The success of the Information Society, with the overabundance of online multimedia information, has become an obstacle for users to discover pertinent resources. For those users, the key is the refinement of resource discovery as the choice and complexity of available online content continues to grow. The work presented in this paper will address this issue by representing complex extensible user and information provider profiles and content metadata using XML and the provision of a middle canonical language to aid in learner-to-content matching, independent of the underlying metadata format. This approach can provide a federated search solution leading to personalise resource discovery based on user requirements and preferences, seamlessly searching over multiple repository types. The novelty of the work includes the complex extensible user profiles, information provider profiles, the canonical language and the federated search strategy. Although, the work presented is focused on E-Learning, the general ideas could be applied to any resource discovery or information retrieval system.