Server Newsoss4lib: An Interview with Paul Everitt and Ken Manheimer of Digital Creations,...

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

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.

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…

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?

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.

RegulatingYourPages, mentioned above, details this.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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?

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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