Trackback / Sharebacks: Give These Packages Some Lovin’

We’ve promoted many different times (see the Breezed NMC Oct 2003 presentation) the notion that weblog Trackback technology provides a simple, and working now, method to connect descriptions of usage of learning objects stored in “thingamotories” (or “repositories if you like). Or, as we deemed it Learning Object Reuse Acknowledgment (LORA).

Yet. while well received, it is not happening anywhere. We run a summary of all MLX trackbacks and it is pretty meager, 47 total in more than 18 months we have enabled this feature… and I am responsibile for about 40 of ’em.

it’s pretty simple. If you compose a weblog entry (especially in MovableType, were the pinging is built in) and link to any MLX URL, the blog publishing platform checks all URLs for an embedded RDF ping address. Upon finding it, it transmits to the source (the MLX) 3 tokens of information that “trackback” to your newly published URL- a title, a url, and a small (typically 250 character) excerpt.

It seems do-able… objects sit in one place, descriptions of how they are used are written elsewhere, and connections made when the descriptions are published.

The implementation we have at the Maricopa Learning eXchange (MLX) is called “Sharebacks”. How about giving it a whirl? Just blog an entry about any of our MLX items, include a hyperlink to the MLX slip URL, and publish your blog. For more, about MLX sharebacks see How MLX Trackback Works, another Breeze-y show that is extracted from our epic Mysteries Revealed: Inside the MLX.

If you need a direct ping address, it is provided in small grey text on any MLX slip (like this one). Just by me writing this link in this paragraph, I will be creating another trackback to MLX Package 127.

C’mon, give us some lovin’ show us some pings. Send ’em our way… Send us some Sharebacks….

PS- Spammers are not welcome. Last week, in one click, I removed 1264 Trackback database entries from the Phentermine folks (nice to see ya again), and how sad that they wasted the time as none of their links will see the light of day on the MLX. New measures are in place that cut them off before they can get their roach toes inside our door.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Alan, have you investigated the APIs from any of the major CMS that you folks at Maricopa may have running? Until we get the delivery environments to automatically reply back to the repositories when an object is used/accessed, it seems to me that the whole trackback/shareback notion in relation to objects will remain largely theoretical. I would be very interested in hearing if you or anyone else is exploring this kind of integration with CMS. Cheers, Scott

  2. No… I’ve been busy fighiting spam ;-) And we have 4+ different CMSes in use around our system

    Are you referring Scott to the arrangements/agreeements that MERLOT has made to make their content appear as resources inside WebCT/Blackboard? It is something to put on the back burner to investigate. Or are you suggesting some way of making the MLX be able to robot a CMS and find content that has been used form MLX??

    I agree that it is still mostly theory, but I am just a small player, Were you on thr emails that bounced around some other Canadina colleagues about trying to roll this into some Learning Objects Metadata??

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