The selling of Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Source
July 29th, 2013
Publication Author: 
Lisa Petrides
Resource Type: 

As a self-professed metadata geek, I’ve recently been participating in an online discussion about metadata and the Learning Registry. I have to say, it feels as if I’m on a merry-go-round that won’t stop, because for the past 10 years I’ve engaged in dozens if not hundreds of conversations about the use of OER (open education resources) metadata concerning these same issues: Do we need it? How should it be licensed? Who owns it?

Metadata are data used to describe attributes of a resource. Take, for example, the side of a Starbucks cup, which features checkboxes for customer preferences, such as type of milk and number of espresso shots. The use of those "metadata" ensure that each product conforms to the customer’s specification (such as grande, double, skinny, no foam). In the case of digital libraries, metadata are used (although sometimes invisible to the user) to allow users to discover resources by their attributes. Basic metadata might include title, author, and grade level, but metadata can take on more significant meaning once it is enhanced, refined, rated, reviewed, aligned, and associated with user-generated content and use patterns.

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