Monday, October 27, 2003

Cybercasts

Dr. Gloriana St. Clair, Dean, University Libraries, Carnegie Mellon University, visited OCLC Dublin (Ohio) recently to discuss the Million Book Digital Library Project. This international library project strives to create a free-to-read, searchable collection of one million books, available to everyone over the Internet. Dr. St. Clair's presentation focused on the development and growth of the project, and highlighted opportunities and challenges in collaboration, content, and sustainability.

A digital audio recording and presentation slides have recently been posted to the OCLC Research Web page.

Topic Maps: The Inventor's Perspective on Subject-based Access is now available at LC. This includes video as well as voice.

Dr. Newcomb will speak about the conceptual foundations of the Topic Maps paradigm. (He has drafted a statement of these foundations under the title, "The Topic Maps Reference Model".) These conceptual foundations are more abstract (less "ontologically committed"), than the Topic Maps standard. The conceptual foundations are concerned with facilitating the creation and maintenance of subject-based indexes that amalgamate other subject-based indexes. The amalgamated indexes may themselves be either collaboratively or independently created, maintained, and amalgamated, and they may be based on different ontologies and/or taxonomies. The development of an effective conceptual and methodological basis for the amalgamation of subject-based indexes speaks to several of the goals and issues of Library Science, including the "co-location" objective and the "co-referencing" problem. Perhaps the simplest way to communicate the goal of the Topic Maps Reference Model is to ask, "How can a single perspective be most easily provided for each subject, from which various independent assertions about the subject are directly available?" To put it even more briefly, "How can a master index be made from indexes that were never intended to be merged with others?"

Dr. Biezunski will speak about his vision on what the next step should be in applying the abstract foundation provided by the proposed Reference Model. He will assess, among other things, the possibility amalgamating knowledge resources (including finding tools) expressed in accordance with diverse interchange standards, by creating a new layer where semantic integration has a broader range of application. Dr. Biezunski will present his experiences in applying the Topic Maps paradigm, and their impacts on the ongoing development of his methodologies and software. He will report on the Internal Revenue Service application as a case study.

Making presentations available to a wider audience, than was present, is a wonderful use of technology. Thanks to OCLC, LC and the speakers for making these available 24/7.

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