Jerome McDonough of the Graduate School of Library & Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign presented a paper this summer at the Balisage conference with the title Structural Metadata and the Social Limitation of Interoperability: A Sociotechnical View of XML and Digital Library Standards Development.1 The title is very hard to penetrate, but the contents of the paper lay bare a theory for why we don’t have large, swirling pools of shared digital objects that cross institutional silo boundaries.
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:
- 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.