Saturday, 13 January 2007

ORE Technical Committee Meeting 11 - 12 January

On 11 and 12 of January, 13 members of the ORE Technical Committee met at Columbia University in New York for the first face-to-face meeting of this project. Attendants were (in no particular order): Tony Hammond (Nature Publishing), Michael Nelson (Old Dominion University), Pete Johnstone (Eduserv, on behalf of Andy Powell), Ray Plante (NCSA), David Fulker (UCAR), Richard Jones (Imperial College London), Peter Murray (OhioLINK), Jeff Young (OCLC), Rob Sanderson (University of Liverpool), Tim DiLauro (Johns Hopkins University), Simeon Warner (Cornell), and of course Herbert van de Sompel (LANL) and Carl Lagoze (Cornell).

The results of this meeting are due to be reported at Open Repository 2007 at the end of this month, once they have been formalised from the complex debate and discussion that occurred at the meeting, so I won't attempt to summarise outcomes in any detail.

We began with an overview of the problem domain, which is of compound digital objects in a heterogeneous environment, which must be operable within the web architecture. One of the core outcomes of the project, therefore, will be a specification for describing these objects, and their internal and external relationships. Each of the attendant committee members was given the opportunity to present their thoughts on the initial documentation for the project. These ranged from commentary on a privately circulated white paper on the project through to suggestions on implementation technologies or methodologies that might be appropriate.

On the second day of the meeting we moved on to start formalising the goals for the various aspects of the project. This included our communication channels, our use cases, what we understand by the format that will help us describe structures and relationships, and our forthcoming work and subsequent meetings.

Communication for the project will happen through private mailing lists and a wiki. All outcomes from the project will be pushed out to the ORE website, and later there may be a project blog when there are findings to disseminate. We also specified 6 use cases and assigned members of the technical committee to examine the use case titles and develop some working "stories" which we will be able to develop. These use cases should be ready in time for presentation at Open Repository 2007.

Overall, it feels like we covered significant ground in just two short days, although I for one found the results of the meeting quite complex, and in need of some significant work to make coherent results from. Carl and Herbert will be carrying out this analysis in the coming weeks, which is when meeting results will be made available.

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