2011-02-15 DCAM call - 11:00 EST - report
Attended: TomB (chair), Kai, Jane, Gordon, MichaelP, Aaron, Diane, Mark (IRC), Jon, Antoine
This report: http://wiki.dublincore.org/index.php/DCAM_Revision/TeleconReport-20120215
ACTIONs carried forward
ACTION: Tom and Richard to put placeholder for introductory text into wiki document
ACTION: Kai and Tom to work on technical part in wiki, e.g.:
Discussion of Tom's proposed "general message"
Seen as data artifacts, Metadata Records consist of slots holding
information items in a defined structure. A Metadata Record may describe a
single Thing of interest (such as a Book) or a cluster of closely related
Things (such as a Book and its Author). More abstractly, a Metadata Record
may be seen as a Description Set encompassing just one Description (i.e.,
about the Book) or multiple Descriptions (about both the Book and the
A Description consists of one or more Statements about the Thing Described
(e.g., stating the Name and Birthdate of an Author). The Thing Described
by a Description may be identified using a URI. A Statement about the
Thing Described has one slot for an Attribute (Property) and one slot for a
Value. Attribute slots are filled with names of attributes (properties);
in DCAM, attributes are "named" using URIs. Value slots are filled with
Value Strings, URIs, or blank Value Placeholders. A Value String may be
stated as belonging to a named set of strings (known as a Syntax Encoding
Scheme). A Value URI may be stated as belonging to a named set of URIs
(known as a Vocabulary Encoding Scheme). In practice, Statements may be
viewed in the context of Statement Sets. Statement Sets may follow common
The Dublin Core Abstract Model (DCAM) provides a language for representing
the structure of specific Metadata Records -- put more abstractly, to
specify a Description Set Profile -- in a form that is independent of
particular Concrete Encoding Technologies such as XML Schema, RDF/XML,
RelaxNG, relational databases, Schematron, or JSON.
In order to provide compatibility with Semantic Web and Linked Data
applications, however, DCAM is fully aligned with the Model and Abstract
Syntax of RDF. (Note that the RDF abstract model is the basis for -- thus
distinct from -- concrete RDF encoding technologies such as RDF/XML,
N-Triples, and Turtle.) Knowledge of RDF is not a prerequisite for
understanding DCAM on an informal level.
DCAM provides a language for expressing common patterns of Statements --
patterns that may be partially or fully encoded using specific Concrete
Encoding Technologies. Indeed, some readers may find the example patterns
used in designing DCAM more accessible and useful, as models and templates
for implementation, than the formal specification of DCAM itself.
Jon: "The Dublin Core Abstract Model (DCAM) provides a language for
representing the structure of Metadata Records in a form that is independent of
particular Concrete Encoding Technologies such as XML Schema, RDF/XML, RelaxNG,
relational databases, Schematron, or JSON. That looks like 100% of it to me.
The rest is commentary."
GordonD: +1 for Jon's suggestion of a one-liner ...
Diane: +1 for concise statement first
Antoine: A bit long, but clear. Problem with terminology - we should be ready
to change depending on alignment with RDF. "Slots" for example. Put disclaimer
next to text. Would expect to see reference to "grammar".
Re: mixing reference to syntactic things (slots) and semantic (things
described): not a problem - need to make the connection between the
syntactic stuff and things described.
Diane: "A Description consists of one or more Statements about the Thing Described
(e.g., stating the Name and Birthdate of an Author). " This sentence
needs to say: "A description about an author...". Otherwise very
confusing, particularly for those schooled in MARC.
Jon: I agree with the need for the DCAM to be able to be used to create an
RDFS/OWL specification, and in that sense 'alignment' is necessary.
I think that one paragraph is feature-complete and represents the 'pitch'
fairly effectively. I think it's useful to keep specific grammar, such
as "description set" out of it if possible.
Aaron: Looking at implied distinctions in this first pass - maybe make more
explicit. I think there is a difference between alignment with RDF and
dependence on RDF/XML, etc. Do we imply that RDF/XML must be used?
Jon: For me, providing a specific methodology for expressing a DCAM-compatible
spec in RDFS/OWL is a requirement. If we can't do that then it won't be useful.
GordonD: +1 Jon - this is what I'm looking for ...
Jon: But if that's all we can do then we limit ourselves to simply solving an edge case.
Aaron: Maybe the abstract model of RDF can provide a linguistic guide for how we do
that. The terms we use, we would use in DCAM as well. Jon, in RFC, agrees with
need for DCAM alignment with RDF needed. Aaron: use RDF abstract syntax.
Diane: I understand the traction for trying to use another spec as a basis for this,
but I'm coming at this from perspective of a non-technical reader.
I'm not sure the value carries through. The current DCAM is very difficult. We need
a "DCAM for Dummies" - something more accessible. Concerned we might be going down
road of complexity.
Jon: @dih1 +1 for an expanded description
Jon: One more time - this is perfect from my perspective: "The Dublin Core
Abstract Model (DCAM) provides a language for representing the structure of
Metadata Records in a form that is independent of particular Concrete
Encoding Technologies." I would love to see the DCAM be this well-implemented
across _modeling_ technologies and this simply expressed: http://mustache.github.com/
Diane: Jon's one-sentence could be a very good introduction. But these five paragraphs
could be broken up under headings as additional headings. But try not to cram it all.
Jane: Like Diane's idea of chunking what has been written. Going in a good direction.
This seems digestible and helpful. Important to keep the "DCAM for Dummies" idea
on the front burner.
GordonD: We actually need DCAM for librarians, etc. ...
Diane: Gordon +1, but maybe we need a translation
Jon: Aaron, librarians should learn DCAM
Aaron: Librarians should learn RDF
Kai: Aaron +1
GordonD: I mean a librarian's translation of "slot", "description", "statement", etc.
That is, if we can translate the proposed text into the vocabularies familiar to
different groups like librarians, then we know the text is a good distillation of
the abstract ... Librarians already know DCAM - they just use a different terminology.
Jon: @GordonD exactly
Diane: Aaron, maybe techies need to learn more about where librarians are, in order
to help move them in a useful direction.
Aaron: Agreed, though we shouldn't be afraid to bring librarians into the wider community
as well. From someone who inhabits both worlds.
Diane: Some of us have been doing that for some time, but it ain't easy, and we need to
pay more attention to their needs
Tom: Are we talking about translations of DCAM into French, Chinese... and Librarianese?
Aaron: +1 @tbaker
Diane: Gordon, yes, Andy once told me that he'd used some library ideas in DCAM.
Tom: Instead of "DCAM for Dummies", how about "DCAM for Librarians" and "DCAM
for Data Modelers".
GordonD: @Tom, we need to ensure the (familiar) concepts expressed in DCAM
are seen to be familiar by Librarians, archivists, and anybody who knows
about relational databases ...
Tom: @GordonD Understood
Diane: DCAM for non-technical users.
Tom Baker <[log in to unmask]>