Data Format

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 enhancements for CyberStacks(sm) will require the manipulation of delineated data elements to be realized.
Cited Reference
Priscilla Caplan, "You call it corn, we call it syntax-independent metadata for document-like objects," The Public-access computer systems review 6(4):