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					University of Michigan / IBM / Ancept DAMS Solution Overview
Educators and educational institutions have specialized needs for technology that supports their Digital Asset Management efforts.       The responsibilities of content creation are often spread out both geographically and functionally, requiring an ingest operation that can distributed. Many sub-groups may have isolated repositories for their internal use, but those groups may also wish to share their digital assets with others in the same organization or in other organizations. Educational groups and educational producers need tools to aid in sharing and collaboration among their colleagues. Digital Rights Management (DRM) needs to be carefully managed and layered. Educators often make liberal use of Fair Use laws, but their creations need to be protected from later copyright infringement. The entire concept of education relies on making digital assets broadly available to the widest community but under controlled conditions. Course content is rarely static, and educators want to use an ever-broadening array of tools to help them organize content for classroom use. In a similar fashion, tools for distance learning are developing at a rapid pace, and educators want the ability to sample them. Therefore digital assets must be maintained in standard formats with standard access protocols so that digital assets can be leveraged from tool to tool. In a like fashion, as educators turn digital assets into Learning Objects, many digital assets will be subjected to multiple re-use. Systems need to track how and where digital assets are being used. Students need to be empowered to creatively respond to academic assignments by creating and storing multimedia content.

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For these and other reasons, a specialized Digital Asset Management infrastructure is needed to support specific educational communities as well as broad collaborations that take place among and between a myriad of institutions. The successful future educational technology architecture will facilitate the secure inter-operation of multiple, heterogeneous repositories, making it possible for educators to broadly support each other and their greater communities in education and research. A goal of this future educational technology architecture is to provide interoperability and / or federated search with existing library holdings.

Solution Summary
The IBM digital infrastructure architecture for educational content and learning object distribution allows for the ingestion, distributed storage and broad distribution of digital assets both in their raw from and as they coalesce into multiple, distributed Learning Objects. This robust, scalable, architecture will support the University of Michigan with open standards and multiple avenues that create broad inter-operation in a secure environment.

Ingest

Media Servers and Storage

Distribution

Figure 1

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University of Michigan / IBM / Ancept DAMS Solution Overview

The IBM digital infrastructure architecture for educational content and learning object distribution involves ingesting rich media assets, processing them with a set of Media Servers and utilities, and distributing them into a heterogeneous viewing and retrieval environment (Figure 1). Once content objects or collections are entered and logged into the system with metadata, they can be searched, previewed, and retrieved individually. In addition, they can be accessed and integrated into courseware products. The IBM architecture for Media Asset Management at the University of Michigan offers many advantages. It is a solution that will scale both vertically and horizontally (i.e. capable of running on both bigger processors or more distributed processors.) Wherever possible, the architecture demonstrates IBM’s continued commitment to open standards and open interfaces. It is our intention that best of breed components will interoperate with the system as it evolves. In addition, the architecture is built to be able to maximize interoperation when other repositories become available – or when University of Michigan may wish to offer its content to others. Even though the system will be fully functional as a stand-alone system, it should also be seen as the starting point for a collection of “nodes” of like content that can interoperate, in a secure fashion, for the benefit of all content nodes.

Content and Learning Object Repositories Work Together
In education, the task of actually creating and storing digital assets is distinct from the broad task of using those digital assets in the creation of Learning Objects. Learning objects are content and tools that teachers and educators use to facilitate learning. The collected learning objects for a class session represent the materials that the instructor is using to convey ideas, facts, and concepts to students. The content repository of media assets, and the repository of learning objects, lessons and curriculum, must work together as faculty, graduate students, other educators, or researchers consume and exploit existing content. The content repository of media assets also functions as a research tool that allows the management and distribution of data between research teams. Media assets are stored in standard formats, tagged with standards-based and accessible meta data, and accessed through standard procedures and protocols, then those media assets and learning objects can be preserved, used many times, and leveraged into standards-based tools for the collection, organization, and distribution of content. The IBM and Ancept solution supports the standards efforts that can make educational content a valuable, shared resource across the landscape of educational institutions. Figure 2 shows how the tasks of content creation, ingest, meta-tagging, logging, and encryption are part of the effort required to populate the Content Repository comprised of a library server for metadata, and a resource manager server to retrieve from all storage mediums. Certain members of the educational community will be involved in this effort. However, curriculum designers, educators, researchers, students, and other educational “consumers” can access that content, under controlled conditions, in its raw state or as a part of a Learning Object manifest.

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University of Michigan / IBM / Ancept DAMS Solution Overview

Content Creators

Content Creation

Content Ingest

Metadata Entry Rights Rules Educational Tagging

Auto Logging Proxy Creation Encryption

Content Logged in Repository

Content Users

Curriculum Designers / Educators

Content Search, Browse, Preview, Download

Learning Object Authoring/Module Creation

Content Repository

Researchers

Content Search, Browse, Preview, Download

Metadata Enhancement

Students / Content "Consumers"

Content Search, Browse, Preview, Download

After being created, content is ingested into the system, meta-tagged, pre-processed and stored in a repository. Content users Search, Browse, and Preview content, use it to create learning modules, or "consume" it as end users.

Learning Object Repository

IBM Educational Content and Learning Object Distribution Architecture

Figure 2

Ingest
Ingest operations can be performed on most rich media assets with a simple drag and drop into hot folders. For assets requiring video encryption, the IBM solution uses Telestream Clip Mail Pro (or various other encoders), which can encode video at bit rates up to 50 Mbps MPEG2 (professional quality). Typically, access to the system is over standard Internet lines, although high-resolution video assets may require higher bandwidth. Assets are meta-tagged at ingest, and rules can be created to require certain metadata fields to be filled or pre-filled. The system supports many metadata types and standards, including SCORM, MPEG7, and other XML based hierarchical and nested structures. The IBM team will work with The University of Michigan to refine your metadata fields and structures. Figure 3 depicts the general ingest functions:      Raw content created in virtually any format. User enters system with Username / Password access on standard browser. Documents, images and small profile assets moved to "hot folders" for ingest. High Resolution Video is encoded with Telestream Clipmail Pro. Ingest performed with Ancept application that: o Assigns Asset Number o Groups Asset Collections o Allows Entry of Metadata o Assigns Digital Rights Assets are FTP'd (or otherwise transferred) to distributed repositories.

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University of Michigan / IBM / Ancept DAMS Solution Overview
Through either a browser or a Telestream Clipmail interface (for video), assets are registered with the system and sent for pre-processing to the Media Servers. Pre-processing includes extracting metadata (e.g. using Virage), creating proxies in various resolutions, and encrypting assets if required with additional tools.

Internet / I2
School
Computer

Non Video Metadata Entry and Extraction

Home
Computer

Encryption
Computer

Campus

Telestream Clipmail

Proxy Creation Metadata Entry and Extraction Content Repository

Computer Telestream Clipmail

Video
Figure 3

Distributed Repositories
The heart of the Digital Asset Management solution is the collection of distributed repositories (media servers). For the University of Michigan, they will first be located in the Media Union “Living Laboratory,” although sets of servers may be distributed depending on function, and often multiple processes can run on the same server. Figure 4 shows the collection of applications that are part of the distributed repository system and how they interoperate. There are some options for configuring the distributed repositories, and those options can be determined in the process of creating the detailed design for the project. For example, Telestream offers as part of their product some functions found in the Virage Autologger. Depending on the specific requirements, one or the other may be appropriate.    Virage Autologger creates metadata (thumbnails, closed caption text, speech to text, object recognition, etc.) Telestream Clipmail mediates the FTP of assets to the Media Servers. Video Charger manages streaming for all preview viewing.

Content object servers are distributed across the architecture to optimize performance.

Distribution
Content Distribution can be thought of as the reverse of the ingest process, except that, in addition to the ability of system users to search and retrieve raw objects, many of those objects, especially for classroom and course work, will be embedded as learning objects in systems designed to deliver curriculum. Video assets can be streamed to the desktop in low-resolution form. For assets requiring high security or those for which use requires a secure, encrypted path to the user, IBM’s EMMS (not a part of this Statement of Work) is used to deliver the encrypted content in a secure container with a tamper-proof viewer.

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University of Michigan / IBM / Ancept DAMS Solution Overview

Ancept Media Server

Virage Autologger (Metadata Extraction)

IBM Content Manager

Telestream Clipmail (FTP)

DB2

Helix RealMedia Windows Media Quicktime Streaming VideoCharger (Streaming Video)

Online Storage

High Resolution Video "In Clear"

High Resolution Video Encrypted

Video Proxies (MPEG1, MPEG4, etc)

Images

Digital Objects

Figure 4

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