background image
The principal question which future research should answer is the one about the PIF's useful-
ness.There is, however, a host of other, more detailed questions, which further research should
help to answer. For example, what other index types might be useful? Are other fragment types
necessary, e.g., ranges of lines or fragments of images? What manipulation facilities are needed?
Are the basic ones sufficient (creation, modification of indexes), or should we provide advanced
facilities, like set operations (union, intersection) or conversion between index types? What kinds
of display facilities are needed? Should preference be given to the tool's ease of use or to its power?
And, more technically: does RDF provide a sound platform for the realization of the PIF and
PIF-like tools?
An important final question is: how can we expand this facility to other emblem sites? The
crucial elements here are a shared data model, a way to identify an emblem's constituent parts,
and a mechanism of data exchange between projects.The Glasgow "Spine" should help us estab-
lish the shared data model;
14
for the exchange of data OAI-PMH seems to be the way forward.
15
Therefore, if projects create unique identifiers for the emblem constituents, it should be feasible
to build a public index facility, capable of pointing to any emblem available on the Internet.
A facility like this will not be constructed overnight. Let us hope, however, it will not take us
another 25 years to complete.After all, the emblem was influenced, and influenced in its turn, by
a multitude of other genres. Once the possibility of indexing multiple emblem sites has been cre-
ated, this could be expanded to cover florilegia, books of proverbs, fable books, occasional poetry
and prints, paintings, and all the other works of art that partook in the early modern Web of quo-
tations of which the emblem is such a fascinating component.
14
A template defining an abstract
emblem data structure has been
developed by Stephen Rawles, Glas-
gow University. See his "A Spine of
Information Headings for Emblem-
Related Electronic Resources" in
the present DigiCULT Publication.
15
See Carl Lagoze and Herbert Van
de Sompel, The Open Archives Initia-
tive Protocol for Metadata Harvesting,
Protocol Version 2.0 of 2002-06-14,
http://www.openarchives.org/OAI/
openarchivesprotocol.html.
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