Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
June 17, 2002

Open Archives Initiative Release Version 2.0 of the Protocol for Metadata Harvesting The new protocol includes some clarifications, error corrections and new functionality. There is also a guideline for implementation included. There is also a link where you can register your compliant repository and links to version 2.0 tools. By Press Release, Open Archives Initiative, June 14, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Automated Digitisation of Printed Material for Everyone: The METADATA ENGINE Project Just as the title suggests, the goal of this project is to provide automatically generated metadata for printed products. The idea is to scan the material using optical character recognition (OCR) and to convert as much of the information as possible into metadata (this is a process similar to that used by business card readers). By Günter Mühlberger, DigiNews, June 15, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Smart Ways to Handle Dummies This item picked up by elearningpost is a fun read. I'm not sure whether it is directly applicable to online learning, since it discusses four types of 'problem user' and gives advice to computer services people on how to work with them. I wonder about the characterization of the 'Billy the Kid' problem user. His sole offence seems to be playing around with his PC and sometimes running unlicensed software. It's an interesting perspective. From a computer services point of view, playing with your computer is something to be avoided. But from a learning point of view, it should be encouraged. As for the unlicensed software bit: get the user a Linux box. End of problem. Heh. By Minn Yang and Paul Smith, MIS Magazine, December 31, 200-31 8:33 p.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Building an E-Commerce Community: Friendship Sells This item discusses commercial online communities but the same holds for online learning communities. Those that are successful, argues the author, are those that make people feel like they belong. "But community cannot be forced. Many sites founded on pure community ideals, such as, faltered, largely due to dependence on advertising revenue. Instead, the sites that leverage community to best effect make their efforts transparent, encouraging feedback and interaction without getting in the way." What this means for educators is that the online learning community has to be about more than just learning. Though some components of the community may be non-educational, these components are what build community loyalty and engagement. By Keith Regan, E-Commerce Times , June 6, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Battle Over Access to Online Books The latest battle in the digital rights field is between librarians and publishers. "Librarians have seized on the potential of digital technology and offered users free online access to the contents of books from their homes, and they are squaring off with publishers who fear that free remote access costs them book sales." By David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, June 17, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Policing Pirates in the Networked Age There's a lot going on in this essay. Drawing from the napster experience, the author looks at some recent legislation intended to enforce digital rights and questions whether it is needed. Prior experience has shown that new copying technology has not substantially impacted rights holders. An examination of the impact of Napster shows that this continues to be the case. It then looks at the possibilities for a market based solution to the problem, including encryption technology and micropayments, and concludes that legislation forcing manufacturers to incorporate DRM technology into their products will not be needed. By Stan Liebowitz, Policy Analysis, May 15, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright © 2002 Stephen Downes