(Attention: lurker emerging)

To me what it comes down to is neither simplicity nor complexity, but 
extensibility. In a perfect world, our data models should be capable of 
representing very sophisticated and robust relationships at a high level 
of granularity, while still accommodating ease of metadata production 
and contribution (especially by non-experts and those outside the 
library community).

I agree that none of our existing data structures/syntaxes are /a priori 
/fundamental or infallible. But what is promising to me about RDF is its 
intuitive mode of expression and extensibility (exactly the kind I 
advocate above).


Han, Yan wrote:
> Bill and Peter,
> Very nice posts. XML, RDF, MARC and DC are all different ways to present information in a way (of course, XML, RDF, and DC are easier to read/processed by machine). 
> However, down the fundamentals, I think that it can go deeper, basically data structure and algorithms making things works. RDF (with triples) is a directed graph. Graph is a powerful (the most powerful?) data structure that you can model everything. However, some of the graph theory/problems are NP-hard problems. In fundamental we are talking about Math. So a balance needs to be made. (between how complex the model is and how easy(or possible) to get it implemented). As computing power grows, complex data modeling and data mining are on the horizon.
> Yan
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Peter Schlumpf
> Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2009 10:09 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [CODE4LIB] You got it!!!!! Re: [CODE4LIB] Something completely different
> Bill,
> You have hit the nail on the head!!!!!  This is EXACTLY what I am trying to do!  It's the underlying stuff that I am trying to get at.   Looking at RDF may yield some good ideas.  But I am not thinking in terms of RDF or XML, triples, or MARC, standards, or any of that stuff that gets thrown around here.  Even the Internet is not terribly necessary.  I am thinking in terms of data structures, pointers, sparse matrices, relationships between objects and yes, set theory too -- things like that.  The former is pretty much cruft that lies upon the latter, and it mostly just gets in the way.  Noise, as you put it, Bill!
> A big problem here is that Libraryland has a bad habit of getting itself lost in the details and going off on all kinds of tangents.  As I said before, the biggest prison is between the ears!!!!  Throw out all that junk in there and just start over!  When I begin programming this thing my only tools will be a programming language (C or Java) a text editor (vi) and my head.  But before I really start that, right now I am writing a paper that explains how this stuff works at a very low level.  It's mostly an effort to get my thoughts down clearly, but I will share a draft of it with y'all on here soon.
> Peter Schlumpf
> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Bill Dueber <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Apr 9, 2009 10:37 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Something completely different
>> On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 10:26 AM, Mike Taylor <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> I'm not sure what to make of this except to say that Yet Another XML
>>> Bibliographic Format is NOT the answer!
>> I recognize that you're being flippant, and yet think there's an important
>> nugget in here.
>> When you say it that way, it makes it sound as if folks are debating the
>> finer points of OAI-MARC vs MARC-XML -- that it's simply syntactic sugar
>> (although I'm certainly one to argue for the importance of syntactic sugar)
>> over the top of what we already have.
>> What's actually being discussed, of course, is the underlying data model.
>> E-R pairs primarily analyzed by set theory, triples forming directed graphs,
>> whether or not links between data elements can themselves have attributes --
>> these are all possible characteristics of the fundamental underpinning of a
>> data model to describe the data we're concerned with.
>> The fact that they all have common XML representations is noise, and
>> referencing the currently-most-common xml schema for these things is just
>> convenient shorthand in a community that understands the exemplars. The fact
>> that many in the library community don't understand that syntax is not the
>> same as a data model is how we ended up with RDA.  (Mike: I don't know your
>> stuff, but I seriously doubt you're among that group. I'm talkin' in
>> general, here.)
>> Bibliographic data is astoundingly complex, and I believe wholeheartedly
>> that modeling it sufficiently is a very, very hard task. But no matter the
>> underlying model, we should still insist on starting with the basics that
>> computer science folks have been using for decades now: uids  (and, these
>> days, guids) for the important attributes, separation of data and display,
>> definition of sufficient data types and reuse of those types whenever
>> possible, separation of identity and value, full normalization of data, zero
>> ambiguity in the relationship diagram as a fundamental tenet, and a rigorous
>> mathematical model to describe how it all fits together.
>> This is hard stuff. But it's worth doing right.
>> -- 
>> Bill Dueber
>> Library Systems Programmer
>> University of Michigan Library

Casey A. Mullin
Discovery Metadata Librarian
Metadata Development Unit
Stanford University Libraries
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