Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Behold the power of the ORE

Dan Cohen rocked my feed reader this morning with news that the Open Archives Initiative has unveiled the Object Reuse and Exchange (ORE) Specification. This initiative came in below my RADAR (as so many things do!); Dan's post is well worth a close reading, both as an introduction and as a rationale.

As I understand it so far, ORE provides a structured method for mapping relationships between digital resources (different formats, multiple versions, works that cite other works, reviews of works, etc.). Any party -- an author, an archivist, a (e)journal editor, an automated process -- can construct these maps and then publish them via a serialization format for use by other individuals and processes. As Dan writes:
Today's scholarship ... cannot be contained by web pages or PDFs put into an institutional repository, but rather consists of what the ORE team has termed “aggregates,” or constellations of digital objects that often span many different web servers and repositories ... By forging semantic links between pieces entailed in a work of scholarship [ORE] keeps those links active and dynamic and allows for humans, as well as machines that wish to make connections, to easily find these related objects. It also allows for a much better preservation path for digital scholarship because repositories can use ORE to get the entirety of a work and its associated constellation rather than grabbing just a single published instantiation of the work.
Sean and I have been poring over the ORE Spec for the last hour or so, and especially the section on the primary serialization format for ORE Resource Maps, which makes use of Atom.

Pleiades fans will already know that, at the beginning, Sean designed into our publication interface an Atom+GeoRSS serialization component (e.g., Pleiades Cyrene in Atom), and that he is a vocal advocate for RESTful geoapps that employ Atom and other appropriate formats. Last Friday, I gave a presentation about Atom+GeoRSS for cross-project interoperability to an audience at the British School in Rome. This approach that has grown out of our Pleiades work. In comparing where we have been going with where ORE is going, it's clear that the practice is very close (as Sean points out). In coming days I'll be reworking the example to match the ORE spec, and we'll be doing some upgrades to our standard Pleiadic Atom feeds as well.

No comments: