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DCMI Standards Community

Standardisation of Dublin Core - Additional initiatives? Discussion paper

By Leif Andresen
Chair, DCMI Standards Working Group

Discussion paper for Meeting in DCMI Standards Working Group at DC-2002 (Thursday October 17, 2002 in Florence, Italy)

Actual situation

Dublin Core 1.1 is national standard in USA (Z39.85) and Finland and is a European "prestandard" as CWA 13874: endorsing Dublin Core Metadata Element Set Version 1.1.

Z39.85 is proposed for using fast track procedure in ISO TC46 as DIS 15836, The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (DIS = Draft International Standard) to become an International Standard.

New issues for standardisation?

Possible subjects for standardisation can be user guide, qualifiers/refinements and guidelines for application profiles.

I think that User Guide may be rather a moving target and therefore difficult to standardise - it might be a better candidate for a technical report. Tying it into the ISO process automatically locks up the document. My view is that it will give more cons than pros to use this route.

The Refinements of the Dublin Core element is a moving target. Also for this a formal standardisation will lock up the document. So for this subject as well the relevant route is not a formal standard. But if we can prepare a document describing the process it may then be relevant to give this document a formal status. One way will be to make a description of the process and the registry of refinements of Dublin Core and use this description as the basis for an ISO Technical Report or a CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA) in the environment of CEN/ISSS Workshop MMI-DC. Maybe the best route will be a CWA and then if possible an ISO Technical Report.

The CEN/ISSS Workshop on MMI-DC has started a project team Application profile guidelines with the objective to define guidelines on Dublin Core Application profiles.

The work is concerned to make it an easier and better-defined process to define Application Profiles for use of the Dublin Core with specific projects or in specific application domains. It is also necessary to define guidelines to ensure consistent use of Application Profiles, to identify the decisions to be taken, the rules to be specified and to avoid any ambiguity in the interpretation of the rules. The will be a specification of guidelines for developing Dublin Core Application profiles, to become an agreed CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA). The work excludes development of profiles themselves. This work needs to be done in conjunction with other work of the MMI-DC concerned with the development of application profiles for the use of Dublin Core in specific domains. The work contains five elements:

  • Identify existing work on application profiles, developed or under development, that is to be considered (ensuring inclusion of all major application profiles).
  • Obtain experience from this work concerning profiles. This experience to include general observations, issues encountered and remaining problems. All aspects should be covered that might be helpful to designers in establishing application profiles to establish the precise rules for use of metadata in a specific project or application domain. It is also required to consider how to facilitate the use of application profiles once defined, including the standards for interoperation of distinct application profiles.
  • Collate this experience into a set of guidelines aimed at implementers to assist them with defining future application profiles and in applying these profiles.
  • Provide a semi-formal specification of what constitutes an application profile.
  • Consider and if appropriate make recommendations on how to establish a machine readable/interpretable form for application profiles.

The production of a specification of a machine-readable/interpretable form for application profiles is not an expected part of this project.

This work was started last month and the result will be a CWA in a year. Maybe the next step then can be to use this CWA as basis for an ISO Technical Report?

I hope we can discuss these possibilities in Florence later this month and during the meeting identify other possibilities.

Looking forward to seeing you in Florence at DC-2002.

7 October, 2002