Schools Online Thesaurus

Semantic web technologies are one solution to linking education data in Australia

Problem

The Australian education sector is characterized by many disparate systems in different education jurisdictions. Semantic web technologies are one solution to linking education data in Australia.

There is a rapidly expanding amount of online teaching materials available to schools. New materials are being published at an amazing rate, with a wide variation in educational quality and usefulness. Indeed, teachers are often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of resources. They need help in identifying high quality resources most relevant to their needs. Digital resources are often described using terms different from those used in the school curriculum.

Measures

Education Services Australia provides Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT) as linked open data. ScOT and agreed standards for digital resources, technical infrastructure, metadata and rights management support a national operating environment for the digital resources and infrastructure.
As part of this infrastructure, the National Digital Learning Resources Network contains over 12,000 digital resources that are free for use in all Australian schools. The resources are made available to teachers through State and Territory portals or Scootle and to pre-service teachers through eContent.

Results

The Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT) provides a controlled vocabulary of terms used in Australian and New Zealand schools. It encompasses all subject areas as well as terms describing educational and administrative processes. The thesaurus links non-preferred terms to curriculum terms. It also relates terms in a browsable structure. These features make ScOT an ideal vocabulary to integrate into search mechanisms of learning management systems. Searching via ScOT terms enables clusters of related resources to be identified within vast pools of content. The thesaurus can be used as a tool to zoom in on items of interest.