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I’m at Open Repositories 2007.  

Getting over my jetlag now, one day’s not too bad.  (I demanded advice from an expert, but she only said travel 1st class or stay at home. Thanks Justine.)

I wrote recently about unfinished explorations I did with XForms as a metadata editing system.

Yesterday I was most impressed with a presentation on XForms and the Fedora repository by Matt Zumwalt, Simplifying Fedora Frontends with XForms and Fedora. Matt talked about how he added an interface to allow editing of XML metadata streams in a Fedora repository using XForms. What this means is that a bit of standards-based configuration code can be used to build a portable interface for editing structured XML.

(Technically, XForms has  Model-view-controller (MVC) pattern, where the model can be an instance document, and the view is an XForms description of how to edit it. The controller is an XForms application, so you don’t have to write that.)

Matt’s work should work with MODS metadata, which seems to be a strong prospect for RUBRIC and ARROW repositories in 2007. I hope to have more to report on this soon.

It could be used for repositories other than Fedora, like, say DSpace. Scott Yeadon of ANU gave a demo of moving objects between Fedora and DSpace; and talked about a package profile from the National Library of Australia for interchange. Seems like there is hope that Australian repositories might be able to agree on interchangeable content models.

Matt told be me wants to take the time to document his XForms code and he will put in on the web when he’s done that.

Christiaan Kortekaas of UQ tels me that he looked at XForms a few years ago, before starting Fez, and the technology wasn’t ready. Fair enough. I think it is just about ready to use now, and I’d love to see this idea taken further. I’ve already started talking to our friends from APSR and ARROWabout collaborating to achieve this.

I know a couple of VTLS people were in the audience, and I hope they’re able to do something with XForms too, for their VALET/VITAL product, which badly needs a way to edit metadata without invoking a general-purpose XML editor (I think they might).


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