We are fully aware of efforts to create and use a standardized record format for
cataloging selected World Wide Web and other Internet resources; of
particular note is the OCLC/NCSA Metadata Workshop
Report, a report of the March 1995 Metadata Workshop,
sponsored by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) and the National
Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). The theoretical, philosophical and practical issues discussed by workshop
participants is summarized well in a recent article by Caplan (Caplan: 19-23, 1995)
Although we have decided not to standardize the format of data within a record,
many of the categories recommended for describing a resource
within the CyberStacks(sm) scheme are identical or similar in function to
the metadata elements of the Dublin Metadata Core Element Set (Dublin Core) described in
the workshop report.
While the Dublin Core seeks to identify and isolate the data elements of an
Internet resource, the summary information provided for a selected resource
within CyberStacks(sm) is intended to describe the resource only to the
extent that uses are able to judge the potential value of that resource.
Our focus is not to analyze a resource and delineate each of its
potentially important data elements, but to characterize it. We believe that
the meaning and value of a given resource can be conveyed as well, or better,
by structure and organization. We believe that the CyberStacks(sm) scheme
provides meaning through context; a context that is appropriate and relevant to
users while seeking a resource which may satisfy an information need.
While we prefer to describe resources within CyberStacks(sm) more
holistically than analytically, we understand the desire
to identify and define core data elements. Although we do not believe that
an exhaustive, analyzed set is necessary for use within our scheme, we
believe that a set such as the Dublin Core can provide the optimal level of
descriptive and subject cataloging for World Wide Web and other Internet resources
that will facilitate their incorporation within emergent as well as
conventional information and retrieval systems and services.
We also do not believe that the holistic approach taken by CyberStacks(sm)
and the more analytical approach represented by the Dublin Core are mutually
exclusive. Indeed, many of the planned
for CyberStacks(sm) will require the manipulation of delineated data elements
to be realized.
Priscilla Caplan, "You call it corn, we call it syntax-independent metadata for
document-like objects," The Public-access computer systems review