One of the DRC developers had a question recently that sparked a discussion about what to do with collections of objects. In order to answer the question of how to represent the notion of a collection within the repository, we’re going to have to get pretty heavy into RDF: the Resource Description Framework. RDF is a language created by the Worldwide Web Consortium “for representing information about resources in the World Wide Web.” If you already know about RDF — or just want to see what a proposed solution is — you can skip down to the “RDF for Collections in FEDORA” heading.
What follows is a summary and commentary on the LITA Top Technology Trends meeting at ALA annual conference in New Orleans on 25-Jun-2006. What I’ve tried to do is collate comments from the panel members and add my own commentary (marked off as such from the rest of the summary) where I thought I had something useful to add. It is my hope that this summary is a faithful representation of the statements made by the participants in the panel. If not, please let me know privately or in the comment area here and I will make the appropriate corrections on the body of the blog post.
Last week’s Chronicle of Higher Education Review had an opinion piece by Kate Wittenberg, director of EPIC (Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia) with the title “Beyond Google: What Next for Publishing?” (subscription required). An excerpt from the beginning:
While we have been busy attending conferences, workshops, and seminars on every possible aspect of scholarly communication, information technology, digital libraries, and e-publishing, students have been quietly revolutionizing the discovery and use of information. Their behavior, undertaken without consultation or attendance at formal academic events, urgently forces those of us in scholarly publishing to confront some fundamental questions about our organizations, jobs, and assumptions about our work.
During the cookies and lemonade break during JCDL this afternoon I surprised one of the well-respected elders of the field with this question: are we really making progress? are we winning a fight against entropy 1? I wasn’t out for a quote for publication at the time so I won’t reveal the individual’s name, but I will report that there was a chuckle then the reply “cautiously optimistic.”