In recent years, more and more publications and material for studying and teaching, e. g. for Web-based teaching (WBT), appear "online" and digital libraries are built to manage such publications and online materials. Therefore, the most important concerns are related to the problem of durable, sustained storage and the management of content together with its metadata existing in heterogeneous styles and formats. In this paper, we present specific techniques and their use to support metadata-based catalog services. Such semistructured metadata (represented as XML fragments), which belong to online learning resources, need efficient XML-based query support, scalable result set processing, and comprehensive facilities for personalization purposes. We discuss the associated problems, subsequently derive the concepts of a suitable architecture, and finally outline the realization by means of our prototype system that is based on the J2EE component model.