I’ve made some noise here and there about the value of meta-data, not that I do not believe it in it nor do I think it does not exist, but mainly, I have yet to see the applied use beyond searching. Out of last week’s NMC Spring 2004 Online Conference, someone asked me, “Well doesn’t the Maricopa Learning eXchange have meta-data?”
Heck yes, the MLX Packing slip metaphor is meta-data, we just do not make a big deal about it or even identify it as such. For that matter, just about any system that is built on a database has its own unique meta-data in the fields that make up the database.
So just for grins and because Monday was quiet, I spent about 45 minutes creating Dublin Core XML.RDF meta data representations of all 800+ items in the MLX. I think.
Well, I did not have to do it 800 times, just one new template. Each MLX packing slip has way down on the bottom, a link to its meta-data in Dublinc Core format. Or simply, you can take any MLX URL such as:
and modify the URL to see the lovely DC XML data (differences shown in bold):
I had a nice iChat across the seas to David Davies, and he suggested the notion of embedding the DC descriptors in the MLX RSS feeds. This would be trivial since we already use an RSS 1.0 generator, and I can add dc: tags to the output. Actually a few are in the already, namely:
<dc:subject>…</dc:subject> <dc:creator>…</dc:creator> <dc:date>…</dc:date>
But I am still wondering, why the #$&* I would do this- as most people using RSS now are engulfed in a world only needing title, link, and description data.
I spent the bulk of the morning trying to get an implementation up of an OAI harvester script, which in theory would allows some great huge monolithic learning object entity to include our puny little collection in their federated searches. I am close, although it involved creating a duplicate data table to run the cross-over from the MLX data structure to the fields this OAI implementor requires (without diving in and re-writing their query code).
If anyone has a readable copy of Thick Headed Lunkers Guide to Meta Data For Totally Idiotic People (the version that has acronyms spelled out), I will pay a premium price for it.