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From Conal Tuohy <>
Subject RE: [RT] Improved navigation of learning objects
Date Tue, 14 Oct 2003 18:42:17 GMT
Stefano wrote:

> "automatic harvesting" scares the crap out of me, Conal.

This is conceptually no different to harvesting JavaDoc tags from Java

> I agree that there must be some kind of automatism going on, but the
> topic creation is a human task and programs would do a
> terrible job at
> doing this.

The example I gave assumed precisely that a human editor had written a
namespace topic; the harvester was simply linking a document (which
mentioned that namespace) to that existing topic. So this is automatic
creation of associations or links, rather than topics.

But topics can also be safely created automatically in some cases: where
good structured metadata exists we can confidently base topics on it. e.g.
topics can usefully be automatically harvested from Java classes that
implement particular interfaces (generators, transformers, etc).

> but anyway, we decided to do a first step with handwritten
> linkmaps. we
> can move incrementally from there on.

Yes that's true.

What I particularly like about TM is that they invert the usual relationship
of resources to metadata - in a TM the topics are central and the resources
are attached to them. So the key activity is to identify the high-level
topics (the ontology) and then build a harvester to link your resources to
the topics in the ontology. This linking can be done by recognising patterns
in the resources (e.g. a reference to a namespace), or, better, by
recognising explicit metadata (e.g. JavaDoc).



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