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DC-ARCHITECTURE  January 2012

DC-ARCHITECTURE January 2012

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Subject:

Re: 2011-01-04 DCAM editors' call - report

From:

Andy Powell <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

DCMI Architecture Forum <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 5 Jan 2012 09:58:10 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (127 lines)

--- cut ---

Jane: I want to be able to understand it at different levels, when struggling to "get it".  People need to find their access points.

Stuart: Again, web statistics; bounce rate on those pages is high.

Jane: I like Stuart's onion metaphor - want to understand at different levels in order to convey. Not just for teaching, but people in research looking.
Existing documentation is basically okay, but hard for people to read without investing alot of time.

Stuart: People don't have time, so they give up.

--- cut ---

Minor comment...

The implication here is that the DCAM requires too much investment to understand it. I tend to disagree (of course, as one of the authors I'm biased! :-) ). What's missing is the justification for why the investment is worthwhile.

By contrast, the investment necessary to understand RDF/Linked Data/SKOS is also relatively high but (some) people see that investment as being worthwhile given what they want to achieve.

So I think the pertinent question that needs to be answered pretty early on in the outer layers of Stuart's onion is "why should I invest time understanding the DCAM when I could be learning RDF/Linked Data/whatever instead?".

If we compare the DCAM with, say, SKOS and ask the same kind of question the answer is more obvious I think - people need to understand both RDF and SKOS because SKOS gives them something useful in the area of 'vocabulary' handling that RDF on its own doesn't give them.

The answer for the DCAM is much less clear except in terms of the original rationale for having the DCAM at all, i.e.

"It provides an information model which is independent of any particular [DCMI] encoding syntax. Such an information model allows us to gain a better understanding of the kinds of [DCMI] descriptions that we are encoding and facilitates the development of better mappings and cross-syntax translations" ("[DCMI]" additions by me).

which, unfortunately, is a very inward looking (and rather narrow) rationale that is unlikely (as history has shown us) to be of much widespread interest.

Andy

--
Andy Powell
Research Programme Director
Eduserv
t: 01225 474319
m: 07989 476710
twitter: @andypowe11
blog: efoundations.typepad.com

www.eduserv.org.uk 

-----Original Message-----
From: DCMI Architecture Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Thomas Baker
Sent: 04 January 2012 17:20
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: 2011-01-04 DCAM editors' call - report

2011-01-04 DCAM editors' call - 9:00 EST

Attended: Tom, George, Stuart, Richard, Kai, Michael, Jane This report: http://wiki.dublincore.org/index.php/DCAM_Revision/TeleconReport-20120104

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Summary of actions

ACTION: Tom and Richard to put placeholder for introductory text into wiki document at http://wiki.dublincore.org/index.php/DCAM_Revision_Draft.

ACTION: Kai and Tom to work on technical part in wiki, e.g.:
    http://wiki.dublincore.org/index.php/DCAM_Revision
    http://wiki.dublincore.org/index.php/DCAM_Revision_Scratchpad
    http://wiki.dublincore.org/index.php/DCAM_Revision_Graphics

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Discussion

Tom: Substantive discussion occurs on the DC-Architecture list unless there are complaints about the traffic.  We can start writing at http://wiki.dublincore.org/index.php/DCAM_Revision_Draft.  Need to start builing a structure for the revised document(s).  Need to give something to general readers, but technical documentation for more in-depth information.
General document provides examples, rationale, and uses of DCAM.  What are DCAM's functional requirements?

Stuart: Premature to decide whether one or two documents? Nothing wrong with the original goals, but it missed the mark with audiences.  Range of readers -- continuum from expert to beginners.  Onion layers. If we look at Website data, people coming for metadata basics.  Could be documentation in layers. Every term linked to glossary.

Jane: I want to be able to understand it at different levels, when struggling to "get it".  People need to find their access points.

Stuart: Again, web statistics; bounce rate on those pages is high.

Jane: I like Stuart's onion metaphor - want to understand at different levels in order to convey. Not just for teaching, but people in research looking.
Existing documentation is basically okay, but hard for people to read without investing alot of time.

Stuart: People don't have time, so they give up.

Kai: Way we document DCAM. We want to base it on RDF, but maybe want to hide details. I like the idea of more abstract docucmentation for the user. Still not entirely sure what we want to do with DCAM.  When I approached this task, may have seen it in overly simple terms. I thought we could just rewrite what is there. But I see we need to address potential issues.

Tom: Introduction should describe function of DCAM; what are the requirements?
See http://wiki.dublincore.org/index.php/DCAM_Revision_Scratchpad: mapping of concepts.  Pete Johnston's work on DC-Text makes some things that are implicit in DCAM more explicit.  Also important to see what is happening in the RDF Working Group.  Notion of "Description Sets" may be clearer for general readers
-- easier to explain -- than "Named Graphs".  What is DCAM good for? What is its purpose? Needs to be part of an introduction. Current introduction is a good part of the current specification, but some of the requirements that have come up are not articulated there.

Stuart: Pedagogical functions will be layered on top of what DCAM is. First task is to determine what's wrong with current DCAM, what needs to happen (i.e., on technical level) -- then address the pedagogical piece, how presentation is layered on top of this.  Pedagogical functions don't drive what the DCAM is, how it is presented may be influenced by the pedagogic concerns.

Michael: Structure of specification and primer, like W3C, could work well.
Primer must be heavily edited, but would be built on specification.

Richard: Role for bridge to RDF. The "Is it based on RDF?" discussion reflects this.

Stuart: Richard, you nail the pedagogical point. We use in teaching. What DCAM did for me: provided a principled way for thinking that opened the door. This is how it is used. Helps people go from where they are into a new space.

Tom: These are useful points that need to be written up. Put a placeholder in the wiki with an introduction. Use the introduction as a place to collect text.

ACTION: Tom and Richard to put placeholder for introductory text into wiki document at http://wiki.dublincore.org/index.php/DCAM_Revision_Draft.

Richard: Continue looking at other DCMI documentation (like the "using dublin core" revisions) to make sure that everything aligns and can lead users through concepts.

Stuart: DCMI Metadata Terms, Glossary, DCAM, User Guide - moving forward, these documents need to be tightly coupled. Definitions linked to examples, etc.

Tom: Technical issues: Value Strings that are in different places in the Model (literals used as the object a RDF statement as opposed literals used to annotate the object of an RDF statement with a label).  I want to keep the core model, but simplify the structure somewhat.  We need to address mappings to the evolving RDF standards.  Important question: Should DCAM revisions be kept backwards compatible with the earlier DCAM?  Or do we have an opportunity to create a simpler model that preserves the essence of the old model?  As one of the original authors, having someone take a critical look at it with fresh eyes would be helpful.  If we do not have more owners of the technical part (besides me), the result may not be scrutinized the way it should be.  I'd some co-editors -- people who will take a close look at the details.

Kai: I volunteer to help with the technical issues.  Start DCAM from scratch, based on RDF?

Tom: OK with me.

ACTION: Kai and Tom to work on technical part in wiki, e.g.:
   http://wiki.dublincore.org/index.php/DCAM_Revision
    http://wiki.dublincore.org/index.php/DCAM_Revision_Scratchpad
    http://wiki.dublincore.org/index.php/DCAM_Revision_Graphics

Kai: How would we define these concepts with RDF?

Tom: See also "Son of DC" by Allistair Miles http://aliman.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/sodc/SoDC-0.2/index.html.  Don't want to start with constraint language (DC-DSP), that will come later.

Richard: We are in a different place than where we were when DCAM started. RDF is more palatable today. RDF semantics are the way they are because of their goals. Would it be helpful to bring these out in documentation? Some of the push-back was about "additional complexity" - people wanting simple records.
Levels of interoperability. People may say: "I'll just stick with my simple structures" (on Level 1). If purpose is to translate...

Michael: We share most of the same premises of RDF - that metadata is description-based, description of something, and not just a set of key-value pairs packed into a record. This also bridges, opens door to formal knowledge-representation languages.  But people do not necessarily want to represent their bibliographic data in RDF, RDFS, and OWL.

Tom: We need to get the general introductory stuff, information about audiences, etc. up on the mailing list.  We will have a larger DCAM discussion in the next three weeks.  Meeting adjourned.

--
Tom Baker <[log in to unmask]>

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