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January 17, 2007

Prospecting for ORE

At the end of last week, I attended the first meeting of the - deep breath - Open Archives Initiative Object Reuse and Exchange Technical Committee (that's OAI ORE TC from now on!). As you can see from that page, I'm not actually a member of the committee, but Andy wasn't able to attend this time, and asked me to deputise.

ORE is a recently launched project within the OAI, and is funded by the Mellon Foundation, with some additional support from the National Science Foundation. The TC meeting was held at the Butler Library of Columbia University on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and was chaired/facilitated by Carl Lagoze and Herbert Van de Sompel as co-ordinators of the project.

As I had anticipated, it turned out to be a fairly dense couple of days with a good deal of (occasionally heated, but always well-argued and good-humoured!) debate, deftly chaired by Herbert and Carl. On the first day, they gave a quite in-depth overview of the project, based on a paper that had been circulated to us in advance of the meeting, and then invited us to present some comments in response. I presented a few slides in which I argued for a "resource-oriented" approach to providing the key repository functions that had been outlined. Other members of the committee offered their own perspectives on the problem space.

For the second day of the meeting we focused in on some more specific elements of the activity, considering aspects of scope, the "audiences" for the ORE deliverables, and identifying some use cases that should be developed. In the afternoon we turned our attention to the data model that will form the basis of whatever specifications ORE develops or recommends. It seems to me this is probably one of the key components of the ORE effort, and it became clear during our discussions that one of the challenges is developing a model which is sufficiently specific to support the functions required while remaining sufficiently generic to be useful to a wide range of implementers working with different resource types and their own application-level data models.

Herbert and Carl are working on distilling the results of the meeting and will be presenting them in a plenary session at the Open Repositories 2007 conference in San Antonio, Texas next week.

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This is just a very brief follow-up to my earlier post to note that the report of the OAI ORE TC meeting held in New York City a couple of weeks ago is now available. Also recently posted to the [Read More]

Comments

Thanks for the update. I was pleased to hear you lobbied hard for a resource oriented approach...are your slides available anywhere? Reading between the lines a bit it sounds like this approach caused a stir.

For my slides, see

http://www.eduserv.org.uk/foundation/publications/2007-01-oaioretc/

I'm not sure they really "caused a stir", but I just wanted to be clear that there were different views expressed and to avoid suggesting that a decision had been taken one way or the other to adopt or reject such an approach.

As an aside, I was in the middle of tweaking my slides when I was asked to present. I was/am a little bit uneasy with that version, which treats "Representation" as a resource type, and I was trying to put together an alternative based on my final slide, which talks in terms of more generic/specific "objects", sort of along the lines suggested here

http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Generic

But we were going in reverse alphabetical order of surname, and I thought I had another hour and a tea break to edit and get my thoughts in order before we got to the "J"'s - but then I discovered that as I was standing in for Andy, I had been sequenced under "P". My protestations that we were not in fact the same resource were to no avail! ;-)

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