When you share OER, you want others to be able to find it when they are searching for specific OER. To enhance that search, you will want to classify, or “tag” your OER content.
Tags enable the classification and organization of content. Classification systems can either be created by individual users tagging their content as they see fit (bottom up), or as a set of pre-defined keywords decided upon in advance by site administrators (top down).
Tagging items is one of the ways to become an active contributor in the open source movement, which is defined as a distributed, participatory, and collaborative environment. When you create tags, you are sharing the way you classify items, which can be useful to others who are searching for the items.
Here’s one example of how tagging can help you as an educator or learner:
One person using a lesson plan about the Spanish influenza of 1918 might assign a tag such as flu, while another might assign a tag such as pandemic. Once assigned by users, tags are tied to the given resource, and become a searchable way to find that resource as well as other resources that are tagged or associated with the same labels.
These new tags provide additional context for the item and help make it more findable. Your perspectives give others a new lens into seeing the content from a different angle and in turn, may give new ideas on how to use (or re-use) it.
The Power of Metadata
We explored the concept of OER metadata in the Creating, Licensing, and Publishing OER course. Remember, metadata are data that provide information about other data. When you share OER through any of the repositories, you will be asked to provide information such as the title, author name, type of material, keywords, and tags. This metadata becomes associated with that material, and facilitates the search process.
Additionally, when you provide information about others’ OER by rating, reviewing, and tagging the material, you are providing metadata that becomes attached to that OER.
The metadata you provide in your own OER as well as the information you provide by tagging, rating, and reviewing of others’ OER enriches the content by giving descriptive information that assists in searching and re-use of the materials.
OER Commons has an excellent overview of material types:
Many disciplines have established taxonomies that can guide you in describing and tagging your OER content. It is highly recommended that you work with the library staff at your institution to determine the best way to tag the OER that you share.
More to Explore
5 Tips for Writing Effective Meta Descriptions (and why they matter) by Claire Atwell
Although written from a search engine optimization perspective, these tips provide simple guidance on describing any type of content that will be accessible online.
Usability of Metadata Standards for Open Educational Resources
This white paper explores the importance of establishing metadata standards for OER, and the role that metadata plays in evaluating the quality of OER.
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