Processing Raw Fedora Objects

Michael J. Giarlo wrote a very nice summary of my FEDORA trilogy (only three parts so far — I think there are more good things to say about FEDORA; and besides, I like Douglas Adams’ concept of what a trilogy should be), and added a piece that I hadn’t considered:

  1. Having one’s objects stored as XML on the filesystem also opens up opportunities to see how tools which act thereupon might be glued into the repository infrastructure. One such example might be for an XML-aware search engine (such as amberfish, Lucene, or Zebra). Since you’ve got low-level access to these files, it would be fairly simple to tack on a search & indexing system that is independent of your choice of repository.

Wow. Now that is a powerful concept. Not only do we not need FEDORA in the future to read our digital objects, we don’t need FEDORA now to read our digital objects. This would take a little digging to see if it is true, but if Fedora really does serialize the XML back to the FOXML file on disk for every change made to it, then one really could use the FOXML files on disk as a surrogate for the FEDORA application itself. After having conversations with Dan Davis about what it means to live in a Service-Oriented Architecture, I yearn for a time when FEDORA and other OhioLINK applications can send messages to each other. But for now, simply having another application that looks at the file modification timestamps on files to see if they have changed and should be processed in some way is a very interesting idea. It make sense, for instance, as a way to feed new/modified objects into an indexing application or a notification application. Or to ‘rsync’ a backup hot-spare server with content from the live server.

You hit all of points exactly right in your summary, Michael, and thanks for triggering a new line of thinking about how to exploit FEDORA to its fullest potential.

The text was modified to update a link from http://staff.washington.edu/leftwing/wordpress/2006/05/02/the-jesters-case-for-fedora/ to http://lackoftalent.org/michael/blog/2006/05/02/the-jesters-case-for-fedora/.

(This post was updated on 27-Oct-2010.)