Quality assurance for digital learning object repositories: issues for the metadata creation process
Metadata enables users to find the resources they require, therefore it is an important component of any digital learning object repository. Much work has already been done within the learning technology community to assure metadata quality, focused on the development of metadata standards, specifications and vocabularies and their implementation within repositories. The metadata creation process has thus far been largely overlooked. There has been an assumption that metadata creation will be straightforward and that where machines cannot generate metadata effectively, authors of learning materials will be the most appropriate metadata creators. However, repositories are reporting difficulties in obtaining good quality metadata from their contributors, and it is becoming apparent that the issue of metadata creation warrants attention. This paper surveys the growing body of evidence, including three UK-based case studies, scopes the issues surrounding human-generated metadata creation and identifies questions for further investigation. Collaborative creation of metadata by resource authors and metadata specialists, and the design of tools and processes, are emerging as key areas for deeper research. Research is also needed into how end users will search learning object repositories.