Successful completion of the European Treasury Browser project paves the
way for new European Learning Resources (ELR) service starting 2003.
The European Treaury Browser project which was completed in October 2002 was instrumental in consolidating an operational infrastructure for centralised access to educational resources submitted by repositories across Europe. This has enabled us to open up a new European Learning Resources (ELR) service based on the key achievements of the project which are summarised below.
Quality Learning Resources for European Schools
European Learning Resources service offers European quality-checked digital educational resources for teachers and learners in schools. Educational repositories can join the network to enlarge and enrich their collections with quality items from other countries. This work is built on the research carried out by the European Treasury Browser, a European Commission Information Society Technologies project.
Services for Teachers, Student and all the Learners
European Schoolnet provides an easy to use interface in eight languages for teachers, students and parents to find Pan-European quality resources at http://resources.eun.org.
Teachers are invited to propose their favourite resources to the network through an easy to use interface, also with eight different language options.
Services for Educational Repositories: European Resources Never Before Featured On A National Level
Educational repositories and digital collections of educational resources can now join the European Learning Resources network. Members share records of resources across Europe while retaining full editorial control over their own collections. Collection visitors, i.e. teachers and students, will be able to access an enlarged selection of multilingual resources of high quality through their usual interface.
Network members are able to post and receive feeds of metadata records through the network while maintaining the local editorial policy. These records have passed a local quality assessment and are deemed to be of broader European interest. So all resources on the network come from trusted sources. The key value added feature is a rich multilingual thesaurus in nine languages which enables efficient indexation and information retrieval.
A series of toolkits tailored to the needs of new joining members are available to connect a local repository or database to the network allowing seamless data exchange. Technical assistance is also available from the European Schoolnet office.
About the Project
European Treasury Browser (ETB) is a funded project by the European Commission in the IST programme. The funded period started in February 2000 and finalized in October 2002.
The partners of the ETB project were the following:
Coordinator: European Schoolnet http://www.eun.org
- INDIRE, Italy
- The Danish IT Centre for Education and Research, Denmark
- Joint Research Centre, Italy
- NetLab, Lund University, Sweden
- Humboldt University, Germany
- Fundación Universidad Empresa, Spain
- FWU Institut für Film und Bild in Wissenschaft und Unterricht Gemeinnützige Gmbh, Germany
- MAKASH - Advancing CMC Applications in Education, Culture and Science, Israel
- Lambrakis Research Foundation, Greece
- Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy
- InformationsZentrum Sozialwissenschaften der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Sozialwissenschaftlicher Institute e.V., Germany
Presently the contributing members of the network are European Schoolnet, The Danish IT Centre for Education and Research (UNI-C), Deutscher Bildungsserver from Germany (Humbold University), The National Agency for Education from Sweden (NetLab), INDIRE from Italy (Indire) and Public Contributions aggregated by JRC.
There has been an enthusiastic level of interest from countries outside the consortium, integration of these repositories is taking place now. Also countries like Australia and a Latin American network are eager to be linked to the European-wide network.
The main achievements of the project
1. Educational Thesaurus
ETB has produced a multilingual thesaurus in 9 languages (Danish, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish and Swedish) . It guarantees effective control of the indexing language and ensures inter-langue equivalences, provides a systematic display of the descriptors and allows indexing and searching by combining several descriptors in multiple languages.
2. ETB data model
The ETB datamodel is combined from two sets of elements, both dealing with different levels to identify the entire collection of resources:
- ETB Metadata Element set (ETB MES) on resource level and
- Collection Level Descriptors (CLD).
With both, there are also six lists of controlled vocabularies . The ETB MES deals with individual resource level. It includes 6 mandatory elements: Title, Description, Language of resource, Identifier, Subject from ETB Thesaurus, Audience. There are 12 mandatory elements for CLD. This description of the repository is produced only once and it serves as an identity card or catalogue for the collection that a repository holds.
Quality of resources is a key factor in ETB. It aims to represent a European documentation system, where the participants use documentary standards, Thesaurus, harmonised vocabulary, selection criteria, and quality assurance procedures, which are common to the system and established in advance. This helps end-users to evaluate the level of quality of information they find when using ELR services.
4. Technical Development
Different technical developments allow interoperability among repositories:
- ETB Light is a web interface between existing repository and the ETB network enabling posting and reading of resources from one repository to the network. With this solution repositories don’t have to install any additional software on their server.
- XML export/import enables mass-posting and receiving of resources between repository and the network.
- Repository integration toolkit is a Perl based tool interfacing between existing database driven repositories and the ETB network. The extent of integration with local tools and working procedures is determined locally.
- Virtual Native Repository on the EUN server lets individuals open and administrate independently a repository of learning resources.
- Native Repository enables the creation of a brand new ETB compliant repository on a Linux machine. This is a free software solution to any organisation wishing to join the network and set up a local repository “node”, i.e. start their own educational repository.
- RDF Central repository offers an interface for public to look through all the resources submitted to the network. It is an archive of all ETB metadata records submitted by the network members. No records are submitted through the central repository, as all moderation of resource metadata takes place at local repositories. Central repository’s two main functions are Thesaurus Management and Search Interface.
- NNTP, a metadata transport network links metadata repositories of learning resources across Europe and provides a flow of metadata. The transport protocol chosen is the Internet standard Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP). NNTP is a well-defined and well-established protocol with many implementations on both the client and the server side. A major advantage of NNTP is its robustness in the delivery of messages across a network of servers
How to join the European Learning Resources?
A series of toolkits tailored to the needs of new joining members are available to connect a local repository or database to the network allowing seamless data exchange. There are different scenarios depending on your willingness to invest on the technicalities. The following image summaries different scenarios
Technical assistance is available from the European Schoolnet office. Don’t hesitate to contact us! Visit the ETB website: http://etb.eun.org
Contacts at the EUN office:
Thomas Maier – Thomas.Maier@eun.org
Riina Vuorikari – Riina.Vuorikari@eun.org
Mariano Sanz Prieto firstname.lastname@example.org
||Mariano Sanz Prieto and Riina Vuorikari
||Friday, 13 Dec 2002
||Wednesday, 8 Jan 2003