Inviting ourselves to the table: The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative

I learned just today about The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative. This initiative, sponsored by the Association of Educational Publishers and Creative Commons, aims to develop a common metadata framework for describing learning resources on the web. At LEARN NC, we have applied domain-specific metadata to our learning resources for years. Our resources are aligned to curricular objectives and searchable by grade level and subject area, among other characteristics. I would say we’re ahead of the curve on this one.

But I didn’t learn about LMRI until today. I consider myself fairly tapped into what’s happening in libraries, especially in school libraries, and I feel like this should have been on my radar before. When I explored the LRMI site I found that while they have solicited input from teachers and school librarians, the connection between this work and the work of school librarians, which seems so obvious to me, is not present in their framework.

I fault no one involved with the LMRI for this. To myself and other trained school librarians, the notion that making educational resources more discoverable would affect our work perhaps more than that of anyone else in a school might be obvious. But so many people don’t know what we do, that I’m not surprised or even chagrined that we have to make the connection ourselves.

But we have to make the connection. We can’t wait for somebody else to do it. We can’t sit around waiting for others to invite us to these conversations about open educational resources and how to make them easy to find and to use. It is our job to make this happen and we have to go out there and do it.

While I’m not situated in a K-12 school, I consider myself to be the librarian of a vast digital professional collection, and I think the LMRI, if adoption is widespread, will necessarily influence my work and how my colleagues and I ensure the findability and usability of LEARN NC’s resources. I’m going to keep a close eye on this initiative, and I would encourage all librarians, but especially those in school and academic libraries, to pay attention to it as well – and to look for opportunities to add our voices to the conversation.

What do you think about the LMRI? Is it an exciting development? What pitfalls might be involved? I myself am cautiously optimistic about the whole thing.