[OAI-implementers] Re: Reconsidering mandatory DC in OAI-PMH

Matthew Cockerill matt@biomedcentral.com
Wed, 6 Aug 2003 13:58:29 +0100

I think this is an example of what a previous poster referred to as 
'one person's piece of coal being another person's diamond'

To me it seems like a huge benefit that information about the video holdings
of www.teachersdomain.com (including title, description, creator info, and
URL) are accessible through an aggregator like NSDL.

It is a relatively minor point that the DC metadata classifies them  as
being of type "image", especially since:
 (a) it's surely better for them to be listed by NSDL than not listed at all
(which might well be the case if NSDL did not have a baseline format to rely
 (b) the description will presumably make very clear that they are videos.
 (c) the Dublin Core spec clearly states that the Type 'Image' applies to
visual material including both 'still images' and 'moving images', which
seems fair enough, and reasonably logical.


Sure, an end user not familiar with Dublin Core might incorrectly assume the
term 'Image' refers to only still images, but that is a presentation issue.
NSDL should certainly be aware of how the DC controlled vocabulary is
defined, and so they might well choose, for example, to refer use a more
human-friendly description of the Image type, and call it:
'Images, videos, animations etc'.

As Dublin Core and other metadata standards evolve, it may be that the
OAI-PMH can evolve to *recommend* the support of various other metadata
standards, in addition to the baseline.

But that wouldn't negate the huge benefit of having a baseline format that
is not just recommended but required for compliance.


Matthew Cockerill Ph.D.
Technical Director
BioMed Central Limited (http://www.biomedcentral.com)
34-42, Cleveland Street
London W1T 4LB

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bob Donahue [mailto:bob_donahue@wgbh.org]
> Sent: 06 August 2003 13:33
> To: oai-implementers@oaisrv.nsdl.cornell.edu
> Subject: [OAI-implementers] Re: Reconsidering mandatory DC in OAI-PMH
> Our problem is that the requirement of unqualified Dublin Core causes 
> the metadata to be EXTREMELY INACCURATE to the point of it 
> almost rendering
> our reporting useless.  My frustration is that I feel "stuck" in a 
> schema that wasn't built to be extendable and that doesn't 
> (apparently)
> have a way to self-correct to handle situations where items don't fit
> the limited preconceived notion of what items were expected to be in a
> particular repository without resorting to a "bash the square peg into
> the round hole anyway" approach.
> In our repository, many of the digital assets are video.  
> However due to 
> extreme short-sightedness on some group's part, video isn't 
> included in the
> list of media formats and is deprecated to "image".  So, 
> anyone finding
> our collection through (for example) the NSDL gets the first 
> impression
> that we're a collection of still images and a few documents.  
>  This hinders
> our efforts considerably.  I don't think anyone would say this isn't a
> fundamental problem.
> Furthermore, the list of elements in *unqualified* DC is 
> insufficient to
> adequately describe digital assets, particularly multimedla.  
> My intent
> has been to "just" support oai_dc because I had to, then find 
> a metadata
> format that actually works.  Dumping oai_dc for either a "new 
> and improved"
> version (i.e., one that permits higher accuracy in descriptions) or 
> another default metadata system is preferable to clinging to 
> an outmoded
> system that's already obsolete and a poor fit to the contents of many
> repositories.   Along with the addage "if it ain't broke, 
> don't fix it"
> should be inscribed "if it doesn't work, DON'T CLING TO IT 
> ANYWAY".  :-)
> I guess the way to placate both camps (or leave them equally 
> frustrated)
> would be to create an "extended" oai_dc replacement within 
> which "classic" oai_dc will work without alteration.  The 
> extensions would provide the
> means to extend the metadata to encompass new media types (and several
> older ones), and more freedom to make changes in the future.  I can't
> see a standards using DC working without qualifications, myself.
> Bob Donahue
> WGBH Interactive
> Teachers' Domain:  http://www.teachersdomain.org/
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