Standards & Metadata: Base document

To describe current state of initiatives related to standards and metadata



The reuse of learning content in educational technology attracts much attention. This is mainly caused by recent initiatives for standardisation of learning technology, but also by the necessity of a more efficient usage of valuable learning resources and development time. Standards for reuse can provide uniform specifications for exchange of learning content. To make reuse efficient, metadata is needed to find and select relevant content. Metadata, information about data, describes this data on a higher level, so that material can be identified, ordered, categorised and selected.


The reuse of learning content in
educational technology attracts much attention. This is mainly caused by recent
initiatives for standardisation of learning technology, but also by the
necessity of a more efficient usage of valuable learning resources and
development time. Standards for reuse can
provide uniform specifications for exchange of learning content.  To make reuse efficient, metadata is needed
to find and select relevant content. Metadata, information about data,
describes this data on a higher level, so that material can be identified,
ordered, categorised and selected.

Standardization and

This document is a summary of
standardization organizations and initiatives that are related to the
standardization of metadata for learning technologies. The list is build
chronological and starts with the standardization organisations.


The last part of the document is a short
description of the AICC. This is not an initiative that is involved in the
metadata standards but is included because the specifications of SCORM are
based on this information.


A list of acronyms is included at the end
of the document.


Electrical and Electronics
Engineers, Inc

The IEEE and its predecessors, the AIEE
(American Institute of Electrical Engineers) and the IRE (Institute of Radio
Engineers), date to 1884.

The IEEE (“eye-triple-E”) now,
helps advance global prosperity by promoting the engineering process of
creating, developing, integrating, sharing, and applying knowledge about
electrical and information technologies and sciences for the benefit of
humanity and the profession


Electrotechnical Commission

Founded in 1906, the IEC is the world
organisation that prepares and publishes international standards for all
electrical, electronic and related technologies. The IEC was founded as a
result of a resolution passed at the International Electrical Congress held in
St. Louis (USA) in 1904. The membership
consists of more than 50 participating countries, including all the world’s
major trading nations and a growing number of industrialising countries.


Organisation for Standardisation

The ISO is a world-wide federation of
national standards bodies from some 130 countries, one from each country.

ISO is a non-governmental organisation
established in 1947. The mission of ISO is to promote the development of
standardisation and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating
the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing
co-operation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and
economic activity.

ISO’s work results in international
agreements which are published as International Standards.


Dublin Core Metadata Initiative

The original workshop for the Initiative
was held in Dublin, Ohio in 1995. Hence the term “Dublin
Core” in the name of the Initiative. Since that time there have been a
total of eight workshops held in England,
Australia, Finland, Germany,
Canada and the United States.

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative is an open forum engaged in the development of
interoperable online metadata standards that support a broad range of purposes
and business models. DCMI’s activities include consensus-driven working groups,
global workshops, conferences, standards liaison, and educational efforts to
promote widespread acceptance of metadata standards and practices.

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative
(DCMI) is an organization dedicated to promoting the widespread adoption of
interoperable metadata standards and developing specialized metadata vocabularies
for describing resources that enable more intelligent information discovery

Ongoing efforts of DCMI participants
include the collaborative development and continual refinement of metadata
conventions based on research and feedback between DCMI Working

Anyone wishing to participate may do so by
simply joining the appropriate mailing list for the working group activity of
interest. The DC-General
mailing list is the general forum for community participation and for
submitting general feedback.


Alliance of Remote Instructional
Authoring and Distribution Networks for Europe

ARIADNE is a research and technology
development (RTD) project pertaining to the “Telematics for Education and
Training” sector of the 4
th Framework
Program for R&D of the European Union. The project focuses on the
development of tools and methodologies for producing, managing and reusing
computer-based pedagogical elements and telematics supported training
curricula. Validation of the project’s concepts is currently taking place in
various academic and corporate sites across Europe.

The total effort invested in ARIADNE is
approximatively 46 man.years for the first phase (January 1996 – May 1998) plus
an additional 47 man.years for the second phase (June 1998 – June 2000).
ARIADNE is supported financially by the European Union Commission,
and, for Swiss contractors, by the Swiss Federal Office for Education and
Science (OFES).


Management System

The growth of the Internet and the World
Wide Web is transforming teaching and learning at all levels of education, in
the workplace, and at home. IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc. (IMS) is
developing and promoting open specifications
for facilitating online distributed learning activities such as locating and
using educational content, tracking learner progress, reporting learner
performance, and exchanging student records between administrative systems.

IMS has two key goals:

Defining the technical specifications
for interoperability of applications and services in distributed learning, and

supporting the incorporation of
the IMS specifications into products and services worldwide. IMS endeavors to
promote the widespread adoption of specifications that will allow distributed
learning environments and content from multiple authors to work together (in
technical parlance, “interoperate”).

IMS is a global consortium with members
from educational, commercial, and government organizations. Funding comes from membership
fees, with organizations choosing to join as either Contributing Members or
Developers Network Subscribers.

In 1997, IMS came into existence as a
project within the National Learning Infrastructure Initiative of EDUCAUSE. One
of the founding members, Dr. William (Bill) Graves,
has written an article
summarizing the motivations driving the core group of individuals who, along
with Dr. Graves, first proposed and launched the project. While IMS got its
start with a focus on higher education, the specifications published to date as
well as ongoing projects address requirements in a wide range of learning
contexts, including of course K-12 schools and corporate and government training.


European Committee for Standardization /
Information Society Standardization System Learning Technologies

The mission of CEN/ISSS is to provide
market players with a comprehensive and integrated range of
standardization-oriented services and products, in order to contribute to the
success of the Information Society in Europe.

CEN/ISSS was created in mid-1997 by CEN
(European Committee for Standardization) as the focus for its ICT (Information
and Communications Technologies) activities. CEN recognized that the market
needs of the Information Society could not be met through traditional
standardization methods alone, and that a new solution was required.

ISSS (Information Society Standardization
System) provides a middle way, an open process combining the tried and tested
backing of the formal standardization environment with a fast, market-driven
approach. CEN/ISSS draws on the best of both worlds, bridging the gap between
formal and informal standardization, combining the rapid process of informal
specification with the security offered by the formal open consensus of
traditional standardization.


Distributed Learning

In November 1997, the Department of Defense
(DoD) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)
launched the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative. A major collaborative
ADL partner and presenter at the Kick-Off Meeting was the Instructional Management Systems (IMS)
Project. While other ADL activities are focused on instructional content
development and delivery using current and emerging technologies, the IMS
project focuses on next-generation open architecture for online learning. The
purpose of the ADL initiative is to ensure access to high-quality education and
training materials that can be tailored to individual learner needs and made
available whenever and wherever they are required.

This initiative is designed to accelerate
large-scale development of dynamic and cost-effective learning software and to
stimulate an efficient market for these products in order to meet the education
and training needs of the military and the nation’s workforce in the 21st
century. It will do this through the development of a common technical
framework for computer and net-based learning that will foster the creation of
reusable learning content as “instructional objects.”


Shared Courseware
Object Reference Model

Starting in November 1997, ADL began
working with key industry leaders to identify critical technical interface points
around which standards for Web-based learning technologies might be developed.
This involved meeting with standards organizations such as the Learning
Technology Standards Committee of the IEEE, the Instruction Management Project,
and the Aviation Industry CBT Committee.

Step-by-step agreements were forged as to
what needed to be standardized. Next, technical meetings were held in each of
the key areas.

ADL participated in many meetings, leading
some in new technical areas. Over time, these meetings culminated in a set of
specifications that were incorporated into the ADL’s Sharable Content Object
Reference Model (SCORM). Representatives from the military services and
industry hashed out requirements and proposed solutions over a two-year period.


Technology Standards Committee / Learning Object Metadata

The mission of IEEE LTSC working groups is
to develop technical Standards, Recommended Practices, and Guides for software
components, tools, technologies and design methods that facilitate the
development, deployment, maintenance and interoperation of computer
implementations of education andtraining components and systems. LTSC has been
chartered by the IEEE Computer Society Standards ActivityBoard.
Many of the standards developed by LTSC will be advanced as international
standards by ISO/IEC JTC1/SC36 – Information
Technology for Learning, Education, and Training


of Data in E-Commerce Systems

The project was established at the end of
1998, with support from the European Commission’s Info 2000 Programme. The
fast-track project was supported by a wide range of interests. The partners
and affiliates
represented a very broad cross-section of international bodies representing all
aspects of the content industries’ value chain from creators to users.

This commercially diverse group of
interests was drawn together by a shared vision. This vision starts from the
premise that the concept of Intellectual Property (IP) remains vital to
creativity and the increase of knowledge, even in the networked environment of
the 21st century.

However, trading in IP on the network is
complex, involving the management of much more granular content, and more
granular rights in that content. At the same time, each of the different media
sectors – text, audio, audiovisual – is increasingly aware of  ‘media convergence’: it is no longer possible
to manage the different media sectors separately as distribution channels
increasingly converge on the network.

The effective management of IP in this
environment will be impossible in the absence of automated ‘machine-to-machine’
management of rights transactions. Sheer scale will defeat any attempt at
management involving routine human mediation. A prerequisite for effective
machine-to-machine management of any activity is secure identification and
description – metadata.

INDECS recognised from the outset that
metadata would be generated in diverse ways and by diverse players in the value
chain. Could mechanisms be described that would allow metadata developed in
different contexts to interoperate effectively to permit automated e-commerce
in intellectual property in the network environment?


PROmoting Multimedia access to Education
and Training in EUropean Society

PROMETEUS is an open initiative launched in
March 1999 under the sponsorship of the European Commission with the aim of
building a Common Approach to the Production and Provision of e-learning
Technologies and Content in Europe.

PROMETEUS is an expert opinion-making forum
where actors from a wide range of professional, cultural and linguistic
backgrounds, come together to build critical mass in the field of educational
technology and applications.

Europe has been at the forefront of developments in advanced technologies
to support learning – Learning Technologies – over the last decade, thanks to
important investments in research and technological development (RTD). Today,
with the advent of the Information Society, large-scale deployment of learning
technologies is about to take place in all sectors of lifelong learning – from
schools and universities to industry – to give access to learning and knowledge
to all citizens, regardless of where they study, work or live.

Despite increasing world-wide competition, Europe is in an excellent position to reap the benefits
of its past investments, and the high quality of knowledge thus accumulated, in
terms of:

the effective deployment of
solutions fitted to the diverse needs of European school systems;

the emergence of virtual
campuses, within and across universities;

the emergence of a profitable
European educational content industry;

the availability of new
training services.

The Information Society – sometimes called
the Knowledge Society – will have a strong impact on education and training
systems in Europe. The European Commission,
through its different programmes, supports research into an effective
deployment European wide of information and communication technology (ICT)
based learning. It is committed to supporting the competitiveness of European
products and services in education and training, and is helping them to compete
in the global market.


Educational Systems Talking Across Leading-Edge Technologies

The project started in 1999 and will
explore a number of technologies able to support the planned integration. CORBA
& DCOM will be used to provide the distributed platform support required by
this application. A metadata format servicing the requirements of the
application will be specified, drawing on the work of bodies such as the US IMS
Project and the IEEE LTSC. In addition, W3C XML metadata extensions such as
SMIL will be explored for providing object synchronisation.


Modeling Language

EML started in december 2000. Till this
date no comprehensive notational system exists that allows one to codify units
of study (e.g. courses, course components and study programmes), in an integral
fashion. EML is the first system to achieve precisely this. EML describes not
just the content of a unit of study (texts, tasks, tests, and assignments) but
also the roles, relations, interactions and activities of students and
EML is neutral with respect to the pedagogy and mode of delivery used. One may
use EML to model for instance a competence based pedagogy, problem based
learning, performance support, self study packages or even traditional
face-to-face teaching; EML allows one to deliver learning materials on paper,
on CD-ROM, via the Internet, or via e-books. EML merely records the way in
which the various elements of a particular educational setting are related in
order that they may be interpreted by a computer. The major EML implementation
is in XML (eXtensible Mark-up Language), an internationally accepted
meta-language for the structured description of documents and data.


Joint Technical
Committee 1 SubCommittee 36

The scope
of the subcommittee is standardisation in the field of information technologies
for learning, education, and training to support individuals, groups, or
organisations, and to enable interoperability and reusability of resources and
tools. The subcommittee (SC) shall not create standards or technical reports
that define educational standards, cultural conventions, learning objectives,
or specific learning content. In the area of work of this new SC, standards and
technical reports would not duplicate work done by other ISO or International Electrotechnical

Technical committees, SCs, or working
groups with respect to their component, specialty, or domain. Instead, when
appropriate, normative or informative references to other standards shall be
included. Examples include documents on specialty topics such as multimedia,
web content, cultural adaptation, and security.


Learning Resource

Learning Resource Interchange (LRN), the
first commercial implementation of the Instructional Management Systems (IMS)
Content and Management Systems Specification developed by the e-Learning
industry and the IMS Global Learning Consortium. LRN is an XML-based schema
that defines course content, allowing organisations and e-Learning providers to
easily create and manage compatible online learning content. LRN helps
customers maximise their investment in e-Learning by enabling a wider range of
interoperable content and applications than currently exists today.


Collobarative And
Network Distributed Learning Environment

The objective of this project is to use the
Internet to improve the quality and reduce the cost of ICT teaching in Europe by using web and multimedia technology, and to
enable co-operation between universities and industry in creating and reusing
learning material and improving the quality of delivery.

The proposed system is not designed to
constrain the freedom of academics and trainers to develop their own
courseware. This flexibility is ensured through the use of component
architectures, toolkits and pedagogical frameworks that allow individual
teacher to combine course objects to create their own courses designed to meet
their learners particular needs. The results of the project will also be made
available under the “open courseware” license.

The project also addresses the question of
usability and acceptability of its proposed solution. A further key objective
is therefore to evaluate the impact of the system on individual learners, their
organisation (both Corporates and SMEs) and on more general socio-economic factors
(e.g. improved competitiveness).


Aviation Industry
(Computer-Based Training) Committee

In 1988 the AICC was formed out of a need
for hardware standardisation of CBT delivery platforms. The AICC has since
branched into several other areas. AICC is an international association of
technology-based training professionals. The AICC develops guidelines for
aviation industry in the development, delivery, and evaluation of CBT and
related training technologies. The objectives of the AICC are as follows:

Assist airplane operators in
development of guidelines which promote the economic and effective
implementation of computer-based training (CBT).

Develop guidelines to enable

Provide an open forum for the
discussion of CBT (and other) training technologies.

Acronym Summary

ACEA: Advisory Committee on Environmental

ACEC: Advisory Committee on Electromagnetic

ACET: Advisory Committee on Electronics and

ACOS: Advisory Committee on Safety

AMD: Amendment. A relatively small set of
additions to an existing standard. An Amendment describes the changes. Usually,
Amendments are “rolled up” (incorporated) into the next revision of a
standard. (See also TCOR)

CA: Committee of Action

CAB: Conformity Assessment Board

CANENA: Consejo de Armonizacion de Normas
Electrotecnicas Naciones de America (Council for Harmonization of
Electrotechnical Standardization of the Nations of the Americas)

CB: Council Board

CD (and FCD): Committee Draft and Final
Committee Draft. The normal development process of standards involves several
successive steps, e.g., CD1, CD2, etc., FCD. A CD and an FCD are ballot the

CD: Committee Draft

CDF: Finance Committee

CDV: Committee Draft for Vote

CENELEC: Comité Européen de Normalisation
Electrotechnique (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization)

COPANT: Comisión Panamericana des Normas
Técnicas (Pan American Standards Commission)

DIS: Draft International Standard. The last
step before a fast-track document is approved as an International Standard.
Note: The fast-track process is a different process than the normal development
process. DIS documents are balloted and approved at the TC-level.

EASC: Euro-Asian Interstate Council for
Standardization (EASC)

EBRD: European Bank for Reconstruction and

ETSI: European Telecommunications Standards

ExCo: Executive Committee

FDIS: Final Draft International Standard.
The last step before a document (under the normal development process) is
approved as an International Standard. FDIS documents are balloted and approved
at the TC-level.

IEC: International Electrotechnical

IECEE IEC: System for Conformity Testing
and Certification of Electrical Equipment

IECEx IEC: Scheme for Certification to
Standards for Electrical Equipment for Explosive Atmospheres

IEC-PAS: IEC-Publicly Available

IECQ IEC: Quality Assessment System for
Electronic Components

IMF: International Monetary Fund

IS: An approved International Standard.

ISO: International Organization for

IT: Information Technology

ITA: Industry Technical Agreement

ITU: International Telecommunication Union

JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group

JTAB: Joint Technical Advisory Board

JTC 1 ISO/IEC: Joint Technical Committee on
Information Technology

JTC1: Joint Technical Committee 1. JTC1 is
a joint committee of ISO and IEC. The scope of JTC1 is information technology

L or L-member: Liaison member. A Liaison
Organization does not vote.

LO: Liaison Organization. A organization
the liaises with a committee.

MC: Marketing Committee

MPEG: Motion Picture Experts Group

N: A document number, such as ISO/IEC JTC1
SC36 N0000, or just SC36/N0000, or just N0000. There are no revisions or
versions of document numbers (e.g., N0000R2) — revisions or new versions are
simply assigned a new document number.

NB: National Body. The primary unit of
membership in ISO/IEC.

NBLO (also NBLOs):A National Body or
Liaison Organization. “NBLOs” refer to all National Bodies and Liaison

NC: National Committee

NP: New Work Item Proposal. A description
of a project and scope of work. The approval of the NP signals the official
beginning of a project. Typically, WPs will be submitted to the WG, WDs will be
developed, successive CDs will be approved, the FDIS will be approved, and the
result will be an IS. An NP is balloted an approved at the SC-level.

O or O-member: Observing member. A National
Body that does not vote.

P or P-member: Participating member. A
National Body that can vote.

PACT: President’s Advisory Committee on
future Technologies

PASC: Pacific Area Standards Congress

PWI: Preliminary Work Item. A WP that
discusses potential NP(s). This WP is not intended for balloting (NPs are

Q: Questionnaire

RG: Rapporteur Group. A committee that is
responsible for writing a report, as scoped by (say) an SC. An RG is a special
kind of ad hoc committee. RGs do not develop standards.

RM: Report of Meeting

SC: Subcommittee. An SC works on a
relatively broad area of technology standards within a TC. Example: SC36 work
on Information Technology for Learning, Education, and Training all within
JTC1’s scope of Information Technology. SCs ballot and approve NPs, CDs, FCDs,
etc., but not WDs, DISs, FDISs, etc..

SPC: Sales Policy Committee

TBT: Technical Barriers to Trade agreement

TC : Technical Committee. A standards
committee with a very broad scope of work, e.g., JTC1 is information
technology. Both DIS and FDIS documents are balloted and approved at the TC-level.

TCOR : Technical Corrigendum. Errata and
corrections to an existing standard or amendment. (See also AMD)

TR: An approved Technical Report. A TR is
developed like a standard, but its purpose is just to provide technical
information and not to make requirements on implementations (conformance).

TTA: Technology Trend Assessment

UNDP: United Nations Development Program

UNECE: United Nations Economic Commission
for Europe

WD: Working Draft, e.g., WD3 refers to
Working Draft #3. WDs are balloted and approved at the WG-level.

WG: Working Group. A WG works a very
specific area of technical standards. Usually, WGs develop standards that are
scoped by approved NPs. The WGs produce successive WDs, and then CDs, and then
the FDIS.

WP: Working Paper. A document submitted to
a committee (e.g., WG, RG, SC, TC).Working papers are assigned document
numbers (“N” numbers). A WP requires no approval — it is merely a
submission or a contribution to a committee.

WTO: World Trade Organization