Overview of the BEN Project

Project Goal

To collect decentralized Metadata for Learning Objects, located at various collections, in a central “portal” database.

How BEN Works

There are three components of the project's goal:

  1. Decentralized Metadata in various collections (i.e. your collection)
  2. A central portal database (BEN Portal) searchable and browseable by end-users
  3. Data collection – by means of a process called Harvesting that gathers decentralzed Metadata into the central portal (this needs to be set up for each collection)

Getting Set-up on BEN

The BEN Portal currently exists at http://www.biosciednet.org. If you want your existing collection or would like to set-up a collection to be harvested by the BEN Portal, the following pages will assist you.

First let's look at how Metadata Harvesting takes place:

  1. The BEN Portal will send out a request to your collection for the metadata
  2. You collection will generate and send the required Metadata back to the BEN Portal
  3. The BEN Portal will consume your Metadata and store it in its central database

How does the BEN Portal know how your Metadata is structured so that it can store it appropriately? How can we ensure the quality of Metadata provided by all different collections?

The answers to these questions led to the following requirements for the Metadata you provide to the BEN Portal:

BEN Compatible Metadata Requirements

  • Portal and Collections must agree upon the Metadata format. (i.e. the BEN Metadata Specification (Learn more about the BEN LOM))
  • Collections must provide Metadata that adheres to Portal's specifications to ensure it is of sufficient quality, includes all required fields, etc.
  • Portal and Collections must agree upon a protocol (communication procedure), (i.e., the Protocol for Metadata Harvesting – OAI PMH)

Next Steps

Now you have to decide how you want provide BEN LOM compatible Metadata to the BEN Portal in an OAI PMH XML format. You also need to make sure that the Metadata you provide for each learning object includes all fields that are required by the BEN LOM.

On the following pages we'll help point you in the right direction and provide you with some key resources to facilitate your effort.

Your Options