World’s Leading Search Engines Recognize LRMI as Education Metadata Standard

WILMINGTON, DE, April 9, 2013 The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) specification for tagging educational content has been adopted by Schema.org, the consortia formed by Microsoft Bing, Google, Yahoo! and Yandex to collect and document web microdata standards to improve search results. Anyone who publishes or curates educational content can now use LRMI markup to provide rich, education-specific metadata about their resources with the confidence that this metadata will be recognized by major search engines.

The LRMI is co-led by the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) and Creative Commons (CC) and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The project has developed a standard metadata framework for tagging learning resources online and has been working to encourage adoption of this framework among the educational resource community. As search engines begin using the LRMI specification and as a critical mass of educational content is tagged in a consistent manner, filtering this content will become substantially easier, allowing educators, students, and others to find the exact resources they need at the precise moment they need them.

April 2012 surveys of both educators and educational content providers showed similar results: an overwhelming need from both end-users and publishers for improved discoverability of Internet resources. An October awareness campaign titled Easy Access and Search for Education (EASE), which invited educators to describe their search frustrations and needs, drew dozens of responses echoing those sentiments.

The LRMI answers those needs with a lightweight tagging schema that standardizes the way content publishers describe the education-specific characteristics of their resources—characteristics such as intended end user, intended age range, and alignment to learning objectives such as those outlined by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

“The education community is eager to realize the long-promised benefits of content aligned to specific standards, as well as the added advantage of making that alignment information available as metadata,” said Dr. Cable Green, Director of Global Education at Creative Commons. “Once fully implemented, the LRMI will result in targeted, useful searches and responsive learner-driven environments—made possible by a common metadata language.”

While Schema.org adoption marks a major milestone for the project, LRMI leaders continue work on other important goals—educating learning resource providers about the LRMI and supporting implementation efforts.

“During Phase I of the project we worked diligently with content publishers and curators and with educators to ensure the LRMI specification is both comprehensive in nature and representative of the needs of all stakeholders,” said Dave Gladney, LRMI Project Manager at AEP. “During Phase II, the implementation phase, we encouraged learning resource providers of all types to tag their content using LRMI markup. As we move toward Phase III in 2013 with the news of official Schema.org recognition, we’ll look forward to creating an ecosystem of support around LRMI and ensuring its long-term sustainability.”

To view the education-specific properties proposed by the LRMI project, visit lrmi.net/the-specification. To view the properties within the context of the entire Schema.org hierarchy, visit schema.org/CreativeWork. For general information on the LRMI, please visit lrmi.net.