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Content Standards Of Interest To Content Managers

Scott Abel
The Content Wrangler

There are a variety of content standards that may come into play when developing content management solutions. This article provides an overview of two useful standards that may be of interest to those creating learning content or serving the content needs of those with visual impairments.

Sharable Courseware Object Reference Model

The Sharable Courseware Object Reference Model (SCORM) allows learning content to be developed in chunks and reused whenever and wherever needed. Chunks, once created, are stored in a content repository where they can be retrieved and reused, by authoring and publishing tools that support the SCORM standard.

The goal of SCORM is to facilitate the creation of durable, affordable, accessible, platform- and tool-independent Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs).

SCORM is part of the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), and is a collaborative effort between government, industry and academia to establish a new distributed learning environment that permits the interoperability of learning tools and course content on a global scale. According to the ADL website (, "ADL's vision is to provide access to the highest quality education and training, tailored to individual needs, delivered cost-effectively anywhere and anytime."

If you'd like to learn more about how SCORM might benefit your organization, check out the ADL Solutions at Work website where you'll find a multimedia demonstration ( featuring a fictional example of how the standard might be used to create just-in-time learning materials designed to assist emergency response teams and members of the armed services during a chemical or biological attack.

Additional SCORM Resources

Technology Report: Sharable Courseware Object Reference Model Initiative (XML Cover Pages):

SCORM: Clarity or Calamity? (Online Learning Magazine):

Digital Talking Book

The Digital Talking Book (DTBook) standard is a new XML file format standard coordinated by the DAISY Consortium and the Library of Congress' National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).

The non-profit DAISY Consortium is promoting DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) XML standards throughout the world and urges publishers to provide materials in the new file format.

"Publishers can help libraries serving persons with disabilities by providing XML files in DTBook or in other XML vocabularies that can be transformed to this rapidly advancing standard," says George Kerscher, secretary general for the DAISY Consortium.

For the blind and visually impaired, this technology has literally opened up the doors to education. Students with visual impairments can listen to a textbook on their PC or read it using refreshable Braille. In the past, students have had to wait six months or longer for an accessible textbook to be made available to them in the format they require.

Thanks to a reauthorization of the U.S. Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA), signed by President Bush on December 3, 2004, students with visual disabilities will have the same access to educational materials as their sighted peers.

The requirements of the Act set in motion the use of a standard national file format for the production of textbooks in electronic files. This will make conversion into accessible formats such as Braille, large print or digital text much faster.

Additional DAISY Resources

The DAISY Consortium:

What is a Digital Talking Book?:

DAISY DTBook Specifications: http:/ /

Copyright 2005, The Rockley Group, Inc.