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DigiCULT
.
Info
31
who developed the Greenstone open-
source Digital Library delivery system
(http://www.greenstone.org/english/home
.html), and the Online Encyclopaedia of
New Zealand project (http://www.teara.
govt.nz/).The Centre is working on a
print-on-demand repository and will con-
tinue to develop its activities to meet users'
demands well into the future.
T
he policy of outreach allows the
Centre to identify unexpected users
of its resources and collections. It has
evolved beyond the simple model on
which it was based and has become a truly
wide-ranging focus for digitisation efforts
in New Zealand. Projects with which the
Centre is currently involved include the
Greenstone project at Waikato University,
T
hrough regular seminars and the
training of graduate students, as well
as instructional outreach activities both
within the university and for the public,
NZETC is gradually building up a com-
munity of knowledge about XML, elec-
tronic publishing and the creation and use
of digital resources.
BACK TO PAGE 1
THE DUBLIN CORE AND ITS LIMITATIONS
W
ENDY
M. D
UFF
T
he Dublin Core (DC) is a simple 16-
element metadata standard for
resource discovery, which aims to facilitate
the creation of metadata by end-users.The
Dublin Core has four basic goals: simplicity
of metadata creation and maintenance,
commonly understood semantics, interna-
tional scope, and extensibility.The goal of
extensibility acknowledges that some proj-
ects and domains may find the Core inade-
quate to their needs.The Core encourages
metadata experts from other domains to
extend the Core with additional elements
as the Australian Government did when it
created the metadata standard for the
Australian Government Locator Service.
The goals of the Dublin Core should be
applauded. Information retrieval on the
Web could benefit from having consistent
metadata elements linked to resources;
however, the question remains whether or
not the Dublin Core is sufficiently robust
and usable, and sufficiently used, for
archivists to adopt. I would suggest that it
fails and that a careful examination of the
assumptions underlying it points to the
difficulties.These assumptions include the
ability and willingness of individuals and
institutions who create Web resources to
supply Dublin Core metadata, the applica-
bility of the Core to the archival domain,
as well as user expectations when they
search the Web.
END-USERS
A
s previously noted, the Core was
developed as a simple metadata
scheme that end-users could employ. A
project to conduct five annual surveys
(1998-2002) of the Web administered by
the OCLC Office of Research sheds some
light on whether creators of Web resources
use it.
37
The survey found that metadata
usage is on the rise, though it noted that
many new HTML editors automatically
supply metadata tags.The researchers
found that the average number of tags per
page went from a low of 2.32 in 1999 to a
high of 3.14 in 2002.They also noted the
limited number of pages that used formal
metadata schemes.They found that `Dublin
Core metadata appeared on only 0.5 % of
public Website home pages in 1998' and
the number rose to only 0.7 % in 2002.
They concluded that little progress had
been made in the use of metadata standards
and that existing metadata tags are ad hoc.
UNIVERSALITY AND DOMAIN NEUTRALITY
T
he principle of extensibility suggests
that other domains can use the Core
though they may need to augment it
with domain-specific elements.The unstat-
ed assumption of this principle is that the
Core is applicable across most type of
resources and that all domains could use it.
I would suggest that this requires a domain
neutrality which DC does not have.
Metadata standards involve the identifica-
tion, delineation and categorisation of
information. Categories of information
M
ETADATA
D
EBATE
:T
WO
P
ERSPECTIVES
ON
D
UBLIN
C
ORE
T
O PRESENT A BALANCED VIEW OF THE METADATA STANDARD
D
UBLIN
C
ORE
,
D
IGI
CULT.I
NFO INTERVIEWED TWO CULTURAL HERITAGE PROFESSIONALS WITH
DIFFERING OPINIONS
: D
R
A
NDREW
W
ILSON
,
THE PROJECT MANAGER OF
D
IGITAL
P
RESERVATION AT THE
N
ATIONAL
A
RCHIVES OF
A
USTRALIA
(
HTTP
://
WWW
.
NAA
.
GOV
.
AU
/),
AND
D
R
W
ENDY
D
UFF FROM THE
U
NIVERSITY OF
T
ORONTO
(
HTTP
://
WWW
.
UTORONTO
.
CA
/).
37 Rick Bennett, Edward T. O'Neill and Brian F. Lavoie, `Trends in the Evolution of the Public Web: 1998 2002',
in D-Lib Magazine (April 2003). http://www.dlib.org/dlib/april03/lavoie/04lavoie.html