Author/s:Pedro Cuenca, Vicente Sosa
PDF-file. Pagination as in the original proceeding.Cuenca.pdf
Title:Experiences in the use of metadata for web publishing
Abstract:The web has been universally adopted as a convenient mechanism for the access to information. It is, moreover, a technology with the potential to empower any individual with the ability to publish his or her own material online and make it available to anyone in the world. Despite this simplicity, complex and information-rich web sites are usually implemented as pure software engineering projects. This approach is completely different to the traditional paper-based publishing model, and thus, the massive production of online contents poses important challenges, even to professional publishing companies. Instead of incorporating software-engineering practices for the production of online content, our company chose to adopt the principles of the so-called web model for the internal organization of material. Thus, we rely on a distributed Intranet architecture where resources are allowed to be located anywhere, thanks to the use of a consistent addressing scheme implemented with Uniform Resource Names (URNs). Consistent addressing, furthermore, paves the way for the easy deployment of metadata facilities that are used to describe and characterize resources.

The benefits of this approach are manifold. Because different metadata descriptions can be given for any particular set of resources, the same material can be reused and adapted to fit the requirements of the various publishing media (online, CD-ROM or paper). The web model is also flexible enough to accommodate the existing editorial processes, whereby a product is incrementally developed through the simultaneous contribution of all interested parties. And because URNs, unlike URLs, are not tied to physical locations, many of the most tedious maintenance and exploitation issues can also be solved, which allows our personnel to concentrate on editorial tasks instead of technology.

After describing the ideas that have just been outlined, this paper also discusses how they are being put to work in the Hawk project, a collaborative effort of several European organizations, funded in part by the European Community.