I started working with metadata back in 2009, in the context of the Organic.Edunet eContentPlus project; first as an annotator, using the Organic.Edunet IEEE LOM AP for the creation of metadata records for selected resources, then as a domain expert and validator. The metadata management tool that we were using back then was the Organic.Edunet Confolio tool, a web based tool for creating metadata records. There was a lot of thinking and technical implementation in Confolio – you can find more information here (as well as in various online sources and documents).
The tool was installed in four (4) different servers, and each installation served a different collection or set of collections:
- Agricultural University of Athens (Greece): Including the AUA and Bio@gro collections.
- Greek Research & Technology Network (Greece): Including a variety of collections, such as a selection of Organic Eprints publications and FAO Corporate Document repository & Capacity Building Portal (now known as Capacity Development Portal) among others.
- BMUKK (Austria): Including the Austrian collection provided by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture (BMUKK) & the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water (BMLFUW)
- Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH): Including a variety of collections, such as the Spanish (SEAE), the Estonian (Miksike), the ECOLOGICA and the ENOAT ones. In addition, it includes a unique collection provided by Intute, which is no longer active; however, there are still the metadata describing the resources in Confolio.
Confolio was a useful tool and rather easy to use, allowing users to create metadata records using the Organic.Edunet IEEE LOM AP v2.0. However, after the end of the Organic.Edunet project there was no mean for supporting its further development. In addition, its decentralized nature (four individual installations) made any update and revision rather difficult since each installation was administered by another person/team. Hannes Ebner from the KTH team (back in the Organic.Edunet projec tdays), one of the people actively involved in the development of Confolio, was kind enough to help us with some revisions and updates after the end of the project (such as the introduction of new translations for the vocabularies, the ontology and the interface) in the GRNET installation but he could not allocate much effort due to lack of resources. It was obvious that the specific model was not sustainable…
The solution came within the AK team: The technical team (mainly Stavros Gkinis started working on a metadata management tool, called the Agricultural Learning Repository tool (AgLR). The tool was developed in the context of the Organic.Lingua ICT-PSP project in order to meet the needs for multilingual annotation of agricultural educational resources with metadata. The AgLR tool is based on the Omeka open source platform, which was adopted and significantly customized in several aspects.
Thanks to the funding from the project and the coordinated efforts between the technical and language/machine translation teams, the AgLR tool currently supports the automatic translation of metadata (Title, Description and Keywords) in several languages using the XEROX Statistical Machine Translation (SMT) component and the Cross-Language Information Retrieval (CLIR) component from the CELI team. Of course there is the possibility of manually providing translations of metadata in other languages. Another multilinguality feature of the AgLR tool is the availability of its user interface in nine (9) languages and the availability of an easy way for providing additional translations for the user interface.
Through an easy to use user interface, the AgLR tool allows users to create metadata records for agricultural educational resources using the Organic.Edunet IEEE LOM AP v3.0 and classify them using the revised Organic.Edunet OA-AE ontology. As regards the latter, the AgLR tool is connected through an API with the MoKi tool developed by the FBK team, which is used for the collaborative management and evolution of the Organic.Edunet ontology; in this way, all revisions made in the ontology are directly exposed and available through the AgLR tool (a feature missing from Confolio). The tool can also be used for the creation of collections including resources not previously available online, by allowing the users to upload the actual resources as well.
Metadata can be imported to the AgLR tool as a new collection after they are transformed to Organic.Edunet IEEE LOM and at the same time each collection can be individually exposed as a set of the AgLR OAI-PMH target (AgLR is fully OAI-PMH compliant). It should be mentioned that the AgLR tool is used for the metadata management of several Green Learning Network collections and for two (out of the total four) of the Organic.Lingua project collections (Spanish and Estonian).
There are many more functionalities that cannot be mentioned in this post but are described in the corresponding deliverable of the Organic.Lingua project, while more are expected by the end of the Organic.Lingua project (28/2/2014) and even beyond this time frame.