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1EdTech Common Cartridge Profile: Overview


Version 1.3 Final Specification

Date Issued:            15 July 2013

Latest version:         /cc/index.html


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 Document Name:  1EdTech Common Cartridge Profile: Overview v1.3 Final Release – Date: 15 July 2013

1                  Overview

Common Cartridge is a set of open standards, freely available and without royalty, developed by a global industry consortium with over 80 voting members. These standards, if followed by content developers and learning platforms, enable strict interoperability between content and systems. The standards  support great flexibility in the type of digital content supported (content can actually be applications) and the location of the content (content and applications in a Common Cartridge can be distributed).

Common Cartridge solves two problems. The first is to provide a standard way to represent digital course materials for use in online learning systems so that content can be developed in one format and used across a wide variety of learning systems (often referred to as course management systems, learning management systems, virtual learning environments, or instructional management systems). The second is to enable new publishing models for online course materials and digital books that are modular, web-distributed, interactive, and customizable. The focus of Common Cartridge ususally centers around  the interactive collaborative learning situations, typically with a teacher, professor, or instructor involved in guiding learners. The learning materials can be online, offline, or both - a situation often referred to as hybrid or blended learning. Common Cartridge may be used to facilitate self-paced online learning as well, but Common Cartridge was developed specifically to enable support of online or blended interactive and collaborative courses and seminars that have become mainstream in the last 10 years for various types of education scenarios.

Use of Common Cartridge advances the state of digital content and systems for learning. It supports and enhances the dominant and proven paradigm for quality learning and educational experiences: Internet supported learning. Common Cartridge enhances learning experiences by enabling flexible combinations of learning resources in an assessment-rich and collaboration-rich environment. Common Cartridge also provides standards that are a base platform for interoperability, reusability, and customization of digital learning content, assessments, collaborative discussion forums, and a diverse set of learning applications. These standards support market efficiency and open up the market for greater choice in both content and platforms.

Common Cartridge specifies several things.

·         A format for exchange of content between systems so that there is a common way to interpret what the digital learning content is and how it is organized (1EdTech Common Cartridge). The content is described in a manifest and the components that make up the manifest may be in the exchanged package or external to the package (referenced by URL).

·         A standard for the metadata describing the content in the cartridge (1EdTech Learning Object Metadata) - Common Cartridge is extensible to allow other metadata schemas.  New with Common Cartridge v1.2 is support for optional curriculum standards metadata.  This metadata associates the cartridge, a resource, or question item with a specific curriculum standard identifier.  New with Common Cartridge v1.3 is support for any LOM field.

·         A standard for test items, tests, and assessments (1EdTech Question and Test Interoperability™). This standard allows learning systems to understand imported assessments natively - so they can be manipulated (such as deciding what items are to be used and where in the flow of a course) as needed in the learning system. Common Cartridge includes one (or more, since Common Cartridge 1.3) question banks (i.e., a QTI objectbank), offering instructors additional questions to those contained within the pre-configured assessments, which they can configure around the core material.

·         A standard for launching and exchanging data with external applications so that they can be part of a single learning experience orchestrated through the learning system (1EdTech Learning Tools Interoperability™). These can be literally any type of application in any location, such as social networking, wikis, external assessment systems, adaptive tutors, varieties of web-based content libraries, or other learning systems.

·         A controlled vocabulary to designate the intended use of web content in the cartridge.  Web content should be ingested unmodified, but some learning platforms treat content with different intended uses in different ways.  Common Cartridge v1.1 introduced the uses: “Lesson Plan” and “Syllabus”.  Common Cartridge v1.2 introduces the additional use “Assignment”.

·         A schema for populating online discussion forums for collaboration among students. This allows such forums to be pre-populated with potential exercises, discussion threads, and so forth.

·         A schema for populating web links. This allows learning platforms to be pre-populated with links to relevant external resources.

·         Authorization support has been optional for some time.  As of Common Cartridge v1.2, the support for authorization that appeared in Common Cartridge v1.0 and v1.1 was deprecated.  The former authorization approach is no longer recommended.  The current guidance is to use LTI links as the method for accessing remote and secure content.

For more information on Common Cartridge, consult the Frequently Asked Questions section of the 1EdTech website: /cc/ccfaqs.html.

1.1       References

[LTI, 12]                                1EdTech Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) v1.1, 1EdTech, August 2012.

[DC, 03]                                 Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, Version 1.1 (ISO 15836:2003).

[IEEE LOM, 05]                  IEEE LOM Schema Binding (1484.12.3-2005).

[CC,13b]                               1EdTech Common Cartridge Profile: Use Cases v1.3, 1EdTech, July 2013.

[CC,13c]                                1EdTech Common Cartridge Profile: Conformance v1.3, 1EdTech, July 2013.

[CC,13d]                               1EdTech Common Cartridge Profile: Appendices v1.3, 1EdTech, July 2013.

[CC,13e]                                1EdTech Common Cartridge Profile: Implementation v1.3, 1EdTech, July 2013.


2                  What’s New in Common Cartridge 1.3

The Common Cartridge specification defines an open format for the distribution of rich, web-based content. It is designed to ensure the correct installation and operation of content across any Common Cartridge conformant platforms and tools. 

Version 1.0 was designed to offer existing implementations a low barrier to adoption of the Common Cartridge.

Version 1.1 reflected feedback from market adoption resulting in, most significantly, the inclusion of Basic Learning Tools Interoperability. 

Version 1.2 focused on the addition of optional curriculum standards metadata at the cartridge, resource, and question-item levels.

Modifications included in Version 1.3:

·         Cartridge manifest metadata must refer to version ‘1.3.0’.

·         New namespace locations for Content Packaging and LOM schemas.

·         Cartridge, resource, and assessment item metadata now include the complete LOM set.

·         LTI links can now include full LOM metadata and curriculum standards metadata.

·         Addition of new resource types: ‘IWB’ for interactive whiteboard files, ‘EPUB3’ for EPub 3 files, and ‘APIP’ for Accessible Portable Item Protocol™.

·         Support for an extensible list of resource types.

·         Resource descriptor file XML can now be provided inline in the imsmanifest.

·         More than one question bank is permitted.  In CC v1.2 and earlier, at most one question bank was allowed.


2.1       Updated LTI Link Description

Since CC v1.1, cartridges have been able to include LTI link resources, which were refered to as Basic Learning Tools Interoperability links.  CCv1.3, documentation drops the word “Basic” from descriptions in keeping with how the commuity refers to LTI today. 

New in CC v1.3 is the metadata element in the LTI link description.  This element can contain any LOM .  The metadata element also includes the same curriculum standards metadata as at the cartridge-, resource-, and item-level.  Inclusion of LOM and curriculum standards metadata in the LTI link description may appear unnecessarily redundant.  The reason for the inclusion is to allow use of the same XML description both in cartridges and elsewhere, where no containing resource element would be present.  For example, one application might want to send another just an LTI link description in a lightweight way, without the extra overhead of a cartridge.

<cartridge_basiclti_link xmlns="http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imslticc_v1p3"
          xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imslticc_v1p3.xsd http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imslticp_v1p0 imslticp_v1p0.xsd http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imslticm_v1p0 imslticm_v1p0.xsd http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imsbasiclti_v1p0 imsbasiclti_v1p0p1.xsd">
        <blti:title>BLTI Test</blti:title>
        <blti:description>Test a BLTI Link</blti:description>
          <lticm:property name="keyname">value</lticm:property>
        <blti:extensions platform="my.lms.com">
          <lticm:property name="keyname">value</lticm:property>
        <blti:launch_url>http://www.imsglobal.org/developers/BLTI/tool.php </blti:launch_url>
        <blti:secure_launch_url>http://www.imsglobal.org/developers/BLTI/tool.php </blti:secure_launch_url>
        <blti:icon>url to an icon for this tool (optional)</blti:icon>
        <blti:secure_icon>secure url to an icon for this tool (optional)&gt;</blti:secure_icon>
          <lticp:name>1EdTech Consortium</lticp:name>
          <lticp:url>http://www.imsglobal.org </lticp:url>
            <lticp:email>blti@imsglobal.org </lticp:email>
        <cartridge_bundle identifierref="BLTI001_Bundle"/>
        <cartridge_icon identifierref="BLTI001_Icon"/>
          <lomxmlns="http://ltsc.ieee.org/xsd/imsccv1p3/LOM/imscclti" >
                <string>...test to show LOM entry OK ...</string>
          <curriculumStandardsMetadataSet xmlns="http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imsccv1p3/imscsmd_v1p0" >

2.2       Additional Resource Types

CC v1.3 adds resource types for the following:

  • Accessible Portable Item Profile (APIP) files.  Note these likely can be checked by the 1EdTech Validator (validator.imsglobal.org).  A sample manifest resource entry for this type is:


    <resource identifier="I_00003_R" type="imsapip_zipv1p0">
      <filehref="I_00003_R/apipv1p0_CoreTest_VC_IP_01.zip" />

  • Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) files. Note that these likely can be checked by the 1EdTech Validator (validator.imsglobal.org).  A sample manifest resource entry for this type is:


    <resource identifier="I_00006_R" type="imsiwb_iwbv1p0">

  • EPub3 files.    A sample manifest resource entry for this type is:


    <resource identifier="I_00007_R" type="idpfepub_epubv3p0">
      <filehref="I_00006_R/moby-dick-mo-20120206.epub" />


2.3       Resource Type Extensions

The 1EdTech members recognize that there may be additional resource types that parties to an integration wish to exchange in a Common Cartridge.  Prior to CC v1.3, there was no mechanism to extend the list of resource types without updating the specification XSDs.  With CC v1.3, this constraint is lifted. 

The manifest file can contain resource of type extension, which will also specify a schema and version.  A list of these extensions (in a VDEX file) will be accessible programmatically to the 1EdTech CC Validator and other applications. Anyone wishing to create such a type will register it with 1EdTech (see the 1EdTech CC/LTI Alliance for details on the registration process) and the type will be added to the list of known extensions.  Once an extension is approved and its status is finalized, a named extension type will be added.  A sample manifest resource entry of this type is:

An example of the standards metadata is:


<resource identifier="extensionresource1" type="assignment_xmlv1p0" href="Extension_R/assignment.xml">



















<file href="Extension_R/assignment.xml"/>

<!-- Variant definition -->

<cpx:variant identifier="extensionresource1_variant" identifierref="extensionresource1_variant1">





<!-- -->


<!-- New variant resource *************************************************** -->

<resource identifier="extensionresource1_variant1" type="webcontent">

<file href="Extension_R/Variant1.html"/>


<!-- ************************************************************************* -->



2.4       XML Descriptor File Inline in the 1EdTech Manifest

Prior to CC v1.3, descriptions of assessments, question banks, discussion topics, LTI links, and web links needed to reside in XML files, which were referenced in the manifest.  In an effort to ease the transmission of a common cartridge, this constraint has been relaxed.  A manifest can now contain these descriptor files’ XML inline.  This means that the entire cartridge (should it consist of no dependent files) can be described in a single XML string and is thereby very easy to send and receive.

As an example, here is a resource entry that contains the XML for a discussion topic, which would otherwise have needed to reside in a stand-alone file.


<resource identifier="Resource14" type="imsdt_xmlv1p3">
      <topicxmlns="http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imsccv1p3/imsdt_v1p3" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imsccv1p3/imsdt_v1p3 http://www.imsglobal.org/profile/cc/ccv1p3/ccv1p3_imsdt_v1p3.xsd" >
        <title>Unit Reviews</title>
        <texttexttype="text/html">Welcome to Unit reviews ? a place to post constructive comments on this unit for the benefit of other learners and educators.</text>


Note that the content of the resource element is the exact same XML as would appear in the stand-alone file.  The same pattern is supported for the other descriptors.

2.5       Support for Multiple Question Banks

Prior to CC v1.3, at most one question bank was permitted per cartridge.  In CC v1.3 this limit is removed.

2.6       Namespace Changes






XSD for Content Package.



XSD for the CC Manifest Metadata.



XSD for the CC Resource Metadata.



XSD for the CC LTI Link Metadata.



XSD for QTI resources in the CC.



XSD for Web Link resources in the CC.



XSD for Discussion Topic resources in the CC.



XSD for Curriculum Standards Metadata in the CC.



XSD for authorization data in the CC.



XSD for the Basic LTI resource link descriptor held in the CC.



XSD for the core Basic LTI object.



XSD for common messaging objects in Basic LTI.



XSD for common objects in Basic LTI.

CC Extension Resource Files



XSD for the assignment extension resource.

VDEX Files



XSD for VDEX files.



XSD for the LOM entries in VDEX instances.


Yellow shaded rows denote where changes have been made from CCv1.2 release.

About This Document


Title:                                                      1EdTech Common Cartridge Profile: Overview

Editor:                                                  Jeff Kahn (1EdTech)

Version:                                                1.3

Version Date:                                      15 July 2013

Status:                                                   Final Specification

Summary:                                            This document contains the profile information for Common Cartridge, an open format for the distribution of rich, web-based content.

Purpose:                                               This document has been approved by the 1EdTech Common Cartridge Accredited Profile Management Group and is made available for pubic adoption.

Document Location:                          /cc/


List of Contributors

The following individuals contributed to the development of this document:



Thor Anderson

Utah Valley University

David Gappa

Safari Montage

Jeff Kahn

1EdTech Consortium

Lisa Mattson

1EdTech Consortium

Bracken Mosbacker


Bill Richardson

Blackboard Inc.

Colin Smythe

1EdTech Consortium

Claude Vervoort


Jennifer Whiting

Florida Virtual School





Revision History


Version No.

Release Date


Final v1.0

29 January 2009

The first formal release of the CC specification.

Public Draft v1.1

9 November 2010

The Public Draft of the CC v1.1 specification.

Revised Draft v1.1

6 December 2010

Revised Public Draft of the CC v1.1 specification.

Revised Draft v1.1

24 December 2010

Overview section added.

Final v1.1

10 January 2011

The Final CC v1.1 specification.

Final v1.2

1 October 2011

The Final CC v1.2 specification.

Final v1.3

15 July 2013

The Final CC v1.3 specification.






1EdTech Consortium, Inc. ("1EdTech") is publishing the information contained in this 1EdTech Common Cartridge Profile: Overview ("Specification") for purposes of scientific, experimental, and scholarly collaboration only.
1EdTech makes no warranty or representation regarding the accuracy or completeness of the Specification.
This material is provided on an "As Is" and "As Available" basis.
The Specification is at all times subject to change and revision without notice.
It is your sole responsibility to evaluate the usefulness, accuracy, and completeness of the Specification as it relates to you.
1EdTech would appreciate receiving your comments and suggestions.
Please contact 1EdTech through our website at /
Please refer to this as Document Name: 1EdTech Common Cartridge Profile: Overview  
Date: 15 July 2013