Cervone’s article discusses at the length what he perceives as the different needs and goals of learning object repositories as opposed to traditional digital repositories. One major difference claimed is that of organization – learning object repositories need to be intuitively navigable by a number of criteria that traditional repositories often don’t have, such as keyword, educational level, and item format. This has to be made possible in part by specialty metadata assigned to learning repository objects. Such repositories should also allow social functionalities, creating the option of an “informal review process” of the objects they contain. This way, faculty members can comment on their experiences with using the different learning objects. Another major need he identifies is for learning repository objects to be designed for reuse – whether “as is” in a slightly altered contexts, or as copies made from the original. This also means the objects should be open access or available under a Creative Commons license, and should use standard formats that all users would be able to utilize (such as ODF documents and HTML5 tags). All of these requirements, although sometimes partially covered by traditional repositories, generally necessitate specially designed learning object repository software, such as DOOR, Ariadne, and Rhaptos.
Going methodically through and examining all the special characteristics of learning object repositories helped me understand the differences between these and more standard digital repositories, as well as the difficulties that might be involved in trying to adapt mainstream repository software to build a repository of learning objects.