Building rich, semantic descriptions of learning activities to facilitate reuse in digital libraries

  • Mark Gahegan
  • Ritesh Agrawal
  • Tawan Banchuen
  • David DiBiase


This paper describes efforts to extend educational descriptions of learning objects to enable semantic search for suitable resources held within digital libraries and cyberinfrastructure, and describes some further advantages that accrue from the use of formal description languages (ontologies) to describe both pedagogy and domain content. These advantages include: semantic browsing and visualization of learning object contents, advanced search capabilities linking to several different online collections, easy extension of learning objects with external content added by learners and educators, and utilization of the many rich models of education and educational domains now available as ontologies. As well as conceptual justifications and descriptions of our work, we provide examples throughout to concretize the ideas presented, using learning objects developed for college-level education in geography and the geosciences. We conclude with some thoughts on the further possibilities that arise from the application of detailed semantics, and associated reasoning, in the pursuit of genuinely reusable educational content that integrates more closely with community research activities such as exemplified by e-science.


Digital Library Educational Content Semantic Search Open Geospatial Consortium Ontological Resource 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Gahegan
    • 1
  • Ritesh Agrawal
    • 1
  • Tawan Banchuen
    • 1
  • David DiBiase
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.GeoVISTA Center, Department of GeographyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Dutton e-Education InstituteThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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