in this series will provide an in-depth overview of LRMI.

[If you wish to take advantage of the CC-By licence and edit your version, there is a copy on Google docs that you may clone, or you may download a zip archive of the files used to create the PDF in Scribus, this archive includes the plain text and the images.]

 

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Activity Data and Paradata

Illustration of activity data and paradataLink: Activity Data and Paradata (pdf)
Link: Activity Data and Paradata (MS Word .docx)

This briefing introduces a range of approaches and specifications for recording and exchanging data generated by the interactions of users with resources.

Such data is a form of Activity Data, which can be defined as “the record of any user action that can be logged on a computer”. Meaning can be derived from Activity Data by querying it to reveal patterns and context, this is often referred to as Analytics. Activity Data can be shared as an Activity Stream, a list of recent activities performed by an individual. Initiatives such as OpenSocial, ActivityStreams and TinCan API have produced specifications and APIs to share Activity Data across platforms and applications.

While Activity Streams record the actions of individual users and their interactions with multiple resources and services, other specifications have been developed to record the actions of multiple users on individual resources. This data about how and in what context resources are used is often referred to as Paradata. A specification for recording and exchanging paradata has been developed by the Learning Registry, an open source content-distribution network for storing and sharing information about learning resources.
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The Learning Registry: social networking for open educational resources?

The Learning Registry: social networking for open educational resources? (OER13 Conference paper) (PDF)
The Learning Registry: social networking for open educational resources? (OER13 Conference paper) (MS Word .doc)

This paper reflects on Cetis’ involvement with the Learning Registry and Jisc’s Learning Registry Node Experiment at Mimas (The JLeRN Experiment), and their application to UKOER initiatives. Initially funded by the US Departments of Education and Defense, the Learning Registry (LR) is an open source network for storing and distributing metadata and curriculum, activity and social usage data about learning resources across diverse educational systems.
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New approaches to describing and discovering open educational resources

Link: New Approaches to Describing and Discovering Open Educational Resources (OER13 Conference paper)(PDF)
Link: New Approaches to Describing and Discovering Open Educational Resources (OER13 Conference paper) (MS Word .doc)

This paper reports and reflects on the innovative technical approaches adopted by UKOER projects to resource description, search engine optimisation and resource discovery. The HEFCE UKOER programmes ran for three years from 2009 to 2012 and funded a large number and variety of projects focused on releasing open educational resources (OERs) and embedding open practice. The Cetis Innovation Support Centre was tasked by JISC with providing strategic advice, technical support and direction throughout the programme. One constant across the diverse UKOER projects was their desire to ensure the resources they released could be discovered by people who might benefit from them; if no one can find an OER no one will use it. This paper will focus on three specific approaches with potential to achieve this aim: search engine optimisation, embedding metadata in the form of schema.org microdata, and sharing “paradata” information about how resources are used.
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Into the wild – Technology for open educational resources

Reflections on three years of the UK OER Programmes.


Between 2009 and 2012 the Higher Education Funding Council funded a series of programmes to encourage higher education institutions in the UK to release existing educational content as Open Educational Resources. The HEFCE funded UK OER Programme was run and managed by the JISC and the Higher Education Academy. The JISC CETIS “OER Technology Support Project” provided support for technical innovation across this programme. This book synthesises and reflects on the approaches taken and lessons learnt across the Programme and by the Support Project.

This book is not intended as a beginners guide or a technical manual, instead it is an expert synthesis of the key technical issues arising from a national publicly-funded programme. It is intended for people working with technology to support the creation, management, dissemination and tracking of open educational resources, and particularly those who design digital infrastructure and services at institutional and national level.

Availability

Published by University of Bolton, Deane Road, Bolton, BL3 5AB

ISBN: 978-0-907311-35-5 (print on demand: book (£3.36) printed by Lulu; or free pdf to print yourself)
ISBN: 978-0-907311-36-2 (ebook, Kindle: free download; or from Amazon (77p))
ISBN: 978-0-907311-37-9 (ebook, ePub: free download)
ISBN: 978-0-907311-38-6 (ebook, pdf: free download)
(All prices are the minimum for the distribution channel)

Licence and source

Creative Commons Licence Into the wild – Technology for open educational resources by Amber Thomas, Lorna M. Campbell, Phil Barker and Martin Hawksey (Eds) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

You are free to share (to copy, distribute and transmit the work) to remix (to adapt the work) and to make commercial use of the work under the proviso that you attribute the origin of the work (if possible please include the title, the names of the editors / authors and a link to this page).

To help you re-use this work editable formats are available. We originally wrote the book using the BookType, an online collaborative authoring and publishing platform. Booktype will allow you to clone our source, contact Phil Barker if you would like to do so. There is also a Word .docx file that we used for the final published versions.

Errors and bugs?

There are some minor bugs in some versions: bullet points don’t display well on the kindle version, reference links are erratic on the ePub version (more for some readers than others), the images on the print pdf have white lines on them. We hope none of these are serious problems for you. If you do find a serious problem please contact Phil Barker.

The roles of libraries and information professionals in Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives

Link: The roles of libraries and information professionals in Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives (pdf)

Link: Executive Summary (pdf)

Executive Summary
This report contains the findings of a study carried out by the Centre for Academic Practice & Learning Enhancement (CAPLE) and Centre for Educational Technology and Interoperability Standards (CETIS), at the University of Strathclyde. The study focuses on the involvement of the Library as an organizational unit, and of individual librarians and other information science specialists, in open educational resources (OER) initiatives. This research study contributes to the current Open Educational Resources (OER) Programme [http://www.jisc.ac.uk/oer], an initiative by JISC and the HEA whose objective is to promote the creation, dissemination, access and use of OER. This programme represents a firm commitment by UK Higher Education (HE) institutions to the OER movement.
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Metadata for Learning Materials: An Overview of Existing Standards and Current Developments.

Link: From Journal website (subscription required; Authors’ final version (open access)

Summary: This paper provides an overview of specifications and standards for metadata relating to learning materials. It is structured to present first the currently established metadata schemas in use today (specifically the IEEE LOM and Dublin Core metadata), then to examine current developments and activities before looking at what might be the future challenges. The examination of current developments and activities highlights the increasingly recognized importance of metadata schema that describe what have in the past been thought of as secondary aspects of learning materials (for example who uses them and what for), and the importance of alternative approaches to structured metadata for resource description.

Published in Technology, Instruction, Cognition and Learning vol 7 (3-4) 2010, pp 225-243.

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Learning Material Application Profile Scoping Study – final report

Link; Learning Material Application Profile scoping study – final report (pdf).

This report details the findings of a scoping study carried out for the JISC to investigate a potential metadata application profile for learning materials. The objective of the study was to synthesize and analyse the advice that is currently available to managers of repositories containing educational materials who need to define a metadata element set to describe those materials. The hope was that this would help define the scope of a potential Learning Materials Application Profile. There was no intention to produce an application profile as part of this work, nor was the work limited to any particular metadata schema.
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