Curriculum in the cloud


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Presentation by Pru Mitchell and Les Kneebone for the Australian Committee on Cataloguing (ACOC) Seminar: Link by link: data integration and the evolving web held on 1 November 2013.
Australia is implementing a machine-readable school curriculum published as RDF. Curriculum objectives are described using concepts from the Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT), a subject vocabulary used in education metadata and school library catalogues since 2003. This presentation uses the experience of several Education Services Australia metadata projects to highlight the benefits and challenges for libraries entering the world of linked data.

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  • Thanks for the opportunity to be part of this seminar. Linked data has beewere n an area of interest within our projects for a few years, and Les and I keen to present at ACOC so we could hear about the other linked data projects happening in the metadata space. Part of linked data is having people to link to, so we hope that this presentation will provide some idea about what might be involved, and how to get started.With acknowledgement to colleague: Ben Chadwick, Metadata Analyst and SCIS Systems Librarian.
  • So the obvious [comfortable] conclusion for those of us following after Richard’s amazing presentation – isn’t it great that we have this whole linked data thing sewn up? We just need to implement the solution outlined and hey presto the whole [library] world will be linked and live happily ever after.Well some of us deviated a long time ago from the straight and narrow – and headed off on our own journey.Head in the clouds may be an obvious analogy, but we would like to share what we have learned along the way.Sometimes being out on your own means you can move faster. There may be [slightly] less red tape to get through, and obviously less people you need to bring along for the ride.Of course there is also the danger that you become stranded. In terms of vocabularies, no-one understands you any more and you need to fork your own path to get back to the main road to check out what the others are doing.Niche cat:
  • SCIS Standards for Cataloguing and Data Entry 2013 “The Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS) exists to help Australian and New Zealand schools make the most effective use ofeducational resources.” Thus, for example, SCIS developed and published the SCIS Subject Headings as a standard reference tool in subject cataloguing, specifically responding to the particular educational and linguistic needs of Australian and New Zealand students and teachers.
  • Let me introduce the organisation that SCIS is part of. Education Services Australia as a national organisation that operates collaboratively in the interests of all education systems. At the moment its main work is around providing robust infrastructure and resources to support the Australian Curriculum. You may recognise some of the services and websites developed and hosted by ESA.Education Services Australia (ESA) is a national, not-for-profit company owned by all Australian education ministers. The company was established to support delivery of national priorities and initiatives. ESA is in a unique position as we are a publisher and provider of content as well as of metadata records for e-books. “Education Services Australia (ESA) procures and licenses digital resources on demand. These include: interactive multimedia resources, combining still and moving images, text, audio and animation interactive formative assessment resources resources sourced from national and international, cultural and private collections.ESA makes resources searchable through the application of metadata. Compliance with agreed technical standards ensures that the digital content can be accessed and used across Australia on a range of hardware and technical platforms.”
  • Functions of SCIS Subject Headings The purpose of SCIS Subject Headings is to provide a controlled language approach suitable for subject access to the library catalogue for primary and secondary school students.1 it is suitable for use by school students and staff in primary and secondary schools 2 it uses Australasian terminology which reflects changes in curriculum 3 it represents new and established ideas and conceptsThe service originally began as the Australian Schools Catalogue Information Service (ASCIS) in November 1982. Prior to the introduction of this national cooperative cataloguing scheme, representatives from eleven authorities (comprising education departments from all States and Territories, the National Catholic Education Commission, the National Council of Independent Schools and the Commonwealth Schools Commission) participated in a project initiated by the Commonwealth Schools Commission, which recognised the benefits of having one list of subject headings to ensure the effective functioning of the cooperative cataloguing scheme. A pilot edition of ASCIS Subject Headings was published in 1983. It drew on the available controlled vocabularies developed by individual education departments, which had provided cataloguing services to schools for many years. Two well-established overseas publications were also consulted when the list was being compiled: the Library of Congress Subject Headings And Sears List of Subject Headings.The first edition of ASCIS Subject Headings was published in 1985.The language of the headings has been aligned with an approximate reading age of ten years. However, it is recognised that subjects and concepts encountered in senior secondary education often cannot be expressed in simple words.
  • The Schools Catalogue Information Service has been supplier of catalogue records for almost all Australian and New Zealand schools for the past 25 years. Firstly – it is important that content is catalogued (ie described). This means they can be searched for and found by users.Here are some statistics on what SCIS provides in terms of its database of catalogue.Obviously with a user base of most Australian schools and a large proportion of New Zealand and English-speaking international schools, SCIS is well placed to understand the trends and issues in school library catalogues and collections
  • In the 2013 survey by Softlink, over 800 school library staff responded to a question about the library goals they considered the most important during the following 12 months. The top three goals included: Aligning Australian Curriculum (ACARA) with existing resources/practices;implementing technology to enable eResource access to digital/mobile devices; and developing a formal information literacy program. [The findings indicate that: literacy levels are higher for those schools that support and invest in their school libraries, staffing and resources Funding – maintaining a well-resourced school library to enhance teaching and learning outcomes and the National Curriculum. This includes impacts on time available for library management versus teaching requirements.  Technology – investing in eBooks, mobile and other library technology to keep up with current trends. Finding the balance between online delivery and the continuing importance of the physical collection.]School Library Survey Findings from Softlink’s 2013 Australian School Library Survey into school library budgets, staffing and literacy levels in Australian school libraries.
  • “Emphasises the importance of knowledge, skills and understandings of learning areas, general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities as the basis for a curriculum designed to support 21st century learning.”Source:
  • The school library catalogue is in most schools the only place where users can search for school-owned/licensed resources all in one place. The student or staff member seeking books, information and learning resources expects to do one search and for that search to return all relevant material available to them, regardless of its format or its location. This holy grail of single point of search assumes an integrated set of search results, which requires integrated metadata.One of the most important messages you can take away from this session is that while your students and teachers can use a search engine to find millions of onlineresources, this search will return everything online EXCEPT the very resources that your school or system has actually selected and paid for.If you are going to invest in e-books and digital content you need to think about how users will find these. I would strongly suggest the library catalogue is the logical place.
  • Navigation - Scootle helps teachers to find, organise and use digital resources from partners in national cultural and collection agencies, open-ended tools for teachers and students to create learning resources, interactive assessment resources, work samples, collections of curriculum resources and teacher ideas and units of work.The content is indexed using the subject headings of the Schools Online Thesaurus, an agreed Australian vocabulary of curriculum topics and terms. Search results can be viewed on timelines and Google maps, providing new ways for teachers to discover relevant resources, and also to construct challenging learning experiences for students.The Australian Curriculum in ScootleScootle has made finding and using digital resources aligned to the Australian Curriculum easy for teachers. Teachers can browse the Australian Curriculum at the content descriptions and elaborations level. The matching digital resources are quality assured and include activities for students, teacher support materials and interactive assessment resources.
  • Faceted search: Navigation: Collections: learning areaRedirects: see references, hidden,incl spelling variationSee alsoMapping between repositoriesResources to researchCurriculum to curriculum
  • The Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT) provides a controlled vocabulary of terms used in Australian and New Zealand schools. It encompasses all subject areas as well as terms describing educational and administrative processes. The thesaurus links non-preferred terms to curriculum terms. It also relates terms in a browsable structure. These features make ScOT an ideal vocabulary to integrate into 'search' mechanisms of learning management systems. ScOT terms loading: ScOT terms have been added to SCIS MARC records since 2006Salmond, Rachel 2007 ScOT in SCIS - more of the same … or different?, Connections Issue 60
  • Out of total 302,928,939 MARC records
  • SCIS Subject Headings List demonstrator project
  • Curriculum in the cloud

    1. 1. Curriculum in the cloud Linking education through vocabularies Les Kneebone & Pru Mitchell 1 November 2013
    2. 2. Cataloguing the niche • Why niche catalogues and vocabularies? • Non-subject vocabularies • How many vocabularies can we sustain? Reynolds, Leo 2006, niche, CC-by-nc-sa
    3. 3. What’s different about school libraries? • Literacy • Content • Curriculum • Budget • Stand alone Global@St Peter’s Woodlands, CC-by-nc
    4. 4. Education Services Australia • not-for-profit, ministerial company to provide services to the Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood (SCSEEC) • infrastructure and content to support national initiatives such as the Australian Curriculum and National Professional Standards for Teachers • services: SCIS, Curriculum Press, myfuture ScOT thesaurus, domain registrar, Scootle
    5. 5. Schools Catalogue Information Service • Quality: standards-based, consistent • Scope: Australian/NZ education K-12 • Classification: relevant to schools • Efficiency: cost and effort • Quick: bulk download by ISBN • Terminology: subject headings appropriate
    6. 6. What does SCIS provide? 1.6 million+ catalogue records 10,000+ 10,000+ 3,000+ 2,500+ 1,000+ 100+ e-books educational websites learning objects digital video files audio books apps Form of resources catalogued by SCIS 2012-13 1 July 2013 statistics
    7. 7. Top issues facing school libraries 1. aligning Australian Curriculum with existing resources 2. enabling eresource access to mobile devices 3. developing formal information literacy programs D’Andrea, E 2009, Cat cloud CC-by-sa Softlink 2013 Australian School Library Survey
    8. 8. Australian Curriculum
    9. 9. Architecture of the curriculum Learning Areas English Mathematics Science History Geography Arts F-10 Health & Phys Ed F-10 Civics and Citizenship 3-10 Economics & Business 5-10 Languages F-10 Technologies F-10 Work Studies 9-10 Cross-curriculum priorities Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia Sustainability
    10. 10. Resourcing the curriculum School libraries support implementation of curriculum in their school School library catalogues provide access to learning resources for the school community ACARA General Capabilities
    11. 11. Scootle
    12. 12. Controlled vocabularies "High levels of precision and recall, the two ways in which we judge any information retrieval system, are dependent on controlled vocabularies and national and international standards they cannot be obtained by other systems not involving human intervention.” Michael Gorman foreword to Conversations with Catalogers in the 21st Century, Libraries Unlimited, 2011 (p. viii)
    13. 13. How do vocabularies help search? • • • • • Faceted search Navigation Redirects (synonyms) See also Mapping between repositories Resources to research Curriculum to curriculum
    14. 14. ScOT thesaurus
    15. 15. About ScOT o About school curriculum and the teaching profession o 9232 concepts o 10 top concepts o 9441 broader/narrower relations o 7775 alternate labels/ synonyms o Used since 2003 for tagging education resources o Used since 2011 to tag the Australian Curriculum
    16. 16. Why two vocabularies?
    17. 17. Vocabulary structure? Potter, J 2008, Fortune found my yarn CC-by-nc-sa
    18. 18. Curriculum content description • ScOT is used to describe Australian Curriculum ScOT is used to describe Australian Curriculum
    19. 19. Warning: XML ahead!
    20. 20. o 1000+ content descriptions tagged o 5 curriculum areas o ACARA endorsed metadata
    21. 21. 20,000+ resources tagged in Scootle 350,000+ resources tagged in SCIS MARC records
    22. 22. Inference o Common vocabulary o Leverage past tagging o Exploit hierarchy
    23. 23. ScOT in Australian Curriculum Curriculum Alignment between resources and curriculum may be inferred via ScOT Link content with high correlation of SCOT tags
    24. 24. 10 top concepts
    25. 25. Hierarchy levels up to 14 hierarchy levels
    26. 26. Exploiting the hierarchy Curriculum Link content with high correlation of SCOT tags Broader / Narrower relationships used to expand inferences
    27. 27. Curriculum Connect o infers content descriptions using the ScOT hierarchy o leverages investment in ScOT tagging o supports collection data mining o underpins search applications
    28. 28. API o system integration o enhance search indexes o build navigation o redirect synonyms o Curriculum Connect federated query o infer curriculum > ScOT > resources o SPARQL + RESTful
    29. 29. 生態系; 生态系统; Mātauranga taupuhi kaiao; Ekosistem; ; Ökosystem; Οικοσύστημα; Ecosistema; 생태계; Hệ sinh thái; Ekosistem; Ecosistema; ; Écosystème Ecosystems Ecology Biodiversity; Biogeochemical cycles; Bioindicators; Biomes; Competition (Ecology); Ecological niches; Ecological succession; Food webs; Habitats; Land degradation; Native species; Populations (Ecology); Symbiosis Use for resources about communities of living organisms interacting with each other and with their environment, including the processes that take place.
    30. 30. Multilingual 13 languages
    31. 31. Why publish your vocabulary? • • • • Easier to consult over / crowd-source Benefits of managing a vocabulary as RDF Rich features Change management of deprecated and replacement concepts
    32. 32. What does a vocabulary require? • Scope statement • Unique ID for concepts • to aid updating of multiple systems, and • to aid translation into multilingual thesaurus • References • URI for semantic web • Licence • Web publishing tools standards – policies – managers - users
    33. 33. Publishing tools Ontology editors
    34. 34. Mapping vocabularies • SKOS • Non-education vocabularies • My concept matches your concept
    35. 35. More curriculum vocabularies
    36. 36. Curriculum vocabularies in MARC 658 Curriculum Element
    37. 37. Ben Chadwick: Demonstrator 2013
    38. 38. Ben Chadwick: Demonstrator 2013
    39. 39. e-Portfolio
    40. 40. Useful links Pages URL ScOT Solutions Curriculum Connect API scot Downloads ScOT blog SCIS blog