Objects Principle 3

Objects Principle 3: A good object is meaningful and useful outside of its local context.

A good digital object should be coherent, meaningful, and usable outside of the context in which it was created. Depending on the discipline, objects with these properties may be called “portable,” “reusable,” or “interoperable.”

Assumptions about accessing and using the object that are valid locally may no longer hold in the wider networked environment. This means that the object must be both portable and self- explanatory:

  • The object’s metadata should be self-contained, include all pertinent information about the object, and comply with a standard metadata schema, so that the object’s metadata can be more readily mapped from one schema to another depending on the context of use. See METADATA Principle 2. 
  • The object’s format and any technical requirements necessary for its use should be readily apparent. 
  • The object must carry with it a clear statement of acceptable users and uses to encourage use by authorized users. 

In education, there is an emphasis on reusable learning objects, which are defined as chunks of instruction designed to teach a stand-alone learning objective. The more granular the object, the more easily it can be embedded within different pedagogical streams.

Interoperable objects are also the focus of efforts to link distributed digital libraries or repositories.

  • Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories (APSR) website http://www.apsr.edu.au/. Many efforts of this initiative are devoted to interoperability of repositories of scholarly assets. 
  • UKOLN Interoperability Focus website http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/interop-focus/. Encompasses libraries, museums, archives, and other aspects of the cultural heritage, as well as government and community information.  


Last updated: 04/17/2008