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The Edutella P2P Network: supporting Democratic E-learning and Communities of Practice
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Centres, Center for Useroriented IT Design, CID. (Knowledge Management Research Group)
2004 (English)In: Online education using learning objects / [ed] Rory McGreal, New York: Falmer Press , 2004Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The infrastructures we use for developing, finding and combining learning objectsinfluence the usage of the material - inflexible frameworks will not support flexiblelearning. For this reason, it is essential to consider the pedagogical consequences of thedesign of the technical frameworks that are used in e-learning systems. Much of thecurrent work in e-learning technology targets learning objects stored in LMS (LearningManagement System) applications and/or in other centralized servers, often of verylarge scale. Even though standards such as IEEE LOM increase the interoperability ofsuch systems, they are still mostly information islands. Cross-searching of repositoriesis not a reality. It has even been said that the Web is still in the "hunter-gatherer phase"with respect to searching. This is certainly true for learning objects. We have not yetreached the goal of a global e-learning society. In addition, many institutions arereluctant to give up control over their learning resources. This is problematic for manycentral-server based methods of learning resource sharing, (e. g., e-learning "portals".)Such portals are costly and difficult to maintain.Edutella takes a different approach. It is one piece in an e-learning infrastructure with adecentralized vision. By encouraging sharing among small-scale content repositories,anyone can participate in the exchange and annotation of e-learning resources. Byallowing anyone to participate, the learner is given more control over their learningprocess, leading us one step closer to the dream of a learner-centric educationalarchitecture.Edutella is a peer-to-peer (P2P) network for exchanging information about learningobjects (and not for exchanging content). It is built with semantic web technologyapplying the latest P2P research. This chapter will discuss the technologies that makeEdutella possible, explaining the vision and importance of the project, and howapplications can use it.The Edutella project is being developed by a number of institutions - among others: theLearning Lab Lower Saxony, the KMR Group at KTH, the Uppsala DatabaseLaboratory, Stanford Infolab, AIFB at University of Karlsruhe, and the UNIVERSALproject - and it is still expanding. The latest developments can be found at

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Falmer Press , 2004.
Keyword [en]
metadata, P2P, RDF
National Category
Computer Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-25686ISBN: 0415335124OAI: diva2:359446
QC 20101028Available from: 2010-10-28 Created: 2010-10-27 Last updated: 2010-11-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. From Interoperability to Harmonization in Metadata Standardization: Designing an Evolvable Framework for Metadata Harmonization
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From Interoperability to Harmonization in Metadata Standardization: Designing an Evolvable Framework for Metadata Harmonization
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Metadata is an increasingly central tool in the current web environment, enabling large-scale, distributed management of resources. Recent years has seen a growth in interaction between previously relatively isolated metadata communities, driven by a need for cross-domain collaboration and exchange. However, metadata standards have not been able to meet the needs of interoperability between independent standardization communities. For this reason the notion of metadata harmonization, defined as interoperability of combinations of metadata specifications, has risen as a core issue for the future of web-based metadata.

This thesis presents a solution-oriented analysis of current issues in metadata harmonization. A set of widely used metadata specifications in the domains of learning technology, libraries and the general web environment have been chosen as targets for the analysis, with a special focus on Dublin Core, IEEE LOM and RDF. Through active participation in several metadata standardization communities, a body of knowledge of harmonization issues has been developed.

The thesis presents an analytical framework of concepts and principles for understanding the issues arising when interfacing multiple standardization communities. The analytical framework focuses on a set of important patterns in metadata specifications and their respective contribution to harmonization issues:

  • Metadata syntaxes as a tool for metadata exchange. Syntaxes are shown to be of secondary importance in harmonization.

  • Metadata semantics as a cornerstone for interoperability. This thesis argues that the incongruences in the interpretation of metadata descriptions play a significant role in harmonization.

  • Abstract models for metadata as a tool for designing metadata standards. It is shown how such models are pivotal in the understanding of harmonization problems.

  • Vocabularies as carriers of meaning in metadata. The thesis shows how portable vocabularies can carry semantics from one standard to another, enabling harmonization.

  • Application profiles as a method for combining metadata standards. While application profiles have been put forward as a powerful tool for interoperability, the thesis concludes that they have only a marginal role to play in harmonization.

The analytical framework is used to analyze and compare seven metadata specifications, and a concrete set of harmonization issues is presented. These issues are used as a basis for a metadata harmonization framework where a multitude of metadata specifications with different characteristics can coexist. The thesis concludes that the Resource Description Framework (RDF) is the only existing specification that has the right characteristics to serve as a practical basis for such a harmonization framework, and therefore must be taken into account when designing metadata specifications. Based on the harmonization framework, a best practice for metadata standardization development is developed, and a roadmap for harmonization improvements of the analyzed standards is presented.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2010. x, 125 p.
Trita-CSC-A, ISSN 1653-5723 ; 2010:15
metadata, dublin core, IEEE LOM, RDF, semantic web, interoperability, standardization
National Category
Computer Science
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-26057 (URN)978-91-7415-800-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-12-15, Sal F3, Lindstedsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
QC 20101117Available from: 2010-11-17 Created: 2010-11-10 Last updated: 2010-11-23Bibliographically approved

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