DiscoverEd Metadata

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This document outlines the format in which ccLearn would like to receive syndication feeds for the data that will go into our OER database.

The data must be supplied in an Atom or RSS format. Both of these standards are in widespread use on the Internet for content syndication.

Presently, ccLearn is looking for the following data:

  • Link: Full URL of the referenced resource.
  • Title: A brief descriptive title for the resource.
  • Summary: A relatively short summary/synopsis of the resource.
  • License: This should be a URL to the license; e.g.,
  • Grade level (cc:gradelevel): What grade(s) or age-level(s) this material is suitable for.
  • Language (cc:lang): The language(s) of the referenced resource (not of your site).
  • Subject (cc:subject): The subject(s) of the resource; e.g., math.

CC-specific categories (tags/fields)

The CC Specific fields do not have native Atom or RSS element definitions. For these fields we suggest that they be embedded as category or tag specifications (<category> in Atom) with a specific prefix. These have the general format of:


For example, the <category> content for Language would become something like:


Examples for Grade level could be:


The Creative Commons-specific fields build upon existing category/tag support in feeds. Therefore any cc: field may be specified multiple times if needed. The fields we currently use for refining search results include:

  • Subject: cc:subject:
  • Grade level: cc:gradelevel:
  • Language: cc:lang:

Specifying Subject

The subject refers to the actual content in the resource; i.e., what is this resource about? For many resources, more than one subject will be necessary; in this case, specify multiple subject <category> elements. We ask that you try to limit the number of elements to only those subjects that are objectively reflective of the entire resource. If you want to include other types of categories (opinions, metrics, etc), please add those as normal (un-prefixed) <category> elements instead.

Specifying Grade level

The grade level should indicate all grade levels (student ages) for which the resource is deemed appropriate. Though we will accept any descriptions that seem appropriate to you, please consider using one of the following schemas:

  • primary, secondary, tertiary, adult;
  • K,1,2,3,...,20 (where the number refers to the actual grade-level).

You may include equivalent terms as well by specifying more than one cc:gradelevel <category>. For example, you might include a cc:gradelevel for 9, 10, and secondary.

Specifying Language

When specifying the language for a resource, the value should be specified as the ISO-639-1 code. For example, en for English. When specifying a national dialect, the IS-3166 alpha-2 code should be appended. For example, to distinguish English (United States) from English (United Kindgom), the language would be specified as en-US and en-GB, respectively.

In general, we are expecting that most resources will consist of a single language, but if more than one language is present, provide a cc:lang <category> for each.

Embedding license data

Since the licensing of a resource is expected to be conveyed via URL, we can leverage the Atom <link> element. However we must markup the link element so as to identify it as a license URL. This is accomplished with adding the attribute rel="license" to the <link> element. For example:

<link rel="license" href="" />

See the complete CC with syndication formats documentation for more information.


Atom 1.0 example

Here is a sample, one entry Atom 1.0 feed which implements the guidelines above.

<feed xmlns="">
  <title>OER Aggregation Web Site</title>
  <link rel="self" href="" type="application/atom+xml" />
    <name>John Q. Public</name>
    <link href="" />
    <title>Math 101</title>
    <summary>Basic mathematics for 5th graders</summary>
    <link rel="license" href="" />
    <category term="cc:subject:Math" />
    <category term="cc:gradelevel:5" />
    <category term="cc:lang:en" />

RSS 2.0 example

Here is a sample, one entry RSS 2.0 feed which implements the guidelines above.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<rss version="2.0"
    <title>OER Web Site</title>
    <atom:link rel="self" href="" type="application/atom+xml" />
    <description>OER Aggregation Web Site</description>
    <lastBuildDate>Wed, 16 Jan 2008 15:00:00 -0800</lastBuildDate>
    <webMaster> (John Q. Public)</webMaster>
      <guid isPermaLink="false">,2007-10-15:/math/101</guid>
      <pubDate>Mon, 12 Nov 2007 09:15:00 -0800</pubDate>
      <title>Math 101</title>
      <description>Basic mathematics for 5th graders</description>