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DigiCULT
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Info
33
that support metadata.These tools and
technologies support all types of metadata,
not just DC metadata. A prime example of
this is the work on registries by UKOLN
(http://www.ukoln.ac.uk), the European
Commission, and other bodies like OCLC
(Online Computer Library Centre:
http://www.oclc.org/). It seems to me that
any projects on registries and any real-life
implementations of registries have all been
initiated as a result of the work of the
DCMI DC-Registries Working Group. It
is a similar case with application profiles.
These are probably one of the more signif-
icant technologies for helping to achieve
metadata interoperability being developed
currently, and without DCMI the work of
CEN (European Committee for Standar-
disation, http://www.cenorm.be/cenorm/
index.htm) on application profiles, for
example, would have taken a lot longer to
initiate. Again, if RDF ever takes off and
lives up to the promise envisaged for it
in the `Semantic Web' concept,
41
this will
be due, in no small part, to the use and
encouragement of this technology by
metadata communities.
S
o, all we information professionals have
a lot for which to thank the DCMI.
And the DCMES is developing to take
into account the practical needs of the
communities that make up the DCMI.
Thus, the purpose of working groups such
as DC-Government is not to develop a set
of elements for government resource dis-
covery but to look at ways to make
DCMES more relevant to the task of dis-
covering government resources. DCMI
Working Groups are not about developing
more metadata standards (we all know that
there are already more than enough out
there) but to help make the DCMES do
what it does a little bit better for specific
communities. I think this is a crucial point
for everyone to understand if we do not
understand this, then we do not under-
stand properly what the purpose, aims and
drivers of the DCMI are.
shining example for us all.The DCMI was
the first truly global community, in the
area we can generalise by calling informa-
tion management, to develop a successful
metadata standard. DCMI showed that it
can be done that a diverse group of indi-
viduals can work together to develop a
standard that can be used globally by all
the communities which participated in its
development. DCMI demonstrated that
such communities can be put together and
can work cooperatively to achieve their
aims and desired outcomes.The Dublin
Core metadata element set, despite its flaws
and shortcomings, is a viable standard for
resource discovery metadata, as is shown by
its very widespread implementation across
a large range of communities.Without the
example of DCMI I do not think there
would be groups like ERPANET
(http://www.erpanet.org), and the other
global initiatives in the field of informa-
tion/knowledge management.
T
he second area in which I believe that
all metadata implementers and practi-
tioners should be eternally grateful to
DCMI is the work on other technologies
significant DC theorist, has said, DC meta-
data is a set of signposts for digital surfers,
i.e. it is there to guide people to resources,
and does not claim to be a GPS system or
even a road map.Those who try to fit
DCMES into tasks for which it was never
designed are the ones making the mistakes.
It is not the fault of the DCMES that it
cannot be used for record-keeping, or for
database management, or for preservation
metadata, except insofar as the success of
DC has encouraged people to think it can
be bent sufficiently to allow it to fit almost
any application involving metadata.Those
who try to misshape the DCMES in these
ways do not understand enough about
metadata or enough about the aims and
purposes of DC, and DC itself should not
be blamed for such misuse.
T
he Dublin Core community began in
1995, mostly comprised of people
from the North American library and aca-
demic communities, but DCMI partici-
pants quickly became truly global in
nature.This is where the major success of
the Dublin Core community lies, and it is
an achievement that should be taken as a
National Archives of Australia
HA
TII (UofGlasgow),
Seam
us Ross
,
2003
41 Cf. DigiCULT's Thematic Issue 3:Towards a Semantic Web for Heritage Resources (http://www.digicult.info/down
loads/thematic_issue_3_low.pdf).