Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
July 17, 2002

Ontologies Come of Age This is one of the best introductions to ontologies I've seen. An ontology may be thought of as a vocabulary for describing a domain or discipline. In its more philosophical sense, an ontology may be thought of as a description of (all) the entities within that domain or discipline, their relation to each other, and (in some cases) their use or function. The author clearly explains the concept and then shows how ontologies are employed in contemporary applications. She also offers some useful comments on the origin and maintenance of ontologies. Ontologies will be increasingly important in educational metadata so a good background in the concept is essential for system designers. In press. By Deborah L. McGuinness, in Dieter Fensel, J im Hendler, Henry Lieberman, and Wolfgang Wahlster, editors. Spinning the Semantic Web: Bringing the World Wide Web to Its Full Potential. MIT Press, December 31, 200-31 8:33 p.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Faculty Attitudes Toward Online Resources This brief article (in PDF format) describes the results of a survey of about 4,000 U.S. professors on their attitudes regarding online resources. Opinions varied widely, which is not surprising, and if there is any trend, it seems to indicate change. The author concludes, "electronic resources have become an invaluable tool for research, and faculty will become even more dependent on them in the future; and hard-copy archives should not be replaced entirely by electronic archives, but preserving electronic journals for the future is extremely important." So - is somebody saving OLDaily? By Bruce Heterick, EDUCAUSE Review, July, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Online Collaborative Learning in Higher Education Useful resource site trolled by Distance-Educator.Com that provides links and resources related to online collaboration. The intent of the site is to "specialise at the intersection of tertiary education, asynchronous online delivery, and collaborative learning." I won't pout (too much) about not being listed in the names section. By Tim Roberts, Lissa McNamee and Sallyanne Williams, Central Queensland University, December 31, 200-31 8:33 p.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Herding Cats in eEurope: Current achievements in Learning Technology Standardization This article, a quick summary of learning technology standards efforts in Europe, is most useful for its links. Especially recommended is the link to the recently completed Repository of Taxonomies and Vocabularies for a European Learning Society. This takes you to a page where you can select from a type of vocabulary (rights, for example, or costs) and view a list of available standards. For those researching different standards efforts this is a very useful resource (and pretty dry reading for the rest of you). Links to a number of European standards bodies are also provided. By Riina Vuorikari, European Schoolnet, July 5, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Schooling for Tomorrow? What Can Be Learnt From The Best Practices This interesting item is a snapshot of innovative schools in Europe. A short introduction links you to four articles (in PDF format) describing the prototypical "European School". Lavishly illustrated, these articles describe some best practices in the staff management, the learning environment, specialists and services. Experienced educators won't see anything new, but it's a really nice package that puts together all the pieces. By Annamaria Fichera, European Schoolnet, June 6, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Comenius Expert Networks: Diversity, Multimedia and More This is a short but useful list of networks funded by the the European Commissionís Comenius program. According to the website, "Comenius networks aim to develop knowledge and implementation of teaching innovation in the chosen area." By Brigitte Parry, European Schoolnet, July 8, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter?

Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at

[ About This NewsLetter] [ OLDaily Archives] [ Send me your comments]

Copyright © 2002 Stephen Downes