ADL Registry

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The Advanced Distributed Learning Registry was developed by the ADL Initiative and is the central search point for the discovery of digital objects related to DoD training, education, performance, and decision-aiding that can be redeployed, rearranged, repurposed, and rewritten. In much the same way that a card from the card catalog contains descriptive information about books in a library, the ADL Registry contains all of the registered entries that contain metadata about the digital object in a repository. "It is the first instance of a registry-based approach to repository federation resulting from the Content Object Repository Discovery and Registration/Resolution Architecture (CORDRA) project."[1]

The ADL Registry provides centrally searchable information, in the form of metadata records (not actual objects). The metadata describes many different kinds of objects to enable their discovery and reuse regardless of their location or origin. Like SCORM, DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1322.26 Development, Management, and Delivery of Distributed Learning. DoDI 1322.26 requires that all acquired or developed SCORM content packages shall include metadata, be registered in the ADL Registry, and be maintained in DoD Components’ repositories that are searchable and accessible.

This centralized registration is now required through a DoD Instruction (1322.26) “Development, Management and Delivery of Distributed Learning.” Precisely what is registered are the metadata that describe the learning object in a structured way. This is accomplished through a component of SCORM, the Learning Object Metadata standard, now designated as IEEE 1484.12.1. In this way, the author, creation date, version number, keywords and other vital information for this individual object is available to the developer, instructor or student with a single search.[2]

The mandatory metadata that is required by the ADL Registry to contribute an item is a subset of the IEEE Learning Object Metadata (LOM) standard and has been adapted for use in the ADL community of practice. Additional LOM elements can be used to more fully describe registered objects since the ADL Registry indexes all metadata so that others can find, redeploy, rearrange, repurpose, or rewrite digital objects.

Unique Aspects[edit]

Unlike a standard Internet search engine, the ADL Registry provides highly-targeted search results, significantly reducing the number of irrelevant matches because digital objects:

  • Are intentionally made visible and searchable by the contributor who is best able to accurately describe them and has vetted them.
  • Can be available for search and discovery without providing direct access to them.
  • Can be discovered even when they are not accessible to general web search engines.

Few would question the value of Web-searching technologies such as Google and Yahoo. However, these technologies do not address important requirements of the learning, education and training communities. Three key limitations are:

Google-type Web search uses indexed data that is created by “crawling” through the entire World Wide Web to see what is accessible and machine readable. A good deal of digital content used for learning is not accessible to Web crawlers (by policy or lack of infrastructure) or is unreadable because it is in a digital format that Web crawlers can’t easily interpret or the digital object is not available or indexed.

Google-type Web search finds everything and anything that might be relevant; there is no reliable means to filter content for authenticity, validity, currency and other criteria to limit the results to truly relevant learning content.

Mission-critical use cases cannot afford the hit-or-miss nature of today’s “index-everything” search strategies.

Web searching using Google and similar services provides fabulous value on many levels and will no doubt evolve and improve over time, as search algorithms become more sophisticated. But, the solution to finding content that is intentionally created for specific learning objectives, or that has special, well-crafted, instructional or informational value, and that has been vetted, authorized and made available for use by those who really need it, remains a technical and organizational challenge.


ADL Registry metadata is:

  • Expressed using the [IEEE [Learning Object Metadata] (LOM)] standard.
  • Encoded as Extensible Markup Language (XML).
  • Submitted manually through the ADL Registry web site.
  • Submitted automatically through RIM-Lite, a system developed to interface with the ADL Registry.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jerez, H., Manepalli, G., Blanchi, C., Lannom, L. (2006, February), ADL-R: The First Instance of a CORDRA Registry, D-Lib Magazine, Volume 12 Number 2.
  2. ^ Interview with Robert A. Wisher, in Military Training Technology, Originally Published on Nov 21, 2006 in Volume: 11 Issue: 4, retrieved from on 9/11/2008
  3. ^ Jesukiewizc, P., in Military Training Technology, Originally Published on March 3, 2008 in Volume: 13 Issue: 1, retrieved from on 9/11/2008

External links[edit]