I attended a Workshop last week in Glasgow on L&T and Metadata,
specifically for the JISC Sound & Moving Image Cluster development
projects. I've written a full report which Jenny Slater has now put on
the Metadata SIG website: go to:
and scroll down to the files section.
Here is a summary of the Report:
Learning & Teaching and Metadata Workshop
JISC Moving Image and Sound Development Projects
RSAMD, Glasgow, Scotland, 16 July 2002
Summary of Report to CETIS Metadata SIG by Sarah Currier
This Workshop was arranged for representatives of the JISC Moving Image
& Sound Cluster development projects, in order to provide a forum for
discussion of t&l and metadata issues particular to their needs. The
Workshop was attended by representatives of all the cluster projects, as
well as other interested projects and services, two JISC programme
managers, and the CETIS EC SIG Coordinator. Most participants had a
digital library background. The remainder were IT specialists, with one
t&l/subject specialist from the host HOTBED project.
Presentations were given on: the experiences of two of the performing
arts based projects working with audio and video resources; the
Performing Arts Data Service, which both uses metadata itself and
advises projects and initiatives on relevant issues; learning technology
interoperability standards & CETIS; and the work of the "DNER & Learning
Objects" study. Breakout sessions were held, and at the end of the day,
suggestions for ways forward were collated and discussed.
PowerPoint presentations are available on the HOTBED website. Go to:
http://www.hotbed.ac.uk/documents/index.php and scroll down to "l &
t/metadata workshop". NB: Two of the presentations involved demo's of
services which are not in the PowerPoint presentations. Summaries of the
entire presentations are below in this report.
1. Implementing Metadata for Networked Resources
Jon Maslin, PATRON (Performing Arts Teaching Resources ONline),
University of Surrey
2. Creating Reusable, Interoperable E-Learning Resources: Current
Practice and Factors to Consider
Sarah Currier, CETIS Educational Content Special Interest Group & DNER &
Learning Objects Project, University of Strathclyde
3. Describing Performing Arts Data in the Digital Environment
Catherine Owen, PADS (Performing Arts Data Service), University of
4. HOTBED in the Learning, Teaching & Metadata Contexts
Stevie Barrett & Karen Marshalsay, HOTBED (Handing on Tradition By
Electronic Dissemination), RSAMD
L&T / metadata issues specific to Moving Image & Sound Cluster
* The performing arts communities in particular can be very
uncomfortable and unfamiliar with technology. There is not much history
of using technology to build on. This also means that
practitioners/users need easy-to-use tools, which are complicated to
develop for the range of media types required.
* The diversity of the communities using moving images and sound means
that there are not the kind of universal description and access
standards found in, say, archaeology. There are a multiplicity of
vocabularies, and confusion in descriptive standards between format and
* There is a great diversity of very specialist areas which are very
different from each other. Many initiatives are starting from scratch
with their subject area, in a field that is already cutting edge (i.e.
the learning technology field).
* In the performing arts, there is a great need for dealing with
resources in a subjective way (e.g. what is a piece of music actually
"about"?) as well as objective (e.g. performer; composer; venue
information). This adds complications to provisions for metadata.
General L&T / metadata issues
* There was a strong feeling that metadata provision was a drain on
project resources. The way in which this was expressed in the Workshop
gave the impression that it is not generally considered to be core to
project objectives. Participants said "We can't do the project AND the
metadata", as though these were two separate issues.
* Project staff at all levels and from all backgrounds found the issue
of developing their project metadata provision very daunting. Trying to
find appropriate guidance and relevant exemplars, and to understand the
different languages used by different professional groups was a major
* Even notwithstanding the above, those projects who have done the work
as far as metadata goes, report that it is a huge task in any project or
initiative, and this is often not recognised or accounted for at the
project funding or planning stage.
* There is only a small pool of people at present with experience in
developing metadata provision in the e-learning/digital libraries field.
This means that adequate provision for staff and professional
development is a vital issue for many projects and services.
* Iterative design of projects and services, with user testing and
evaluation, is very important, as it is only at the stage of actual use
that flaws in the metadata provision will become clear.
* There is also an issue of ongoing support for resource description
after the end of funded projects.
* Making resources available via networked provision to a very wide
variety of communities means that the possibilities for describing the
resources and providing access to them may be innumerable. Projects and
services are increasingly finding they must draw a line as to how far
they will go, i.e. not providing subject access relating to every
possible use of a complex video resource. The requirements of the
funding body involved must be taken into account.
Workshop Findings: Ways Forward
Breakout Groups were asked to return with solutions to "build an easier
road through the L&T/Metadata jungle".
* Idiot's guide to metadata needed.
It was pointed out that the Metadata SIG is developing one!
* There needs to be more communication between subject
specialists/academics, librarians and LT/IT specialists.
Join the Metadata SIG! Ask questions, share practice!
* Provision for staff and professional development for project staff in
this area should be built projects from the bidding stage. Funding
bodies need to take this on board.
* Practical discussion days should be held regularly, and training days
for new project staff. Funding bodies such as the JISC could provide
* "Clearing-house" approach so that projects can easily find out who has
already done what they want to do, in their subject area or sector.
Pointed to UKOLN's Schemas Registry and the work of CEN/ISSS LT
Workshop who are working on a Vocabulary Repository.
* Methodology for developing metadata approach should be provided. JISC
guidelines etc. should be made easier to find; a lot of advice and
information exists already but is very hard to find.
Ms. Sarah Currier
CETIS Educational Content Special Interest Group
Dept. of Computer and Information Sciences
University of Strathclyde
Room 13.08, Livingstone Tower
26 Richmond Street, Glasgow G1 1XH
Tel: +44(0)141 548 4846 Fax: +44(0)141 5531393
Mob.: 07980 855 801
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Web (EC-SIG): http://www.cetis.ac.uk/groups/20010809144711/viewGroup
Web (Dept.): http://www.cis.strath.ac.uk/