What is Learning Application Readiness (LAR)?

Learning Application Readiness (LAR) is an initiative of NSDL, designed to develop criteria and guidelines for improving the quality of resources and metadata in the National Science Digital Library. 


LAR refers to how closely educational resources, collections, and their related metadata are aligned to educational goals, curriculum, or professional development needs of users, and how readily those resources and collections can be embedded in tools and services that educators and students use (examples include: Science Literacy Maps, Curriculum Customization Service, content management or learning management systems), where the application uses a frameworks that characterizes resources by: subject, education level, resource type, audience, and educational standards (educational metadata).

Learn more about how LAR applies to NSDL's current work.



Guiding Principles for Resources

Guiding Principles for Metadata

  • Complete: title, description, URL, educational level, resource type, audience, language, rights, access rights, creation date, contributors/creators, language, mime type and, if appropriate, educational standards
  • Concise: free of self-promotion; describes purpose and content of resource for comprehension
  • Accurate: the metadata is correct content for the field


LAR Metadata Format

To emphasize and implement the LAR guiding principles, the LAR metadata format was developed in collaborationn with the NSDL NexGen partners. This means downstream users of LAR metadata can be assured of certain fields (e.g. education level, audience, resource type, language etc.) in order to make educational use decisions for their applications and communities of users.


Normalization and LAR Metadata

  • NSDL 'normalizes' some metadata fields to be more consistent across all collections. For example, the education level field may contain the values of '4th grade', 'Fourth Grade', 'Elementary 4'; NSDL changes these value to be 'Grade 4'. It providies consistency for searching, reading and consuming NSDL metadata in user interfaces and downstreams services.
  • As part of the normalization, NSDL indicates the LAR factor for each resource. There are 3 levels (fully ready, mostly ready and not ready). Fully ready resources encomplas LAR guiding principles for both metadata and resources. Mostly ready resources encompass most of the LAR principles for metadata and resources. Resources are not ready when the LAR principles are not followed.


Key Issues

  • By providing purposeful selection of resources with carefully crafted and consistent metadata, in support of improved and effective user experience, NSDL can strategically differentiate itself from other collection providers and search engines. 
  • The application of LAR metadata principles in metadata creation—use of educational fields that have controlled vocabularies and consistency in completing the educational metadata fields—would represent a substantial improvement to collections using NSDL_DC. Metadata description field should reference desired learning outcomes of resources described.
  • Further exploration is desirable for alternatives to education standards in the higher education communities. Developments in the Advanced Placement arena may be helpful in characterizing resources that overlap or transition from high school to undergraduate education levels. 
  • Enhancing existing metadata from legacy collections in NSDL will be through use of NSDL's annotations framework. Contact NSDL for more information.
  • NSDL’s partnerships with content and service providers such as the Learning Registry, publishers, and other educational service providers will continue to rely heavily on well-defined and high quality educational metadata. 

March 2012: 

With the help of the LAR working group and NSDL partners, a new LAR metadata framework is currently available. LAR controlled vocabularies, definitions, and best practices will be soon forthcoming. Please email nsdlsupport@nsdl.ucar.edu if you would like to know how to access current schemas.  

October 2011 - December 2012

The LAR working group and other NSDL partners contributed to the development of new policies and guidelines for NSDL collection building: 

NSDL Collection Policy

NSDL Collection Development Blueprint (Jan 1 2012) 

NSDL Resource Quality Checklist (Jan 1 2012)  (replaces the prior NSDL Resource Quality Guidelines of February 2010) 

NSDL Resource Metadata Rubric (Jan 1 2012)  (LAR metadata framework rubric)

NSDL Annotation Metadata Rubric (Jan 1 2012) 

NSDL Paradata Metadata Rubric (Jan 1 2012) 


September 2011

The second LAR workshop took place September 13-15 in Boulder, Colorado, to further define a LAR metadata framework. A small working group from the 2nd workshop helped define LAR metadata fields, provided recommendations for modifications to NSDL Collection Policy and Resource Quality Guidelines, and recommendations for a revised collection development blueprint. Participants included Marcia Mardis (chair) (iCPALMS Pathway), Ed Almasy (AMSER/Internet Scout Projects), Peter Pinch (Teachers' Domain), Kim Lightle (Middle School Portal Math & Science Pathways), Brian Ausland (Butte County CA Dept. of Ed/CADRE); and Joe Hobson (NavigationNorth/Butte County Dept of Ed), as well as NSDL participants including Kaye Howe, Susan Van Gundy, Eileen McIlvain, Laura Moin, Karon Kelly, Katy Ginger, John Weatherley, Holly Devaul. 

May 11-12, 2011: 

The first LAR workshop took place in Boulder, Colorado. Agenda and workshop materials are available on the LAR Workshop page. The workshop explored the issues of resource quality, metadata quality, and the development of a metadata framework applicable to Learning Application Readiness. 

Feb 9, 2011:

A presentation to NSDL Pathways projects PIs in February 2011 by Letha Goger and Katy Ginger (NSDL Technical Network Services)explained the collections assessment process undertaken in 2010 and the deaccessioning effort of 2009, which greatly reduced library records and refocused the library contents on resources suitable for STEM teaching and learning. The next step was to determine exactly what the collections in NSDL consisted of, and what metadata fields are in use. The process also yielded results on collection longevity, aging of resources and collections, and general collection growth.



Collection developers may contact NSDL for access to their own collection's assessment report. 

Presentations (2011)