In 2003-2004 the ERC/Kernel group addressed its multi-part charter with a proposed six-point workplan. This plan includes officially documenting kernel metadata and its syntax rules, formally defining an ERC-equivalent external format based on XML, creating open-source software to manipulate kernel metadata, and developing best-practices for applying the four kernel elements to different object archetypes.
Some success has been had in that a draft Kernel Metadata Specification document is available, as well as some production-quality software for rendering records and doing date normalization for the ERC format. Willingness on the part of working group members has been expressed to conduct a formal evaluation of kernel metadata in a university teaching environment, and to develop software for validation. Another offer to write and test some software conversion routines (from/to an XML format) resulted in the creation and release to the group of a testbed set of 1,600 sample ERC records. A draft of an XML-ERC format is in preparation and due in early September.
In early September, a new release of the Amberfish search engine was made available from the working group mailing list site that indexes ERC records. A prototype of the Isearch web interface is also available; among other things, it converts ERC Kernel metadata into the SUTRS, HTML, XML, and US MARC formats.
There is no progress to report on the creation of application guidelines by area specialists, but this work item came up relatively recently in the working group. It is expected that internationalization will emerge as an important topic in the coming year.