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Content archived on 2024-05-27

The European Schools Treasury Browser


To build a Web educational resource Metadata Networking infrastructure for schools in Europe, to link together existing national
repositories, encourage new publication, and provide a reliable level of quality and structure. To add value to these systems by an interoperable layer to help teachers and students locate resources Europe-wide through a Schoolnet Information Space with rules to facilitate location of relevant resources. The user wants access to all data repositories, whatever indexing method is used. The user should only obtain all the most relevant resources for his own information needs. This rich information space can become a vast source of educational material classified according to subject and resource type for use by teachers in preparing e-lessons, and by students for reference and research, or guidelines and best practice. To reduce heterogeneity by harmonisation and measures for multilinguality.

Work description:
Architecture Elements: The key to success will be the ease of use of tools for publishing resources in the information space and for locating relevant information in that space. It is paramount that the development take into account existing national systems and technical infrastructures available within the schools. It is therefore assumed that material is published at the schools or through national or regional repositories. It is the metadata describing the resources, and the multilingual subject classification and thesaurus that underlie the proposed European Treasury Browser system. At the technical level the planned components are as follows.
1) A Web enabled multilingual educational subject classification and thesaurus to aid accessing and providing content.
2) An intelligent data-entry system for the end-user including a metadata authoring tool with gateways to existing metadata systems, and a quality assurance procedure
3) A dynamic metadata network to allow the flow of information across the nternet.
4) A metadata registry with an intuitive search interface (client).
5) A full set of measures of harmonisation and normalisation addressing different layers:
1) A harmonisation policy based on the surveys and discussed in the Ministries of Education fora.
2) A set of tools to HELP UPGRADE systems, so that they start to be searchable under the same fields, students and teachers start to use the same classifications, etc. Agreed sets of metadata according to application, common vocabularies, thesari.
3) To guarantee the exchange of data (projects, products, best practice) based on quality selection criteria and through a distributed system, whereby it is possible for each country and project, to contribute to a general design, still retaining the general search function.
4) To develop a number of general horizontal tools (thesaurus, etc.). Goals of supporting multi-linguality and reducing heterogeneity.

Metadata toolkit:
M 6: Phase 1 of the metadata platform.
M 14: Metadata encoder and parser tools,
M 24: Integration metadata tools with transport layers,5LM 30: Updated version of system.

Metadata Networking Infrastructure:
M 6: Phase 1 of the platform. Based on existing resources.
M 18: The full tree will be operational.
Month 24: The result of a full-scale evaluation.
M 30: Updated version of system. Metadata Registry, Search Client: + 1 y Phase 1 software Operational, M 18 Phase 2 software.
THESAURUSETB has has produces a multilingual thesaurus in 9 languages (Danish, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish and Swedish). It guarantees the effective control of the indexing language, provides a systematic display of the descriptors and allows indexing and searching by combining several descriptors. Major criteria orienting decisions for descriptors of the thesaurus were:
· Equal status of all the linguistic
· European conceptual approach. The terminology is supposed to reflect a European rather than a national or local approach
· Importance of combining deductive and inductive approaches in establishing the terminology
· Necessity of creating a friendly documentary tool It can be downloaded at: ETB DATA MODEL The ETB datamodel is combined from two sets of elements, both dealing with different levels to identify the entire collection of resources:
·ETB Metadata Element set (ETB MES) on resource level and
·Collection Level Descriptors (CLD). With both, there are also six lists of controlled vocabularies:
·ETB User Level, used with Audience
·ETB Quality Selection Policy Vocabulary, used with Quality Selection Policy
·ETB Type Vocabulary, used with Type
·Rights Management, used with Rights Management
·IMS Aggregation Level, used with Aggregation Level
·GEM Pedagogical Situation, used with Learning Situation The ETB MES deals with individual resource level.

It includes 6 mandatory elements: Title, Description, Language of resource, Identifier, Subject ETB Thesaurus, Audience. In case the six mandatory elements are not used, a mapping between the local metadata schema and the ETB schema is essential for the network to operate smoothly. There are 12 mandatory elements for CLD. This description of the repository is produced only once and it serves as an identity card or catalogue for the collection that a repository holds. NNTP NETWORK The essential feature of the metadata transport network is to link up repositories of metadata across Europe, and provide a flow of metadata between these. The transport protocol chosen is the Internet standard Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP). NNTP is a well-defined and well-established protocol with many implementations on both the client and the server side. A major advantage of NNTP is its robustness in the delivery of messages across a network of servers CENTRAL REPOSITORY (CR) CR is the archive store of all ETB metadata records submitted anywhere on the network. This system will be the most heavily used feature of ETB by students, teachers and the general public. No records are submitted through the CR, as all moderation of resource metadata takes place at local repositories. The two main functions of the CR are: Thesaurus Management and Search Interface. NATIVE REPOSITORY A native repository implementing the recommendations of ETB has been developed.

The ETB native repository (ENR) serves at least two purposes:
-A public front end allowing teachers to submit resources for moderation by EUN before submission to the ETB network.
-A free software solution to any organisation wishing to join the network and set up a local repository “node”, i.e. start their own educational repository.
The ENR is based on open source software, i.e. a MYSQL relational database, an APACHE web server and a dynamic web information system toolbox based on GIST. ETB LIGHT The ETB light allows simple XML posting and reading, and it will be form based, what means that national repositories will not have to install anything in their server, and receive and send resources from/to the ETB network via the EUN server. This was developed due to the feedback from some repositories that might want, in the beginning, and to analyze the ETB network possibilities, not to installed any extra software in their own platform, or have to develop anything or use concrete formats.

QUALITY OF RESOURCES Quality of resources is a key factor in ETB. There are recommendations on quality assurance procedures dealing with the Quality Assurance of the project. These recommendations are aiming at two different groups: there are guidelines on quality processes and recommendations for
(1) teachers and
(2) repository managers.

METADATA AUTHORING TOOLKIT (MAT) The MAT supports reading and writing metadata objects in RDF, as HTML form and as human readable HTML format, using the simple and unqualified Dublin Core element set. The software is capable of handling XML and a special ``CGI encoding''. REPOSITORY INTEGRATION TOOLKIT (RIT) The purpose of the RIT is to provide a flexible set of software modules for integrating existing database driven repositories to the network. The extent of integration with local tools and working procedures is determined locally. The RIT is Perl based, and thus a necessary prerequisite is knowledge of this programming language.

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Participants (11)