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Conference Report


D-Lib Magazine
October 2006

Volume 12 Number 10

ISSN 1082-9873

Report on the Workshop of Learning Object Repositories as Digital Libraries

September 22, 2006, Alicante, Spain


Miguel R. Artacho
UNED University, Spain

Erik Duval
K.U. Leuven, Belgium
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Red Line


The first ever Learning Object Repositories as Digital Libraries workshop was held in Alicante, Spain, as part of the European Conference on Digital Libraries (ECDL 2006). The workshop took place in the Campus of Universidad de Alicante on Friday, 22 September. Miguel Rodríguez-Artacho, UNED University, Spain and Erik Duval, K.U.Leuven, Belgium served as the workshop chairs.

Current challenges for Learning Objects Repositories as Digital Libraries

Repositories of learning objects are a key component for supporting the authoring of educational material. The Learning Object Repositories (LOR) workshop addressed the increasing importance of the digital library (DL) paradigm as a reference framework for building learning object repositories. Current trends are focused on incorporating new interfaces and metadata based on learning semantics and social interactions.

LOR workshop papers covered interesting open issues on the above mentioned topics, from the application of semantic technologies to reusability in the context of DLs. In Accessing A Learning Object Repository through a Semantic Layer, I. Mayorga and co-authors addressed the need to create semantic frameworks on top of a LOR to enhance metadata annotation and facilitate meaningful retrieval. The paper states that browsing by metadata fields does not fit learners' or authors' needs, and relies on a semantic layer for automatic metadata creation. In related work, The Construction of a Spanish Educational Repository: Advances and Future Directions of the DOTEINE Project, from M. A. Marzal, addresses the building of a semantic reference framework for a specific community (in this case Spain). Marzal's paper provides an example of how strongly metadata structures are related to social and educational context.

Kaufmann and Figueira in Disaggregation and reutilization of Sharable Content Objects focuses on a specific reusability issue: automated disassembling and reassembling of SCORM (Sharable Courseware Object Reference Model) packages. Their paper details the classification process and problems caused by the loss of metadata and learning context of the disaggregated sub-Packages and shared learning objects.

In their paper, Bridging the semantic gap in standards-based learning object repositories, E. Rodríguez et al. show how, in practice, current interfaces to access digital repositories of learning objects (LOs) may need a semantic layer. In this case, the IMS Digital Repositories Specification has been enhanced in order to deal with the reference in metadata to ontologies and the use of semantic query languages.

Finally, M Harris and J. Thom show in their paper, Challenges Facing the Retrieval and Reuse of Learning Objects, a broader view of reusing LOs that face social, technical and cultural challenges. A statistical study is presented with some interesting conclusions on the behaviour of academic staff when they are reusing educational material, concluding that metadata labelling can create a gap between creators and users of LOs, making the retrieval process tricky rather than facilitating search in LORs.

The acceptance rate for papers submitted to LODL 2006 was 35,7%.

Keynote talk: LORs as DLs or DLs as LORs?

The LOR workshop keynote speaker was Edward Fox, from Virginia Polytechnic and State University (Virginia Tech), who used the videoconference service provided by our partners from the Open University UK ( His in-depth, rich talk, titled "A 5S perspective on learning objects repositories as digital libraries", focused on how DLs can be the cornerstone for e-learning, facilitating collaboration, distribution and reuse.

Full workshop papers, presentations and recorded keynote talk can be accessed from workshop web site at <>.


The LOR workshop chairs would like to thank the Kaleidoscope and ProLEARN networks of excellence for their support of this workshop, and Rafael Carrasco (U. Alicente) and Felisa Verdejo (UNED University) for their excellent work chairing the ECDL 2006 Conference.

Copyright © 2006 Miguel R. Artacho and Erik Duval

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