GLOBE | Connecting the World and Unlocking the Deep Web


GLOBE (Global Learning Objects Brokering Exchange) is a one-stop-shop for learning resource broker organizations, each of them managing and/or federating one or more learning object repositories. GLOBE makes a suite of online services and tools available to its members for the exchange of learning resources, and is set up as a worldwide Open Community guided by the following principles:

  • Keep the barrier of entry to the GLOBE network low and participation high.
  • Provide open specifications and community source code as much as possible, openly shared among and beyond community members.
  • Use open standards, where appropriate, and contribute back to the development of these standards based on experiences and best practices.
  • Respect and build on cultural diversity.
  • Operate as a community of peers.

The GLOBE Alliance is composed of the following organizations:

Purpose and Mission

There is a large interest around the world in establishing and maintaining learning object repositories as exemplified by the number of existing repositories, organizations building and sustaining them, contributors integrating learning objects in repositories, and users of these learning objects. The fundamental reasons are: the growing educational demands in all countries, the limited capacity of face to face education to fulfil the demand in a timely manner, the effort and cost involved to build multimedia learning materials, and the new possibilities offered by the Internet.

While it is a fact that millions of documents can be found on the Internet using search engines like Google, there is no guarantee that a query will lead to trustable material on which high quality education can be built. Well managed learning object repositories that aggregate high quality content offer a solution to this problem.

  1. First, they are maintained by educational institutions and teachers, and more generally content providers that put their expertise and credibility in the balance to guarantee the quality of the learning material they put on the Web.
  2. Second, these learning objects are often peer-reviewed to ensure their quality; comments can be made on the repository Website to identify their actual use and their reusability capacity in different areas.
  3. Third, the metadata associated to the learning objects give precious information to the users, such as the name and location of the authors, the type of learning material, the knowledge contained in it, the educational use that can be made, the languages in which are delivered and technical requirements for their proper use.>
  4. Fourth, this metadata serves to make focused queries according to a user’s needs, based on the properties of the learning objects, not only on vague keywords that leads to thousands of references that you would need to read to understand what kind of content they provide.
  5. Fifth, the vast majority of these learning objects are in the public domain. They can be reused free of charge and adapted or aggregated to extend the availability of good learning material, an essential condition to cope with the growing educational needs of the knowledge society.

Technically, learning object repositories are computer servers connected to the Web that can deliver the educational resources they store to any computer connected to the Internet. The learning objects themselves can be stored in databases with their metadata or separated from the metadata that reference them. The metadata is a standardized set of properties of the learning objects that makes their retrieval possible throughout the world, using various kinds of query software. Other software can be used afterward to integrate the retrieved objects in new aggregates (courses, Web pages, learning portals, etc.) that are themselves new learning objects.

Educational resources in GLOBE repositories are made available to users connected to the Internet worldwide, according to the policies enacted by each repository owners. The users can be individuals (learners, trainers, educators) or organizations such as schools, colleges, universities, corporate training divisions, museum, and libraries. These users can also provide learning object references that can be made accessible through the GLOBE network. Basically, GLOBE provides federated or harvesting search services, referencing tools, repository management tools, and other kinds of services and tools to make possible the brokered exchange of educational resources. By sharing the resources in a brokered way, strategic alliances and technical interfaces need only be made once, but all members of GLOBE and their connected repository owners will benefit from the GLOBE alliance services.

GLOBE Membership

GLOBE members are organizations that manage relationships with the educational resource providers and actively support their connection into the GLOBE network.

Member responsibilities

A GLOBE member will:

  1. Manage learning object repositories or a network of such repositories;
  2. Serve more than one producer or user institution;
  3. Support federated search and/or harvesting of learning objects from many repositories;
  4. Support large scale, high performance Internet services;
  5. Provide some form of reference, professional development or help services to learning object digital libraries managers and owners;
  6. Be committed to providing high quality resources to educational communities and individuals;
  7. Be committed to provide the human, technical, and financial resources to help deliver GLOBE services to their users and suppliers;
  8. Manage relationships and develop participation of other organizations for them to use GLOBE services;
  9. Demonstrate their compliance with the GLOBE participation principles and community of practice.
  10. Provide an annual status report
  11. Pay the annual membership fee.

GLOBE Application Profile

A GLOBE member should adhere to the GLOBE Application Profile.  The Application Profile document describe the fields that should be present in the metadata in order to share resources with GLOBE.

How to become a GLOBE Member

Step 1.

Discuss membership details, benefits, commitments with an existing GLOBE Executive Council Member. Typically this existing member would seek information from the candidate organisation according to a list of questions (see questions for membership).

Step 2.

Send a formal application letter to the GLOBE Secretary General.

Step 3.

The candidate organisation is invited – physically or virtually – to attend one of the executive council meetings in order to allow other members to ask further clarifications.

Step 4.

The GLOBE Executive Council will consider and respond to the application within 3 weeks after such a meeting.

Step 5.

A Memorandum of Agreement will be signed by the applicant and an officer of the GLOBE Executive Council

Step 6.

The new member exposes its metadata within six months after the MoU signature. For this, the new member receives help from one or more GLOBE partners.