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August 27, 2007

Sunday night in Singapore (DC-2007 Second Installment)

I'm writing this late on Sunday night in Singapore (though it may be Monday morning before I have network access to post it - Internet access from my hotel room is pretty expensive so I'm trying to schedule my "windows" of use for maximum effectiveness, and there are a couple of other things I need network access to do tomorrow!)

I arrived in Singapore on Friday evening after a long but problem-free flight from Heathrow and got through immigration quickly, and I made the half-hour or so trip from the airport to the city centre using the Singapore MRT underground system (which seems to be fantastically efficient and cheap - certainly in comparison with the systems we are used to in the UK!).

Although I've been here 48 hours or so now, I still haven't seen much of the city yet, as I've spent the last two days sitting in as a guest on the meeting of the DCMI Usage Board, the committee which manages the DCMI metadata vocabularies (and from which Andy recently stepped down as a member). These meetings tend to be quite "intense" sessions with very concentrated discussions of issues related to the DCMI terms and their use, and occasionally heated arguments, but they also provide a great opportunity to get a feel for current thinking within DCMI.

As a guest of the UB, I'm not in a position to disclose details of any decisions made: the UB is still in the process of dotting the I's and crossing the T's on the record of the meting, and I understand that the formal process is that those decisions must be first ratified by the Directorate, but the main areas for discussion over the last couple of says were:

  • a review of comments made on the proposal for changes to DCMI term descriptions circulated for public comment in July, and deciding how to proceed with changes based on that proposal
  • a review of comments made on the proposal for domains and ranges to DCMI terms also circulated for public comment in July, and deciding how to proceed with changes based on that proposal
  • a discussion of the work by Mikael Nilsson on the draft specification for a Description Set Profile model (Mikael and his colleague Fredrik Enoksson were also present as guests for most of the meeting, having demonstrated dedication beyond the call of duty in dashing straight from the airport to get to the meeting on Saturday lunchtime - I'm not sure I could have managed a coherent sentence in similar circumstances on Friday night...), and more specifically the impact of this work on the UB's approach to reviewing DC Application Profiles

Dcapmodel_2 During last week, Tom Baker, DCMI's Director of Specifications and Documentation and Chair of the UB, circulated what I think is a very helpful diagram which I include here: I think this diagram serves both to illustrate the relationships of the DSP model to other specifications, and also to highlight that what DCMI has traditionally called a DC Application Profile is in fact a "composite construct" made up of several inter-dependent components. From the perspective of the UB, this model helps in the formulation of the questions to be considered during the process of reviewing a DC Application Profile, and in particular, I think, the central importance - both to the developer of the profile and to the reviewer - of a clear specification of what functions the profile is designed to support. Without such a specification, it is difficult to make an informed assessment of the value of the sort of "structural" constraints described by a Description Set Profile.

I think Tom will also be using this model as the cornerstone of his presentation to the plenary session on Tuesday, and it may re-surface in various sessions throughout the conference, particularly those which are focused on the development of DC Application Profiles.

More updates to follow during the conference proper!

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I'd intended to have a go at live blogging the first day proper of the DC-2007 conference yesterday, but the combination of my inability to produce rapid notes remotely worthy of exposing to a wider readership and a somewhat intermittent [Read More]

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