oss4lib: An Interview with Paul Everitt and Ken Manheimer of Digital Creations, publishers of Zope Page 7

Metadata, through <meta> tags, has been built into the Web since at least HTML2. So what percentage of web pages have anything other than the "generator" metatag spewed automatically and unknowingly by FrontPage? Essentially zero.

I have hope for incremental breakthroughs like the CMF, which brings a "Wow, that's the way _everything_ should be done" response to CMS cynics. However, it's still trying to transform a mature, continuous market.

I think this takes a discontinuity, a disruptive breakthrough. Lately Rael has been talking about doing P2P for syndication. P2P could be the kind of transformative breakthrough for DC and RDF. Without a standard vocabularly across verticals (music, etc.), P2P will be another thousand islands, which dramatically lowers the utility. Unlike web pages, which generally wants content to be broadcast and rendered, P2P wants to content to be exchanged. This model demands interoperable content.

oss4lib: What more can librarians do to contribute our experience and insight to the broader software community regarding metadata issues?

Everitt: Uhh, prevent knuckleheads like me from repeating historical mistakes. It's doubtful that a disruptive technology for metadata will come out of the ranks of librarians. However, if librarians keep an open mind and don't fall prey to sacrificing the larger victory by clinging to a narrow agenda, then they can spot a winner and help guide it to adulthood.

Many thanks go to Paul and Ken for their willingness, patience, and responsiveness during the interview process.

This article was originally published on Mar 16, 2001

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