Jerry McDonough: METS

Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) is a hub standard that links metadata and files. Jerry McDonough of the New York University Libraries presented on METS at the TEI Members’ Meeting. He showed a neat use of METS to joint an MPEG video clip to a TEI transcript, but the heart of his talk was about the proliferation and interaction of standards like TEI, EAD, METS, IMS, and so on. There is a temptation to think that with a bit more a standard like the TEI can embrace (swallow) other standards giving us one instead of many. He argued that a) we don’t technically need to merge related standards, and b) it is not right to do that. He pointed to the politics and histories of these groups/standards. We need a sociology of standards.
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Surviving by accident: print your blog

digital information will never survive and remain accessible by accident: it requires ongoing active management. The information and the ability to read it can be lost in a few years. (“Digital Information Will Never Survive by Accident” in SAP INFO)

So what can we do individually to ensure that some of the content of this age survives, “by human accident”? What if we had a Print your blog day once a year when you print out your blog entries for that year on acid-free paper and stored them in the attic. Given that there are millions of blogs, and that these blogs describe other things on the web, we might get a reasonable accidental record as an alternative to centralized archiving projects.
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Where’s the news?

Books on computers: format combines text and audio narration is an example of a story that appeared in a number of Canadian venues about a Florida company, AV Books, Inc., that is coming out with a first title on CD where you have can read a book on the screen and hear it in MP3. I can’t believe that this story was successfully placed by the company – companies have has talking books for at least a decade. The first ones I saw were for kids from Discus Books in the late 80s (correction below), then Voyager has a series of books for computers. The only thing new in this story is MP3 format for the audio and there are plenty of people exchanging MP3s for audio-books.
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