[LINK] RFI: Dublin Core 10 Years On

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Wed Jan 17 13:10:22 AEDT 2007


Someone wrote to me:
>I am a [librarianship] researcher with the State of California. 
>During a recent project I stumbled across your 1997 review of the 
>hazards posed by the simplicity of the Dublin Core.  For my own 
>information only, I was wondering if your thoughts from 1997, hold 
>true 10 years later 2007 or if you have altered your opinion.

I've not looked at the state of play in quite some years.

I'd much appreciate any reactions, and pointers to any useful analyses.

My impression is that a lot of developments have occurred alongside 
rather than as part of the Dublin Code movement, e.g. DOI, DRM.

The organisation is still there:  http://dublincore.org/about/

Of course, metadata-based search has been held back by the 
ease-of-use and surprisingly decent quality (at least for 
non-professional searchers) of brute-force full-text search-engines, 
in particular Google.

Has auto-generation of metadata arrived?

Are there convenient mechanisms to support authors to quickly 
generate metadata for their documents just before they release them?

What I wrote in 1997 was:

Beyond the Dublin Core:  Rich Meta-Data and Convenience-of-Use Are 
Compatible After All

" ... a reaction against what the author perceives as the dangerous 
simplicity of the Dublin Core. It explains the author's disquiet, and 
proposes ways in which that scheme's proponents can achieve their 
aims without creating something that we'll all shortly regret."

"The purposes of this paper are:
*   to establish that meta-data for objects that are intrinsically 
complex needs to have a rich structure;
*   to show that this richness does not necessarily imply that user 
interfaces must be unwieldy; and
*   to point the way towards a solution that is superior to the 
present Dublin Core proposal in regard to data structures, and 
capable of being easy to use.

The weaknesses I identified were:
1. 'Simple to a Fault'
2. Incomplete List of Data-Items
3. Lack of Structure
4. Unclear Scope of Applicability to Data Formats
5. Failure to Analyse Rights Management Issues
6. Failure to Address Object-Identity
7. Failure to Allow for Multiple Instances of Meta-Data
8. Failure to Address Ephemeral Objects
9. Failure to Address Instrumental Uses of Meta-Data

"To satisfy the desire for simplicity of use, the 'user views' notion 
could be applied to produce a tiered set of cataloguing mechanisms, 
along the following lines:

*   establish a very simple form of meta-data generator based on the 
existing windows that word processors provide for capturing author 
information. This could be supplemented by the generation of default 
keywords from titles, headings, and the document summary or abstract. 
The user interface would therefore be a modified version of windows 
already familiar to document authors;

*   establish similar tools for describing objects other than textual 
documents, such as images and interviews;

*   provide a utility that gathers information from an 
object-originator, and generates a set of meta-data from the data 
provided. This may involve:
     *   a fixed form;
     *   a conversation or interaction, with a variable sequence of 
questions depending on the data provided in response to the early 
questions; or
     *   a mix of prompted and inferred processing; and
     *   a set of complex forms and interactions whereby a cataloguer 
has access to the full sophistication of the meta-data data 
structures (together with, of course, an appropriate help-mechanism).

Roger Clarke                  http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in Info Science & Eng  Australian National University
Visiting Professor in the eCommerce Program      University of Hong Kong
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW

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