Dedicated to the research, development, implementation, and standardization of metadata for educational and research mathematics.

News AMS Panel discussion: Wednesday, January 19. Ballroom Balcony A, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. 2:15 - 5:15. Immediately followed by American Mathematics Metadata Task Force Meeting.


Panel Discussion and Task Force Meeting set for Jan 19
The metadata task force will meet directly following the panel discussion entitled "Putting and Finding Mathematics on the Web" that will take place on Wednesday, January 19, in Ballroom Balcony A, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Washington DC. The panel discussion starts at 2:15 and ends at 5:15. The Task Force will meet following the panel session.

Link with IMU Established
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The technical advisory board of the Committee on Electronic Information and Communication (CEIC) of the International Mathematical Union (IMU) established a mathematics metadata task force at their meeting in Berkeley, California, on December 5, 1999. This prompted us to change our name from the mathematics metadata working group to the American Mathematics Metadata Task Force to emphasize the international nature of metadata and the localized nature of some of our work. Please see the IMMTF home page for more details.

Level II Taxonomy to be expanded before Math meetings in Washington.
The MAA has agreed to help support five mathematicians to work on extending the work done by ENC on Level II. A large group will meet on the evening of Saturday, January 15, and continue to work all day on Sunday, January 16. A smaller contingent will continue to work on Monday, January 17 and the results will be posted to the Web on Tuesday, January 18.

Records transferred from ENC and Math Forum to SMETE
NEEDS has successfully transferred a number of records and their metadata from both the Math Forum and ENC to the mathematics portion of the SMETE portal. We look forward to increased interoperability among these digital libraries.

LOM moving rapidly towards next level of balloting
Version 3.8 of LOM is being edited with the intention of sending it forward to the larger IEEE balloting procedure. Until now, the working document has only been balloted within the working group (P1484.12). Although some issues remain, they are minor in the general scheme of things and indicate that there is a high level of agreement and buy-in on the the document among working group members. The next level of balloting is designed to balance input from developers, users, and other interested parties and represents significant progress in the process of becoming an IEEE standard.


The AMMTF is developing standards based on the structured metadata standards being produced by the IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee and the IMS project. Part of our work involves identifying best practice lists and insuring that the developing standards accommodate ../mathematics. The more time consuming part has been developing taxonomies that can be used to describe school and college ../mathematics. We also have been working closely with several digital libraries. Future work includes assisting in the implementation of ../mathematics metadata and creating means to maintain, publicize, and update our work, as well as coordinating with international efforts.


Structured Metadata.

The AMMTF is developing metadata based on IEEE Learning Object Metadata (LOM) and embodied in IMS metadata. The latest releases of these documents are LOM Working Document 3 and IMS Specifications Version 1. LOM/IMS metadata is structured metadata. Please refer to the IMS Best Practices document, A Mathematician's Guide to IMS Metadata, and to a paper on Pedagogic Metadata for further explanation. The LOM/IMS specifications consist of a base scheme that defines a large but general set of elements that can be used to describe a learning object. In some cases, the vocabulary allowed is restricted; in other cases, the vocabulary refers to a "best practice". The base scheme can also be extended to accommodate new elements. Although LOM/IMS give criteria for testing conformance to their standards, they do not prescribe specific ways of encoding metadata records. These are called bindings. The IMS Specification gives an XML binding and it is anticipated that RDF bindings will appear in the future.


The work of AMMTF can be categorized as follows: Defining or identifying "best practice" lists to use for existing LOM/IMS elements. Possibly defining extensions needed for ../mathematical resources. At this point in time the route being taken is to provide input to the organizations developing the standards since they are seeking feedback from communities of practice such as ours. Creating taxonomies (subject classifications) for pre-professional ../mathematics. This only fills one slot in LOM/IMS metadata but may well require more effort and maintenance than all the other slots combined. Assisting in the concrete implementation and application of 1 - 3. Putting into place mechanisms for maintaining, publicizing, and updating the work done in 1 - 3. Much of this work is just starting. The following outlines what has been done so far.

Best Practice Lists and Extensions

The AMMTF started with the concrete case of records in the SMETE digital library being developed at Berkeley. The SMETE project stores many of the LOM elements and has a Web-based interface for creating records. This interface was originally designed for engineering, so the AMMTF has identified extensions or changes needed to accommodate ../mathematics. These, as well as suggestions forwarded to the IEEE Learning Technology Task Force, are documented in the documents section of this site.


The AMMTF has divided ../mathematics into three levels. Level I can be described as pre-variable ../mathematics and roughly encompasses subjects taught in grades K - 8 in the American school system. Level II might be described as pre-proof-oriented ../mathematics and encompasses subjects taught in high school and the first two years of college. Level III is professional ../mathematics, including that taught to undergraduate ../mathematics majors. One reason for creating this trichotomy is to accommodate differences in meanings for the same terms. Another reason is that the pedagogic foci of these three levels are different. We feel that the division into three levels is the minimal division that will work. Level III will be handled by MSC, which has the simple structure of a depth-two tree. The structures proposed for Levels I and II are more complex and are complicated by the fact that they must accommodate not only the internal logical structure of ../mathematical subjects but also treat semantics derived from cultural and natural language sources. These taxonomies consist of of terms (controlled vocabulary) and relations among the terms. The relations are broadening, narrowing, similarity, and attribute. There is no transitivity, similarity is one-sided (not symmetric), and attributes are used as a means to limit the size and granularity of the taxonomies while sill allowing some highly constraining search strings to be constructed. Details are given in the document Taxonomies for School and College Mathematics. Examples can be seen in the Level I and Level II draft taxonomies.

Work with Digital Libraries

The AMMTF includes the directors of the Math Forum, ENC, and SMETE. As a result of the AMMTF work, records from the Math Forum and ENC have been successfully transferred to SMETE. The next cooperative project will move towards federated searching.


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