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ARSCLIST  May 2006

ARSCLIST May 2006

Subject:

Re: National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) Study

From:

Jon Noring <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Jon Noring <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 13 May 2006 20:30:45 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (89 lines)

Steven C. Barr wrote:
> Jon Noring" wrote:

>> For a while I've been advocating that the ARSC fraternity, working
>> with other entities, develop an *open standard* XML schema for
>> discographical information. The advantage of this is that discographical
>> data in such a format is platform- and application-independent, useful
>> as an interchange format, and there's a huge toolbase, a lot of it
>> open source, to author and process XML data documents. In addition, since
>> XML is simply text with markup (the "pointy brackets"), the XML data is
>> readable with a simple text editor (preferably a UTF-8/UTF-16 compliant
>> text editor). This makes XML documents eminently archivable and
>> repurposeable. If one is to digitally preserve discographical information
>> into the distant future, it is important that the information be in the
>> most readable form, which is plain text -- proprietary binary (non-text)
>> encodings (especially of complex data structures) *must* be avoided at
>> all costs.

> What is actually needed, IMHO, is a standardization of the core fields
> for both discographic and cataloguing databases in ANY platform...since
> the two types of databases have different, albeit overlapping, requirements
> to meet. This could also be applied to XML documents, which would be
> one specific variant of databases in general. The desired result would
> be an interapplicability of ALL collections of data concerning
> phonorecords! Note that I refer to "core fields" since each entity
> creating databases of either sort will have specific needs and wants
> for his/her/its database...for example, I have one field which tells
> me whether the disc is stored in the basement, on the ground floor
> or on the second.

I totally agree that there needs to be a single schema that melds
discographical data with collection catalog data. There is a lot of
overlap between the two realms, and having a common schema for both
will benefit discographical research and aid in the cataloging of
sound recording artifacts.

The "WEMI" system (Work-Expression-Manifestation-Item) of the FRBR
provides a good way to look at how collection catalog data is related to
discographical data.

(See: http://www.ifla.org/VII/s13/frbr/frbr.pdf )

Discussion of FRBR, if anyone is interested, for another thread.


> As well, one thing that might be possible would be for ARSC to work
> with expert database programmers to develop an application which
> could be distributed to those requiring/desiring it...with the
> thought that these standardized databases could be combined into
> an attempt at a universal database of 78rpm phonorecords...?!

Working with database developers is a good idea, preferably "open
source" rather than commercial, but commercial is fine so long as
there is a total commitment by the developer to implement the open
standard XML discographical/cataloging schema, both for importing and
exporting. If the commercial vendor resists full import/export support
of the open standard XML discographical schema, then they should be
replaced by someone who will gladly do it right (personally, whoever
does it should open source their codebase -- I'm working with a
commercial company in the ebook sector which is gladly *open sourcing*
their codebase -- they have come up with a business model where open
sourcing *their* codebase is a good thing for them.)

We *must not* go down the totally proprietary road.

I recommend that the open standard XML discographical schema be
developed within OASIS, with ARSC teaming up with other entities such
as LoC, OCLC, the Open Content Alliance (OCA, administered by Brewster
Kahle and his Internet Archive), California Digital Library, academia,
various discographical experts (of course), and maybe some recording
and song composition organizations (the latter to assure linkage of
discographical data with song/composition databases.)

It is likely that the effort, if done in OASIS, will attract several
sharp XML and open source database wonks to the effort who otherwise
would not join if the effort is done in a cloistered environment. It
is important that the schema design be cross-fertilized from other
areas of the digital media world (text, video, etc.) to assure that
what is developed will mesh with digital repositories of other content
so they may be seamlessly inter-connected. We no longer live in a world
where digital content is segregated by type -- the future is for all
digital content (and related metadata) to be interlinked in a
powerful, synergistic way.

OASIS: http://www.oasis-open.org/


Jon Noring

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