Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
September 11, 2002

OASIS approves ebXML OASIS, an industry-led group, has approved ebXML, a secure method for exchanging electronic business transactions using the internet. By ComputerWire, The Register, September 10, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Canadian Business School's Journal Opts Out of Print and Onto the Internet Somebody's listening. The Ivey Business Journal is launching a free and open online version of the 70 year old print publication. "The online publication will not charge readers and will not accept advertising. 'That's not part of our current business plan,' said the publisher, Edmund T. Pearce. 'It doesn't fit with what we are trying to do. We're not interested in making money, although by switching to online-only, we'll save about $300,000 a year in print-production costs.'" By Karen Birchard, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 10, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

ARC Harvester and Search Engine From the website: "Arc is the first federated search service based on the OAI-PMH protocol. It includes a harvester which can harvests OAI-PMH 1.x and OAI-PMH 2.0 compliant repositories, a basic search engine which is based on database and an OAI-PMH." In English: this program retrieves metadata from open content repositories (such as open journal arfchives) and provides a search mechanism to let you find and retrieve the article you want. People working in learning object repositories should study this software very carefully. By Xiaoming Liu, Source Forge, September 1, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Battle Heats Up Over Rights This article is a good harbinger of some of the technology battles to come. These battles will spill over into the educational arena - for example, course designers may find themselves unable to write software or multimedia that will run on students' machines equipped with Microsoft's copy protection mechanisms. "Maintaining that these systems are needed to impede hackers, proponents say they could help restore law and order in a world where digital piracy is rampant. Critics counter that the technologies are part of an industry power-play that would end the freewheeling culture of information-sharing that now exists over the Internet." By Reuters, Globe and Mail, September 9, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Broadcast Institutions, Community Values Now that retail businesses have tried and failed to establish online communities, media outlets such as newspapers and television stations are looking at the concept. This article provides the same advice businesses were given three years ago (and which still applies):

  1. Audiences are built. Communities grow.
  2. Communities face a tradeoff between size and focus.
  3. Participation matters more than quality.
  4. You may own the software, but the community owns itself.
  5. The community will want to build. Help it, or at least let it.
It should go without saying, but these principle apply to educational or learning communities as well (what this means is that instructors and institutions need to resist the urge to 'manage' their learning communities). By Clay Shirky, Networks, Economics, and Culture, September 9, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Demystifying Metadata Introduction to the concept of metadata. Nice, in that it contains no actual code, that is, you are not required to decipher actual metadata to read this article. The point of the article isn't so much to describe how it works as it is to describe what it is intended to do. By Marty Lucas, Mappa Mundi, September, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes