From ElateWiki

Metadata ("information about information") are used in e-learning to support the management and sharing of digital files (text, imagery, audio, video, and digital learning objects). Metadata may be descriptive of the contents of the digital objects. They (known here as structural metadata) may show relationships between the digital objects; structured information that is related may be described as ontologies or schemas, or systematic ways to conceptualize related information. Administrative metadata relate to information that helps those who maintain digital repositories, digital libraries, or content management systems manage, control, deliver and organize the data.

This type of data has become more important with the greater emphasis on sharing learning objects to save on development costs. The portability of digital files is enhanced when objects are properly labeled. Ideally, digital objects will be portable between systems; they should be interchangeable and sharable in real-time; they should be "re-usable" in different context (and therefore not embedded in proprietary systems).

Faculty who want to create contents to share openly or in closed systems will need to be aware of metadata systems. There's a fine balance between having a metadata system that is very demanding for users and contributors and one that is semantically sound and useful enough to help achieve the various aims of digital archivists, users, educators, and learners.


Metadata Labeling Methods

A number of metadata labeling methods exist. Some of these are topic domain-specific. Others are specific to particular libraries. Essentially, metadata schemes define relevant types of information about the digital object for organization, searching, and maintenance.

Some examples of metadata labeling methods exist:

Open Archival Information System (OAIS) coordinated by the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS)

Some Common Metadata Factors

Some basic metadata elements include a title, the name of the creator(s) or publisher(s), the date of creation, a description of the object, the format type(s) of the object, and an original identifier.

Identifiers tend to be alphanumeric and wholly original to the particular object. This unique identifier will help to "locate" the object in the repository or on the WWW. It may also help eliminate having multiple copies of the object stored and saved. An example of a system for unique identifiers is the Digital Object Identifier ( Unique and unmodifiable identifiers have long been used with information, such as the ISBNs (international standard book number) for books and ISRCs (international standard recording code) for recordings.

Other metadata "information fields" may include the language of the object, the learning objectives, the level of learning, the quality of the learning object, intellectual property or copyright information, technological constraints in the use of the digital objects, main concepts, duration of the learning, and other details. Such metadata may be used to enhance information searches (Naijar & Duval, 2006, n.p.).

Given the fluidity of information, information may be both data and metadata, depending on its usage.

See Also

Digital Object Identifier (DOI) Handbook:

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative:

MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching):


Najjar, J. & Duval, E. (2006). Actual use of learning objects and metadata: An empirical analysis. TCDL Bulletin: 2(2). Retrieved July 10, 2009, at