[Accessforall] Thoughts on Metadata

Liddy Nevile liddy at sunriseresearch.org
Mon Feb 6 21:48:39 UTC 2012

I know some people like the ideas to appear on this list but please  
can we make sure that all ideas end up on the wiki. Otherwise I think  
we will have overlapping conversations and end up with a mess!

I am lucky enough to be spending a few days with Eric Miller. I think  
there are major advances in how the web works and what is coming  
available. My discussions with him only increase my feeling that we  
should be organising the needs and preferences as they are discovered  
- that is, they should be defined and we should have a clear 'mapping'  
of how they relate one to another.

Andy has talked about relationships between needs etc. This is an  
important aspect of a need so that I can have a broad wish and you can  
have a very detailed and specific version of that. It is also very  
important so that if your system does not know about the detailed need  
you have, at least it will know that it is a qualified version of one  
of the things your system does know about.

Finally, it lets us be assured that we can always cater for a new or  
more precise version of a need - ie we can have an extensible set.

My understanding of the pairs that Gottfried is talking about then  
allows us to include the relationships in the definitions.

So while I am not sure what Andy is advocating, I ask yet again if we  
can please learn about the needs and preferences by talking to as many  
people as possible who can inform us about what they are, and then can  
we start to organise them, please.

ps - I am putting this on the wiki....


On 07/02/2012, at 8:25 AM, Andy Heath wrote:

> This may need an agenda item to discuss.
> I have an action item due completion end of Feb to list/summarise  
> Metadata efforts - this may be wrong but is how I understand it  
> right now anyway.  However, I haven't yet taken any action to move  
> it forwards and its worth explaining why. Let me first state that I  
> am using the term Metadata to mean "stuff about data" not stuff  
> about people - so preferences are not Metadata in this usage (not  
> everyone uses this definition).
> I've been thinking about what needs doing here and come to the  
> conclusion that driving anything from the Metadata end in this work  
> is not the right way to go.  My feeling on this is that we should  
> *only* be building preferences architecture and content (and *some*  
> uses of preferences) into the basic structure of the standard.  I  
> agree Gottfried's proposed approach to do this on attribute-value  
> pairs each pair representing a preference is a good way to do it  
> (sorry if I labelled it wrong) and that any relevant Metadata  
> approach should be "mapped" *to* that or built on top of it and not  
> the other way around. Further there are a *huge* range of Metadata  
> schemes out there, all tied up with the politics of organisations  
> that use them or that make money from them and its an error to allow  
> the preference work to get entangled in arguments around those or  
> their politics.
> Even further, my thinking is
> 1. that there will be many schemes/structures built on top of the  
> preferences and they won't necessarily work together or even  
> factorise (mathematically I mean partition the space).
> 2. That all work related to Metadata (and probably all work related  
> things like device properties) should probably come from or have a  
> *very* strong relationship with the marketplace - which means  
> vendors of content and vendors of platforms.  Perhaps there should  
> be *some* influence by the very largest of organisations using  
> Metadata - but this is very very messy - we would imho really want  
> to get those players on board not be doing it *for* them.  Well they  
> already *are* on-board aren't they (I'm thinking Cloud4All) ?  I  
> don't know what vendors are in Cloud4all.  I don't see any point at  
> all in designing ideal Metadata approaches that will then be ignored  
> by the marketplace chasing its own business cases (this *is* what we  
> have been doing for years). We are in an environment where business  
> cases are moving very fast, particularly around publishing and I see  
> it as essential that we are working *with* business cases that are  
> in active use or that vendors are developing right now. This might  
> mean ignoring existing Metadata schemes completely.
> So what would I do ?
> a. for now, just ignore Content Metadata Schemes and develop the  
> preferences (ensuring only that techniques to implement each  
> preference are available *somewhere*)
> b. take those preferences to vendors (e.g. Cloud4All) and develop  
> *with* those vendors the needed Metadata schemes in concert with  
> their implementation
> c. bring those schemes (and possibly parts of implementations) back  
> into the standards as examples of how the preferences could be used  
> in particular scenarios (but not the *only* way the preferences can  
> be used).
> I hope this makes some kind of sense and I'm happy to elaborate/ 
> discuss on the call or the list.
> Cheers
> andy
> -- 
> __________________
> Andy Heath
> http://axelafa.com
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