Yes, results are finally in and I’m relieved to say that I’ve passed the first year! I could exit now with a graduate certificate, but I’m opting to carry on to the next year for the diploma, and then hopefully onto the final year for the full masters. That means that in September it’s going to start all over again, but hopefully this time with a bit more knowledge and experience under my belt.
Well, this blog has suffered a small lapse! What with starting my course in September, reading what felt like hundreds of books’ worth of materials and completing two 3000-word assignments, there hasn’t been a lot of time left over. However, with Christmas out of the way I’m now between semesters, so I finally have a bit more time for an update before the next one starts in February.
One thing that has become clear in the past few weeks’ study of metadata is that there is no corner of human knowledge too small to have a metadata schema or taxonomy associated with it. General schemas such as Dublin Core are a great starting point to the messy business of cataloguing and describing information or artefacts, and it was exactly these qualities which made it a very good introduction to the general concept on the course that I’m studying. Yet, sometimes you need to go deeper, which Dublin Core allows only to a limited degree. With the vast and diverse extent of knowledge which various institutions have available, all of which needs to be organised in some form or another, it’s no wonder that more specific schemas would be needed.
As a prelude to starting my course, I recently enrolled on a separate Information Science course with Coursera. They host MOOCs in a variety of subjects, all provided free by various universities around the world. There’s been a lot said about MOOCs, and depending on whom you believe they are either the future of learning or yet another sign pointing to the end of civilisation. Of course I’m biased, having just signed up to an online Masters, but I do think there is something to be said for online courses. The traditional attendance-based way of learning is of course very good but for those who can’t attend because of time pressures or just practicalities, the online mode provides a vital access point to education which they wouldn’t otherwise have.