Sunday, June 22, 2008

SCA Home Nations Forum

The second of the Edinburgh fora had it's focus on standards (which I participated in), and another strand on licensing.

Their was an interesting viewpoint from Alastair Dunning based on experiences with the JISC digitisation projects, that standards could no longer be dictated, given the rate of change in the information environment. Although not exactly a riposte, I agreed more with the approach from Dennis Nicholson and Paul Ells and the CDDA, that standards have to built into the project, which includes training and maintenance costs.

Interestingly one of Paul's comments was about how difficult it was to recruit appropriatly trained people - as someone who has come to this more from the library and cataloguing standards perspective, I can empathise with this. Interviewing recent library school graduates over the past few years has been an illuminating experience in that regards. As well as the technical standards, metadata creation & analysis has to be considered e.g. I've seen digitised photograph collections where this was very much lacking.

There wil always be a pool of standards for projects to choose from but the important thing is for creators to be strictly consistent in their application - your original may be superseded but then you have a better chance of migrating without data loss. Additionally once you can map a standard you can create crosswalks and gateways for interoperability.

On the larger scale, there needs to be a framework for organisations who promote standards to better collaborate.

ETA: This meeting has been extensively blogged, complete with presentation at the SCA blog
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