Abulafia Demo

The only real hypertext system I’ve worked with is the web. I’ve obviously used hypertext help and documentation browsers, but I’ve never really done any development within a proper hypertext environment.
I’m therefore always keen to see how richer hypertext linking capabilities can be built using web technologies. Bob DuCharme’s linking blog is always a good source of relevant discussion in that area. His one-To-Many linking demo is cool too.
I’m therefore glad to see that Geoff (after some nagging from yours truly!) has put up some screencasts of his old hypertext application, Abulafia.
If, like me, you’re a web weenie, then watch the screencasts and see whether it gets your creative juices flowing. The multi-headed, and conditional linking is particularly cool.
If you’re an old-hand hypertext user, then take a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

RDF and Library Metadata Interoperability

I’ve been having an interesting email discussion with Bruce D’Arcus and Richard Newman as a result of Bruce pointing us both at this posting on Metadata Interoperability by Kevin Clarke. I thought I’d write up some points to respond to that article here, in particular on the use (or lack of use) of RDF in the library community.
Presently there are a dizzying array of different metadata formats in the library sector, covering cataloguing, authority records, bibliographic metadata, etc. Examples include MARC, MARCXML, XOBIS, and MODS. There are also a number of different schemas in use in publishing sectors for describing research papers, conference proceedings and the like.
Very often there’s a lot of detailed data modelling that has formed the groundwork of these schemas. FRBR is an excellent example of this.
Increasingly these formats are being designed as XML schemas. Unfortunately, with an emphasis on XML Schema rather than RELAX NG. “Crosswalks” — a term I see in the library area, but little used elsewhere — are used to transform documents between various schemas, enabling some degree of interoperability. The success of these depend on the comparitive richness of the different formats; the usual loss of fidelity in transformations.
Clarke’s posting discusses the concept of a “switchboard schema”, an all embracing schema into which all the others can be converted with minimum loss of fidelity. Possibly backed by a “switchboard” that can negotiate the best path for a given end-to-end transformation.
I can’t help thinking, as did D’Arcus, “why not use RDF?”. Clarke’s response is interesting:

…I don

The fruit of our labours

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The fruit of our labours

The fruit of our labours,
originally uploaded by ldodds.

Testing out the Flickr photo blogging feature. Thought I’d show off the massive crop of raspberries and tayberries we picked this weekend, after I’d finished landscaping the new patio. Good to get out and do something non-geeky for a change.
The kids enjoyed the fruit picking, and I’m looking forward until the blackberries ripen. Shouldn’t be too long now. Raspberry based recipes greatly received!