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Created: February 14, 2003.
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IMS Global Learning Consortium Releases Learning Design and Digital Repositories Specifications.

Final Version 1.0 specifications for IMS Learning Design and IMS Digital Repositories have been published by the IMS Global Learning Consortium, together with XML schemas. The IMS Global Learning Consortium develops open specifications to facilitate 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 uses XML-Schemas as the primary control documents for the IMS specifications' XML bindings. The IMS Learning Design specification approved by the Technical Board in February 2003 supports the use of a wide range of pedagogies in online learning. Rather than attempting to capture the specifics of many pedagogies, it does this by providing a generic and flexible language; this language is designed to enable many different pedagogies to be expressed, exhibiting a good balance between generality and pedagogic expressiveness. The IMS Digital Repositories specification defines digital repositories as being any collection of resources that are accessible via a network without prior knowledge of the structure of the collection. Repositories may hold actual assets or the meta-data that describe assets. This specification is intended to utilize schemas already defined elsewhere (e.g., IMS Meta-Data and Content Packaging), rather than attempt to introduce any new schema." The Digital Repositories Specification includes a Core Functions Information Model, XML Binding Specification, and Best Practices & Implementation Guide.

IMS Metadata and the OAI Protocol for E-Learning

"Exposing Information Resources for E-Learning. Harvesting and Searching IMS Metadata Using the OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting and Z39.50." By Andy Powell (UKOLN, University of Bath) and Steven Richardson (UMIST). In Ariadne Issue 34 (January 14, 2003). "IMS is a global consortium that develops open specifications to support the delivery of e-learning through Learning Management Systems (LMS) -- or 'Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)' as used in the UK. IMS activities cover a broad range of areas including accessibility, competency definitions, content packaging, digital repositories, integration with 'enterprise' systems, learner information, metadata, question & test and simple sequencing. Of particular relevance to this article is the work of the IMS Digital Repositories Working Group (DRWG). The DRWG is working to define a set of interfaces to repositories (databases) of learning objects and/or information resources in order to support resource discovery from within an LMS. In particular, the specifications currently define mechanisms that support distributed searching of remote repositories, harvesting metadata from repositories, depositing content with repositories and delivery of content from the repository to remote systems. Future versions of the specifications will also consider alerting mechanisms, for discovering new resources that have been added to repositories. Note that, at the time of writing, the DRWG specifications are in draft form. Two broad classes of repository are considered: (1) Native learning object repositories containing learning objects; (2) Information repositories containing information resources (documents, images, videos, sounds, datasets, etc.). In the former, it is assumed that, typically, the learning objects are described using the IMS metadata specification and packaged using the IMS content packaging specification. The latter includes many existing sources of information including library OPACs, bibliographic databases and museum catalogues where metadata schemas other than IMS are in use. In both cases it is assumed that the repository may hold both assets and metadata or just metadata only. Both the example implementations described below fall into the second category of repository. The DRWG specifications describe the use of XQuery over SOAP to query 'native' repositories of learning objects. This usage is not discussed any further in this article. The specifications also describe how to search and harvest IMS metadata from 'information' repositories using the OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) and Z39.50..."

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