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Accessibility (310)
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Content (283)
Metadata (195)
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CETIS Reference

This reference is provided by CETIS to help people in the UK HE & FE community to find out about terms used in the field of learning technology standards.

This resource does not claim to hold the definitive, ‘official’ usage of terms: this is a new field, and new terms are being coined, and old terms redefined. What we provide here is a way for practitioners to see how others in the sector are using a term.

Why do some terms have more than one entry?
Some terms are used in different ways – for example, different specification bodies or communities of practice may each have their own take on how a term should be used.

Who contributes the entries?
Members of the CETIS special interest groups (SIGs) contribute definitions. SIG members are mostly from the UK’s Higher and Further Education communities.

How do I add a new term?
You must be a member of a CETIS Special Interest Group to contribute a new entry. The SIG coordinator will provide you with a user name and password.

What if I disagree with an entry?
Anyone can add an annotation to an entry, which other visitors to the site can then view and comment upon. We actively encourage anyone with an opinion on a term to make a comment and contribute to the community’s understanding.



  • Accessibility for Learner Information Profile The IMS AccLIP Specification provides a means of describing preferences so that learners can interact with an e-learning system regardless of disability, hardware or environment.

  • AICC Aviation Industry CBT (Computer-Based Training) Committee

  • annotea External remarks that can be attached to (a selected part of) a document without actually needing to touch the document.

  • application profile A set of elements with associated descriptions of usage in a particular context.

  • application profile(2) "Schemas which consist of data elements drawn from one or more namespaces..."

  • application profile(3) Namespaces declare, profiles reuse.

  • ARIADNE Association of Remote Instructional Authoring and Distribution Networks for Europe

  • Best Practice and Implementation guide One of a set of three documents that make up each of the IMS specifications.

  • binding "The association of a metadata assertion or statement with a particular suntactic encoding."

  • Binding document One of a set of three documents that make up each of the IMS specifications.

  • BSI British Standards Institute

  • caching The copying of data from external sources or previous operations.

  • CAI Computer-Assisted Instruction

  • cardinality "Specification of how many times a metadata element can or must appear in a metadata description."

  • CBT Computer-Based Training

  • CETIS Centre For Educational Technology Interoperability Standards

  • CMI Computer Managed Instruction

  • compliance The ability to operate in a way defined by a standard

  • conformance The ability to operate in a way defined by a specification

  • content package IMS Content Packaging is a specification for sending learning resources (or learning objects) from one program to another, facilitating easier delivery, reuse and sharing of materials.

  • controlled vocabulary Collection of controlled terms.

  • controlled vocabulary(2) "a formally maintained list of terms intended to provide values for metadata elements."

  • cross walk A mapping from the elements of one namespace to the elements of another namespace.

  • datatype "A property of distinct values, indicating common features of those values and operations on those values."

  • DCMES Dublin Core Metadata Element Set

  • DCMI Dublin Core Metadata Initiative

  • DOM Document Object Model

  • educational object a self-contained unit

  • element "a formally defined attribute or category of description in a metadata set."

  • element refinement A type of Dublin Core qualifier that is recommended for use with the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set.

  • EML Educational Modelling Language

  • encoding scheme A type of Dublin Core qualifier that is recommended for use with the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set.

  • Enterprise IMS Enterprise is a specification for transferring data about people and groups.

  • extensible IMS and IEEE use this word in the context of metadata, to describe an element that may contain sub-elements.

  • federated search A search agent that enables the user to search multiple sources at once and receive the search results on one list

  • fine granularity a large number of relatively small basic objects

  • granularity The size and level of complexity of a resource.

  • granule The smallest logical components into which educational materials can be divided.

  • Harvesting Automated gathering of data from external sources.

  • IEEE LTSC Learning Technology Standards Committee of IEEE

  • IEEE LTSC LOM WG The working group of the Learning Technology Standards Committee of IEEE concerned with learning objects and metadata

  • IMS Global Learning Consortium An organisation that produces specifications.

  • Information Model One of a set of three documents that make up each of the IMS specifications.

  • interoperability The ability of systems and data to work seamlessly together.

  • ISO International Standards Organisation

  • JISC The Joint Information Systems Committee

  • LangString "A datatype that represents one or more character strings. A LangString value may include multiple semantically equivalent character strings, such as translations or alternative descriptions. "

  • LCMS Learning Content Management System

  • Learning Design IMS Learning Design is a specification used to describe learning scenarios. It allows these scenarios to be presented to learners online, and enables them to be shared between systems.

  • learning object An object which has a specified educational purpose or context.

  • learning object (2) "...a learning object is defined as any entity, digital or non-digital, that may be used for learning, education or training."

  • learning resource A resource that has a specified educational purpose or context.

  • LIP The IMS Learner Information Package (LIP) is a specification for a standard means of recording information about learners.

  • literal "any value other than a URI, such as a name or subject."

  • LOM This standard specifies the syntax and semantics of Learning Object Metadata, defined as the attributes required to fully/adequately describe a Learning Object.

  • metadata Data that describes other data.

  • metadata architecture "a coherent collection of enabling technologies, element sets, and standards of practice that collectively support the creation, management and exchange of interoperable metadata."

  • metadata element An individual part of a metadata structure.

  • metadata registry A place to access metadata schema information.

  • metadata schema A description of the structure given to a set of metadata elements.

  • metadata scheme A description of the structure given to a set of metadata elements.

  • metadata(2) data about data

  • metametadata Data about a metadata record

  • namespace A scoping device used for uniquely identifying registered entities.

  • namespace declaration "a convention for declaring a namespace in XML syntax that includes the URI for the namespace and specifies a colon-delimited prefix token that is prepended to all terms from that namespace used within the scope of the declaration."

  • namespace schema An equivalent of namespace declaration, the namespace schema declares the scope and bounds of a particular vocabulary.

  • namespace(2) "a formally managed vocabulary with designated bounds."

  • namespace(3) Elements sets maintained as stable points of reference.

  • OKI Open Knowledge Initiative

  • ontology(1) An explicitly specified conceptualisation of part of the world.

  • ontology(2) A set of concepts making up a known universe.

  • ontology(3) A specification of a conceptualization.

  • ontology(4) a formal description of objects and their relationships.

  • precision and recall These two terms are used to describe the accuracy of resource retrieval.

  • predicate "a verb phrase characterizing the relationship between the Subject and Object"

  • PURL Persistent Uniform Resource Locator

  • QTI IMS Question and Test Interoperability is designed to make it easier to transfer information such as questions, tests and results between different software applications.

  • qualifiers Used to describe resources in more detail than the Dublin Core Element Set (DCMES) allows when used alone.

  • RDF Resource Description Framework

  • RDF schema RDF schemas have a "primarily semantic interpretation"

  • Relevance How suitable a resource might be to an individual's needs.

  • schema "sets of statements expressed in a data definition language."

  • schema(2) A set of metadata elements representing the attributes of a resource.

  • schema(3) "a formal grammar for a metadata element set expressed in a formal schema language..."

  • SCORM Sharable Content Object Reference Model provides a technical architecture for learning objects to be easily shared across multiple learning delivery environments

  • Semantic web The Semantic Web is a concept of the Web where machines are able to understand and interpret web resources for people.

  • semantics The meanings of words

  • simple sequencing IMS Simple Sequencing is a specification used to describe navigation paths through a collection of learning activities.

  • smallest permitted maximum "For implementation-defined values, the smallest permitted maximum value."

  • SMIL Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (pronounced "smile")

  • SOAP Simple Object Access Protocol

  • specification A candidate for becoming a standard

  • standard A technology, format or method ratified by a respected authority

  • sub element An element which refines the definition of an existing element.

  • syntax machine readable language

  • taxonomy A subject scheme which organises knowledge into a hierarchy.

  • thesaurus(1) A controlled vocabulary, structured into a hierarchy.

  • thesaurus(2) Formally organised vocabulary of a controlled indexing language.

  • UDDI Universal Description, Discovery and Integration

  • UKOLN UKOLN is a national focus of expertise in digital information management, based at the University of Bath.

  • URI Uniform Resource Identifier

  • URI (2) Uniform Resource Identifier

  • URL Uniform Resource Locator.

  • URN Uniform Resource Name.

  • value set "a controlled set of terms from which a value for a metadata element is selected."

  • value space "The set of values for a given datatype (ISO/IEC 11404:1996)"

  • vocabulary A recommended list of appropriate values.

  • vocabulary(2) any collection of words, a terminology.

  • W3C World Wide Web Consortium

  • xml eXtensible Mark-up Language

  • XML namespace

  • XML schema "XML schemas are used for modeling XML documents..."

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