The Metadata Education and Research Information Commons (MERIC): A collaborative teaching and research initiative
The networked environment forced a sea change in Library and Information Science (LIS) education. Most LIS programs offer a mixed-mode of instruction that integrates online learning materials with more traditional classroom pedagogical methods and faculty are now responsible for developing content and digital learning objects. The teaching commons in a networked environment is one way to share, modify and repurpose learning objects while reducing the costs to educational institutions of developing course materials totally inhouse. It also provides a venue for sharing ideas, practices, and expertise in order to provide the best learning experience for students. Because metadata education has been impacted by rapid changes and metadata research is interdisciplinary and diffuse, the Metadata Education and Research Information Commons (MERIC) initiative aims to provide a virtual environment for sharing and collaboration within the extensive metadata community. This paper describes the development of MERIC from its origin as a simple clearinghouse proof-of-concept project to a service-oriented teaching and research commons prototype. The problems of enablers and barriers to participation and collaboration are discussed and the need for specific community building research is cited as critical for the success of MERIC within a broad metadata community.