By Stephen Downes
July 30, 2003

The Aeffability of Knowledge Management
Patrick Lambe is concerned about the "obsessive fascination with the idea of knowledge as content, as object, and as manipulable artefact." This essay addresses that concern and describes the relation between knowledge and objects, learning and language. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, July 30, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

On Search: Metadata
D'Arcy Norman pointed me to this interesting article about some of the practical issues surrounding metadata and searching. Writes Norman, "We've seen the same limitations he lists for "hand collected metadata" - metadata that's manually entered by users. If you give them too many fields (like, say, maybe IMS LOM?) they just won't do it. Or, even worse, they'll do a crappy job. Even CanCore isn't small enough to be done efficiently and effectively. Heck, even DublinCore is too big for most users to regularly enter all fields completely." I think this is exactly right. We also get a reworded account of a problem posed a few days ago asking the question of what it is, exactly, that metadata describes. Interesting take: "The Web has resources, identified by URI, and you can ask for 'representations,' which come with some metadata, but the metadata is about the representation, not the resource." But that makes no sense either - the author is the author of the resource itself, not the representation of the resource. Right? By Tim Bray, Ongoing, July 29, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Learning By Design
A nice, long, lingering look at the process of instructional design. The bit at the beginning is especially interesting, where the author (who chooses to remain nameless) contrasts the 'engineer' model of instructional design with that of the 'gardener'. "Each problem is unique: each garden has its own opportunities and constraints. Each client is different: two clients can have similar gardens but want them to do different jobs." This sounds right to me. The autor also describes a general process of design, "Immersion -> Incubation -> Generation -> Evaluation," which also sounds right. Via elearningpost. By Stuart, elearningpost, July 27, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Student Journalists Are Suing Harvard
This isn't about e-learning but it is an indication of the increased empowerment of students that comes hand in hand with greater connectivity. "Student journalists for The Harvard Crimson newspaper sued Harvard University yesterday to gain access to campus police records, arguing that since Harvard police officers have statewide arrest powers, they should be bound by state open-record laws." I have a fondness in my heart for lawsuits filed by student groups. By Jenna Russell, Boston Globe, July 30, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Another site featuring do-it-yourself digital rights (now if only there were a system that let them all work together, right Rod?). "RedPaper is the worlds only collaborative Newspaper. With RedPaper any one can be a Reporter, sell their articles, have a column and read stories submitted by other Reporters from around the world." More and more we drift toward the world of what must be in digital rights management. By Various Authors, July, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Report from SPARC/ACRL Forum at ALA/CLA Annual Conference, June 21, 2003
If you are thinking about how to convert your campus to open access publication (and you are, right?) then this page will be useful. Taken from last month's SPARC/ACRL Forum at the ALA/CLA Annual Conference, this document summarizes four 'best practices' documents for campus advocacy. Giving examples, meeting professor needs, and staging multiple events are among the strategies suggested by he authors. By Various Authors, SPARC, July, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Superb Response to Previous Posting by Roy W. Smolens Jr.
This rich post is offered as a response to Patrict Dunn's article, "National culture and philosophies of learning", covered here a few days ago, and addresses the oversimplifications in that article. According to the author, who presents this case in detail, there are, in addition to cultural differences, "three antecedent independent variables within organisational and national level factors... (1) nature of eLearning technology, (2) prior knowledge of organisations and countries about eLearning and its antecedents, and (3) the cultural distance between organisations." By Roy W. Smolens Jr., Viral-learning.net, July 30, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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