Thursday, February 10, 2005

DCMI Abstract Model released for comment

The DCMI has released a draft of the DCMI Abstract Model for public comment. I'm not quite sure what to make of it. It looks pretty much as I expected, based on traffic on the DC Architecture mailing list recently. Yet it still looks scary. For a metadata schema that is commonly referred to as simple to use, the abstract model looks out of reach of many metadata implementers.

I do see, to some degree, the value of explicitly outlining a model behind a metadata schema. And I understand that the audience of the Abstract Model document is "the developers of software applications that support Dublin Core metadata, people involved in developing new syntax encoding guidelines for Dublin Core metadata and those people developing metadata application profiles based on the Dublin Core" rather than the jack-of-all-trades librarian working to put his first digital collection into ContentDM. However, I wonder that the model doesn't deter the development of application profiles rather than make them easier to define. See, for example, the threads under the subject "Mixing and matching - not always! (was Re: XML schema (fwd)" on the DC Architecture and DC Libraries email lists over the last few days. How many communities will be willing to do the modeling work described in these threads if their schemas aren't already modeled this way? (And MOST aren't!) How often will the benefit to this work outweigh its cost (time, money, etc.)?

Two unrelated quick hits to finish up:
  • I got my iPod Shuffle today! Sweet.
  • Lawrence Lessig was portrayed on The West Wing last night by Christopher Lloyd. Others with more knowledge of Lessig than me (I read The Future of Ideas but none of his other books) can comment on the portrayal, but I thought the premise was cool.

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