[OAI-implementers] usefulness of free text fields

Andy Powell a.powell@ukoln.ac.uk
Tue, 31 Jul 2001 12:31:24 +0100 (BST)

On Fri, 27 Jul 2001, Joe Futrelle wrote:

> Hang on, isn't the "usage" tag defined in the e-prints about schema
> and not in OAI proper?  And so this discussion only pertains to
> archives using that schema, right?
> I hope so.

The 'about' container within an OAI record can be formatted according to
whatever schema you like.  In the RDN implementation of OAI [1] we use DC
metadata in the about section.  So we can (and do) put a human-readable
rights statement about our records into the dc:rights element in the
'about' container.

It seems to me that there are three areas for consideration:

A) providing a human-readable rights stamenent about an OAI record

B) providing a machine-readable rights statement about an OAI record

C) enforcing compliance with either form of statement

A) can be achieved thru the use of dc:rights as described above (or
equivalent). In practice, this isn't actually very useful (because we want
machines to be able to deal with this kind of stuff for us and, in any
case, people aren't in the habit of looking for such a statement or
reading it!!).

B) can be achieved by delivering a richer machine-readable rights
statement.  I guess this could be done by putting an ODRL [2] statement in
the 'about' container - though I haven't looked into this in any detail.
Doing B isn't perfect, but it means that cooperating software should be
able to 'do the right thing' - it works at the same kind of level as
robots.txt on the Web.

I don't know how to do C) other than at the human-to-human level (possibly
with lawyers in the loop)!!

[1] http://www.rdn.ac.uk/publications/www10/oaiposter/
[2] http://odrl.net/

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