D5.5 Report on the Advantages and Issues Associated with the Large-Scale Implementation of Selected Standards
The aim of deliverable D5.5 is to report on the work related to the implementation of standards and specifications carried out by content providers as part of the ASPECT project. The aim of this deliverable, however, is not simply to detail what was done during the project; its primary goal is to report on experiences and issues as they relate to standards and specifications recommended by work packages 2 and 3, as well as issues related to standardization as such and the large-scale implementation of standards and specifications.
The main part of the report covers a number of standards and specifications around which ASPECT partners have aimed to develop best practices and the issues raised by content providers trying to implement these standards and specifications. Key specifications covered are OAI-PMH, IEEE LOM, ADL SCORM, IMS Common Cartridge, IMS LODE ILOX and IMS QTI. The LRE Metadata Application Profile version 4.X (http://lre.eun.org/node/6) is also discussed as a profile of IMS LODE ILOX.
As this report will make clear, potential benefits or functionalities of a given specification or standard are not the only factors to consider. A series of other factors play important roles, such as: costs; organizational issues; different needs of end users; the maturity of the standard in question and the level of support required from experts; and documentation and validation services.
For organizations that start the process from scratch, being able to implement a selection of best-practice guidelines and standards may be of enormous benefit. A number of organizations, however, are in a very different situation in that they already have a more or less well-developed system and changing components in these systems can be costly. Many organizations wishing to implement ASPECT best practices, therefore, will most likely need to simultaneously change many aspects of their systems. They will be faced with changing how they evaluate and select specifications as well as the way they proceed with evaluating and selecting – and perhaps even developing – new tools to work with those specifications. The processes for developing and providing training and support to users and in setting up new workflows will also be subject to changes. In such circumstances, organizations will inevitably have to establish new workflows.
Available tools present another set of issues. A number of tools are not compliant with the specifications in question. This is particularly the case in connection with new specifications such as the IMS Common Cartridge specification. Tool compliance is uneven even for old specifications like ADL SCORM. Other tools do not provide the functionality required by content producers. The availability of standards compliant tools and validation tools, therefore, are serious issues in connection with emerging standards.
Finally, a number of content providers also see it as an issue that some specifications include profiles of other specifications that cover only parts of the original specification. This is the case in connection with the IMS Common Cartridge specification that includes a profile of the QTI 1.2 specification that is restricted to a subset of the full QTI specification.
As this deliverable makes clear, the ASPECT project, by gathering valuable input from both content providers and experts involved in standardization bodies, has functioned as a mechanism to expose and resolve some previously unidentified problem areas.