background image
tracts must include a proviso to make the digitized content available after a time sufficient to allow
the original publisher to recoup the costs incurred in performing the work of digitization and
distribution.
What remains, then, is making effective the principles enunciated above so that a truly collab-
orative effort towards digitizing the European emblem corpus can begin without further delay. For
this to happen, we need to make publicly visible our commitment to a common effort, and it will
be important to reach agreement on some matters that until now have been left in abeyance,
though to some extent they are implicit in agreements already reached. Ensuring interoperability
and establishing consensus on expected audience are two areas of emerging importance.
T
he third phase of emblem digitization, potentially the most productive by far, will thus be
characterized by a set of emergent resolutions intended to formalize existing consensus in
the public arena and to move beyond the fundamental agreements of principle that we have
already reached to a framework that will permit collaborative digitization of the corpus to pro-
ceed as expeditiously as possible while ensuring maximal interoperability. In other words, we now
need to move beyond shared standards to a set of shared goals that we can state publicly without
delay.
Our public statement should include formal agreement on commitment to a core set of tech-
nical standards.
18
It should also set out our agreement, where possible, on core content and meta-
data and on the standards to be employed in encoding those features.
19
It should list which teams
will be responsible for digitizing various emblem titles and give adequate information on the
provenance, ownership, and bibliographical particularities of the copies used.
20
Most important-
ly, this statement should include a commitment to make digitized content publicly available
through a single point of public access: the commitment by the project members at the Univer-
sity of Illinois to implement an emblem portal is clearly a first important step in this direction.
21
To a large extent, a decision to flow basic content and metadata - provided that data structures
and tagging are indeed consistent from one project to another - through a portal should obviate
concerns about interface design, leaving individual projects free to design their own interfaces based
on their own preferences.The question of audience level, however, has not yet been settled and
should no doubt be treated as a matter of priority.A decision about whether we intend primarily
to make as much emblem content as possible available to scholars or whether our main goal is to
ensure that the European emblem reaches the widest possible audience will have far-reaching
implications for design and implementation. At present, it is probably fair to say that the scale of
the work to be undertaken simply to digitize the primary emblem content is such as to preclude
any realistic possibility of adding vernacular translations - beyond those intrinsically part of the
emblem corpus - or glosses on the content. At a later stage, however, it will be important to add
such material as part of the increasing need to make research results accessible to a broad educat-
ed public: this, in turn, will no doubt bear directly on our ability to secure funding for our efforts.
Within a year, then, we should have reached final agreement on all core standards, including
technical specifications and the structure of core content and metadata.We should also have an
explicit agreement by that time on which teams will take responsibility for digitizing the "pri-
mary corpus," which in practice can be taken to mean that set of emblem material to which each
team has ready access and which it considers to be its highest priority. Finally, we should have
established a formal consortium and published our core standards in order to stake a clear public
claim to our areas of main interest.
Within about three years, the primary corpus should be completely digitized and published
on the sites of the individual teams. Core content from all emblematic material from the primary
corpus should be available through a common portal interface with links back to the originals so
18
On the basis of discussions to
date, these would probably include
publication of medium-resolution
JPEG images drawn from archival-
quality TIFFs; storage of emblem
texts in text-only files; tagging of
texts using a set of XML structures
to be refined on the basis of work
done primarily in Utrecht (http://
emblems.let.uu.nl/emblems/html/);
tagging of image data using ICON-
CLASS identifiers as suggested by
Peter Boot, and Peter van Huisstede
(see http://www.mnemosyne.org/).
The work of Tamás Sajó of Studi-
olum falls into a separate category, as
it uses proprietary commercial soft-
ware, distribution on CD-ROM, and
a publication process that is appar-
ently independent of emblem library
collections.
19
Further work needs to be done
on mapping Dublin Core metadata
structures to the "Spine of Informa-
tion" drawn up by Stephen Rawles.
As well, it seems clear that some
projects (e.g., Glasgow, Utrecht, La
Coruña) will aim to include full-text
searching, while others (Illinois and
the HAB,Wolfenbüttel) will digitize
entire books, but only the mottos
and the descriptors for the images
will be searchable. As long as there is
agreement on how included content
is stored, tagged and retrieved, this is
by no means problematic, as missing
content can always be added at a
later date.
20
In some cases, it will almost
certainly be necessary to supplement
incomplete or defective copies with
material taken from different copies;
such cases should be clearly docu-
mented.
21
http://images.library.uiuc.edu/
projects/emblems/.
17
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