Applying Semantic Web Technologies to the Meta-description of Medical Education Resources

Evangelia Mitsopoulou, St. George's University of London
Panagiotis Bamidis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Daniela Giordano, Universita di Catania
Stefan Dietze, The Open University
Charalampos Bratsas, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Background: The principles behind the semantic web allow data to be structured and linked in such a way that information from multiple sources can be easily interpreted. Given the increasing importance of sharing resources, semantic web standards facilitate the efficient interchange of resources across different platforms.

Summary of work: The mEducator project was established in 2008 to explore existing standards for describing medical education content. Part of this work was the proposal of a draft metadata schema to describe a diverse range of medical resources. This was implemented in RDF (Resource Description Framework), a technology which represents data according to the ideas of the semantic web. This schema reuses existing standards (Dublin Core, IEEE LOM, Healthcare LOM) and is supplemented with additional information where necessary. Some innovations of it include the capture of repurposing histories, the use of FOAF profiles instead of vCards, and the proposal of new controlled vocabularies describing pedagogical information.

Results: An RDF metadata schema has been created along with controlled vocabularies. Additionally an RDF Instance file has been created demonstrating how the schema can be implemented. Conclusion Using a tailored, standardised metadata schema and semantic web technologies to describe resources can significantly enhance interoperability and act as a catalyst to foster more sharing across institutions, in turn leading to an enriched curriculum.