Yesterday the Dublin Core Conference 2008 (DC 2008) started in Berlin. The first day I spent with several Dublin Core Tutorials and with running after my bag, which I had forgotten in the train. Luckily the train ended in Berlin so I only had to get to the other part of the town to recover it! The rest of the day I visited the DC-Tutorials by Pete Johnston and Marcia Zeng (slides are online as PDF). The tutorials were right but somehow lost a bit between theory and practise (see Paul’s comment) – I cannot tell details but there must be a way to better explain and summarize Dublin Core in short. The problem may be in a fuzzy definition of Dublin Core. To my taste there are far to many “cans”, “shoulds”, and “mays” instead of formal “musts”. I would also stress more the importance of publicating stable URIs for everything and using syntax schemas.
What really annoys me on DC is the low committement of the Dublin Core Community to RDF. RDF is not propagated as fbase but only as one possible way to encode Dublin Core. The same way you could have argued in the early 1990s that HTTP/HTML is just one framework to build on. That’s right, and of course RDF is not the final answer to metadata issues – but it’s the state-of-the-art to encode structured data on the web. I wonder when the Dublin Core Community lost tight connection with the W3C/RDF community (which on her part was spoiled by the XML community). In official talks you don’t hear this hidden stories of the antipathies and self-interests in standardization.
The first keynote that I heard at day 2 was given by Jennifer Trant about results of steve.museum – one of the best projects that analyzes tagging in real world environments. Data, software and publications are available to build upon. The second talk – “Encoding Application Profiles in a Computational Model of the Crosswalk” by Carol Jean Godby (PDF-slides) – was interesting as well. In our library service center we deal a lot with translations (aka mappings, crosswalks etc.) between metadata formats, so the crosswalk web service by OCLC and its description language may be of large use – if it is proberly documented and supported. After this talk Maria Elisabete Catarino reported with “Relating Folksonomies with Dublin Core” (PDF-slides) from a study on the purposes and usage of social tagging and whether/how tags could be encoded by DC terms.