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Educators look all the time for "learning resources" to use in their classrooms. These can be books; often they are.
Up until now, that "discovery" process has generally taken place as a sales interaction. K-12 publishers have sales reps and catalogs and introduce their wares to educators through schools and districts. Teachers can try to identify learning resources through conventional web search, but they often don't find what they're looking for.
The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) has set out to fix this problem. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the LRMI has proposed a metadata tagging protocol that could help teachers find resources more easily on the web. The LRMI proposal has been submitted as an extension to Schema.org, the consortium of Microsoft Bing, Google, Yahoo!, and Yandex currently working toward standardizing metadata on the web. A number of publishers have already begun tagging their resources with LRMI metadata as part of a test program.
The LRMI will benefit not only educational publishers but trade publishers as well, since it will create a level playing field on the internet for all publishers with educational content who take the trouble to tag it properly. In other words, the LRMI will present trade publishers an opportunity to penetrate the education market -- without a huge new marketing initiative -- with metadata.
Neal Goff, who has long experience in both trade and educational publishing and is a past president of the Association of Educational Publishers, will explain the LRMI and talk about what trade publishers ought to be doing to keep their eye on it.