iLumina: A Digital Library of Educational Resources for Science & Mathematics

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Funding provided by the National Science Foundation DLI-Phase 2, NSF Award #0002935 A Digital Library of Reusable Science and Math Resources for Undergraduate Education. iLumina: A Digital Library of Educational Resources for Science & Mathematics. National Science Digital Library - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • iLumina: A Digital Library of Educational Resources for Science & MathematicsNational Science Digital LibraryAll-Projects MeetingDecember, 2001Washington D.C.

  • iLuminas VisionThe situation:e-learning will create a huge demand for high-quality digital course contentPublishers will meet some of this demand through ebooksInstructors will still need informal digital modules to complement and tailor ebooks to specific coursesThe opportunity:The Internet now provides a scalable way to implement peer-centric sharing of informal digital contentiLumina is a digital library that will realize this opportunity

  • iLuminas Main ThemesFeaturing diverse, small-scale SMETE resources, especially ones created by instructorsPromoting sharing, reuse and re-construction of resources through selected services and toolsUsing IMSs rich and standard metadata to describe resourcesDeveloping services underpinned by IMS metadata (e.g., recommendations as well as search and browse)Implementing a partially centralized (metadata) and partly distributed (content) architecture

  • What has iLumina Accomplished to Date?Implemented IMS metadata information model (v 1.2)Developed metadata tools based on IMS modelCataloged 700+ granular SMETE resourcesIncluded 6 distinct special collections in iLumina3 resident (content and metadata in iLumina)3 distributed (content remote and metadata in iLumina)Implemented essential library services (search, browse and contribute), underpinned by IMS metadataBegan extended library services (collection display, review and ratings)Coordinated with SMETE for federated cross-repository search

  • Existing RepositoriesIndividual ContributionsiLumina OpeniLumina ContentReviewInformal Collections**Construction ServicesCommunity ServicesSearch ServicesmetadataArchitecture Overview

  • How does iLumina Support Reuse and Sharing?By supporting each step in the reuse cycle:Relevant iLumina features and services:

    Membership in a trusted federation (SMETE.ORG) Review and rating services to assure relevant quality resources Low barriers to resource access

    Flexible metadata-driven search and browse tools improve discovery

    Metadata provides guidance on effective usage Reviews and discussions improve understanding, appropriation

    Metadata describes component structure Technical usability requirements documented (No composition/decomposition/refinement tools at present)

    Contribution tool reduces cost of packaging for sharing iLumina distributes labor of packaging & cataloging iLumina will manage resources as well as metadata, as needed

  • IMS Metadata Implementation in iLuminaNominally simple: relatively easy to implement the full IMS information model Selective support: iLumina can import IMS compliant records with any elements, but creates (metadata tool) and uses (search, etc.) records with only a subset of elementsLocal limitations: many elements non-essential (e.g., SemanticDensity); others inadequate (e.g., Rights)Few element additions: just General.Thumbnail and Technical.MediaTypeMany vocabulary changes: less standardization than elements

  • Metadata Results and Issues in iLuminaMultiple uses: metadata underpins not only core search services (for granular discovery) but extended ones (for comprehension and evaluation)Cost reduction: use multiple approaches to making metadata generation productive: automation, distributed creation roles, collection-level descriptions, increasingly efficient metadata toolsFlexible tools for different communities: tools should permit multiple element sets and vocabulary schemas, and support vocabulary mapping across federated repositoriesLess is more: extended descriptions (e.g., reviews, annotations, agents) should be modularized in other records, not bundled into core catalog metadata entries

  • Home Page

  • Contribute Resources

  • Collection Details

  • Resource Screening Checklist

  • Whats Next for iLumina?Open iLumina to contributions from all instructors and users, possibly for-profit publishersContinue cataloging of new collections, including CSTC, SECDL, MathwrightComplete extended library services, including reviews, peer ratings, personalization, collection-level services, and community discussion forumsConduct usability studies and formative evaluation of sharing and reuseParticipate in development of a generic, flexible metadata tool with the SMETE Open Federation (SOF) and other NSDL groupsParticipate in fully-federated SOF search and cross-repository NSDL harvestingContinue work within NSDL on methods of efficient metadata creation and new services using metadata

  • References and SourcesOur project website: http://www.ilumina-dlib.orgProject papers on the site:JERIC: Towards a Sharable Digital Library of Reusable Teaching Resources: Roles for Rich Metadata. Journal on Education Resources in Computing (JERIC).JCDL: Developing Recommendation Services for a Digital Library with Uncertain and Changing Data. Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL)JLibAdmin: Library Services Today and Tomorrow: Lessons from iLumina, a Digital Library for Creating and Sharing Teaching Resources. Journal of Library Administration. Recent and upcoming presentations:IMS, Redwood Shores (11/15/01): Demonstration of iLumina and IMS metadata at Members ExchangeCLIR, New Orleans (1/24/02): Invitational Meeting on Courseware Systems, Integrated Library Systems, Content Strategies. Council on Library and Information Resources, Academic Library Advisory Council NLII, San Diego (1/27/02): Featured panel session on learning object repositoriesAERA, New Orleans (4/02): Interactive symposium: The National Science Digital Library for Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education: A technology demonstration and discussion

    This presentation provides an overview of the iLumina project, which is developing a digital library of sharable resources created for and by higher education instructors. After a brief introduction to the goals of the project and the library interfaces and functionality, we focus on several aspects of our project, concerning:The use of IMS metadata, and how weve adapted the specificationelements and vocabulariesto suit the purposes of digital librariesThe construction and management of metadata in ways that increase its flexibility and reduce the costs of creation.How metadata is used to underpin a variety of library services, helping to offset their creation costs.How iLumina provides supports for all phases of the sharing of resources.What were planning to do in the near-term future to work with NSDL and to further our own project goals in that context.The basic premise behind iLumina is that a lot of learning, certainly in higher education and corporate training will be online, or have online components in the future; in short there will be a growing demand for e-learning. Of course, a lot of this demand will be met by traditional publishers, such as McGraw-Hill, or new entrants that develop ebooks for courses.But ebooks alone will not be enough, just as books are not. Faculty and instructors have always wanted to tailor formal content in books and supplement these materials with their own, informal often home-grown or created and shared by peers.These personalizations have always been important but limited, primarily because in the past instructors could only share resources on a local basis. But we believe that the Internet can scale this kind of peer-centric creation and sharing of informal resources, so that it becomes a much more vital part of building high-quality educational content. In general, iLumina wants to prove that thesis and build such a sharable library.This slide emphasizes the main themes of the iLumina research approach, at a very high-level. To begin with, we want to enable instructors (and other informal educational resource developers) to create and share their materials, which are often small or granular in size. To promote such sharing iLumina not only provides services that facilitate the creation and acquisition of resources, but also for the end-user, offers tools that will enable them to find and make use of the digital objects.One related theme is that IMS metadata can underpin tools that enable such sharing. iLumina uses IMS metadata tools to create rich and standardized descriptions of the learning objects that it manages. However, for this to work effectively, the costs of creating such rich metadata must be (relatively) low, in comparison to its benefits. Many have argued that minimalist metadata (such as Dublin Core), is not only easier to create than IMS/IEEE descriptions, but also more cost-effective. One question the iLumina project is addressing is whether this is true. An architectural theme is that the iLumina is both distributed (content) and centralized (metadata). That is, we encourage content providers to maintain their own materials, but we gather and manage their metadata so that end-users can come to a single sitethe iLumina portalto find collections from all over the Internet.This is a high-level view of what weve done in the last year.First, weve implemented the full IMS metadata information model (including recent updates), using SQL Server. Building on this we have developed a set of tools to create, manage, search and view the metadata, and the iLumina resources which they describe. This has enabled us to catalog a lot of library resources, now over 700 and growing all the time. Many of these are actually collections embedded in the larger iLumina collection. We provide tools to describe and view (with metadata) not only individual resources but the collections themselves.Metadata has provided a foundation for a number of core library services that are already in place, including basic (and advanced) search, browsing, and a contribution form that allows new content providers to catalog their materials for iLumina (although, they must also undergo review before being finally admitted to the library).Weve also moved ahead on an extended set of services, although most of these are still in the development stage. Some of them will be briefly highlighted below (and in accompanying demos).Finally one thing were also doing with metadata is participating in federated searches with other digital libraries, notably the SMETE Open Federation (SOF). Because all the libraries adhere to a common metadata standard, we are now able to search metadata across repositories and libraries and to access their content.This is a very brief overview of the iLumina architecture. See papers referenced at the end of this presentation for more details. A lot of iLumina is devoted to acquisition services that bring resources and metadata into iLumina. Note that there are several migration paths for materials into iLumina: Resources from existing repositories are mapped, meaning that the catalog entry for a resource from, say, CSTC, is simply translated into iLuminas catalog format. iLumina, in other words, relies on the fact that these resources have been reviewed, edited and cataloged. iLumina does not need to replicate these value-added services.However, informal collections and individual materials do not come with all of this, so we need to provide the services and tools for cataloging and reviewing, depicted in routes on the right. For individual resources, we will often need to provide an extra service, namely to provide a home for the resource (the iLumina Open repository), since the contributing faculty member may not have a server on which it can be published, maintained, and supported over time.Note that iLumina is partly federated and partly centralized. Resources are actually made up of two parts: the metadata (description) and the digital content itself. However, iLumina is actually a library of only the metadata, and the resources themselves stay in their separate repositories (even the iLumina Open database).This briefly explains how iLumina supports re-use in terms of a model of reuse weve adapted from Sumner. Of course, tools alone wont guarantee reuse; there are many less tangible motivational and community-based factors that a full model of reuse needs to consider. However, the supports and tools we provide do help, tactically, to reduce the costs and disincentives to use and reuse.The iLumina database tables include the full set of IMS v 1.2 elements, so we can parse all compliant records that are imported and store them in our repository. We can also export such records (as well as the records we create from scratch), for example, in response to federated search or harvesting requests), with no loss of information.However, although our database tables implement the full IMS information model, neither our metadata creation tools (the Submission form) nor search tools (the Advanced Search page) support all the elements uniformly (see previous charts for details of the supported elements). This also applies to other services that enables users to view and understand resources, such as Detailed Search Results pages and Browse. There are several (tentative) reasons for this selective support. First, several of the IMS Educational elements are not included. Many, such as SemanticDensity, simply have no pedigree and the cost of creating the description, at this time, exceeds any potential benefits. Furthermore, although other elements are used, they are clearly inadequate for the purposes that their names suggest. Rights.CopyrightandOtherRestrictions, for example, just provides an opportunity to say there are such constraints this is by no means the basis for services well obviously need in digital libraries to do digital rights management (DRM). For the same reasons, Annotations, especially dynamic ones created by users and reviewers, should probably also be put in separate records. Technical.MediaType and General.Thumbnail were the only elements added, beyond the IMS spec, although at several times we were tempted to extend the spec in other directions. In some of these cases we deferred because we realized the information was best not put in IMS (cataloging) metadata records at all (see below).Finally, although we made relatively few changes to IMS metadata elements, we have revised extensively several of the (recommended) vocabularies. At this time we have adopted less than half of those defaults without change. It is not surprising, in general, that weve made more changes to vocabularies than elements primarily because vocabularies are less standardized than elements in learning object classification, and in other areas as well. The fact that vocabularies are not very standardized, however, means that different communities and repositories are unlikely to use similar ones which will pose substantial problems for federated search and other NSDL services (see below).Metadata is used to help provide a number of services in iLumina beginning with search and extending to other purposes, well beyond discovery, including Browsing and C...


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