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oss4lib: An Interview with Paul Everitt and Ken Manheimer of Digital Creations, publishers of Zope Page 6




oss4lib:
Implicit in this is knowing that in a given community a small subset of
folks will self-select into a group of detail-obsessives working to help
the others find and manage context-relevant information. In libraries,
it’s the catalogers; in the general public it’s folks adding to IMDB or
moderating MusicBrainz; in the hacker community, it’s folks writing
How-Tos, guiding free software projects, moderating slashdot, and so on.

Manheimer:
Truly, the power of our species is collaboration. That’s why computer
communications are making so many fundamental waves – they enable
quantum leaps in collaboration scale, immediacy, and intricacy. We’re
all only gradually learning to harness that potential. I think the
librarian sensibilities are key because they’re about systematizing
the advancements so they scale…

oss4lib:
A wiki “feature” that made a few librarian colleagues cringe was that
its mutable, dynamic nature was the only possible state. It was
agreed by all that a great function would be to enable offloading a
static snapshot of a wiki as a set of properly hyperlinked html
pages. Is it possible now to preserve a Wiki this way?

Everitt:
Sure, if that’s what people want. wget will easily snarf
down a copy of a site.

But that’s only one solution to the problem. A better solution is a
better system, one in which access control is possible and access to
previous versions (history) is there.

Manheimer:
RegulatingYourPages, mentioned above, details this.

oss4lib:
It sounds like the future of Wiki overlaps in many
ways with your plans for robust metadata support.

Everitt:
As hinted above, we already have RFC822-style headers in Wiki. For
instance, if you edit a Wiki page from an FTP client like
Emacs/ange-ftp, you’ll see the Wiki seatbelt inserted at the top of the
page.

More important, the CMF will converge with our Wiki efforts. A Wiki
page will have all the web-based and text-based authoring benefits and
metadata of a CMF document. And hopefully, a CMF document will have all
the sublime interconnecting that you see in Wiki.

oss4lib:
The no-longer-active connection with Fourthought and
4Suite was very
promising in this area; while we can always build tools that use 4Suite’s
4RDF in conjunction with Zope, a few of us were hoping for deeper
integration. What’s the outlook for general support for RDF in Zope?

Everitt: Hmm, good question. We have an ongoing dialog with Rael
Dornfest from O’Reilly. I’d be interested as well in some of your
thoughts on the subject.

oss4lib:
Btw, we found some old postings from you at your old .mil
address, in the context of GILS. So it’s clear that you’ve been thinking about
metadata on the web for a long time.

[Everitt:
Wow, you librarians
have a long memory. :^) I’m embarassed to think
what I said back then. Well, you know, I was younger then, it was a
crazy time, I didn’t know it was a felony…oh, wrong embarassment. :^)]

What’s your assessment, in early 2001, of how much we’ve progressed
overall in the metadata area? What are the most important
priorities, and is there a holy grail?

Everitt:
I don’t think we’ve made an inch of progress in the
mainstream, meaning outside of the library science displine of the
already converted.

Nearly everyone I meet (besides programmers) uses Word. They use Word
even when they shouldn’t. But almost none of them know that
File->Properties exists.

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