The Book of Trogool

Archives for November, 2009

Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Checksum

So here’s an interesting problem I ran into today. You have metadata in an XML file. You want to make the file self-describingly self-correcting, so you want to embed its checksum inside it. The problem is, you can’t add the checksum to the XML file without changing the file’s checksum! Is there an XML verification…

Libraries do collaborative collection development, through consortia and increasingly via direct institution-to-institution arrangements. Reference and instruction are collaborative endeavors?look at any social-networking service with lots of librarians and you’ll see on-the-spot crowdsourced reference responses. Perhaps this collaboration instinct will help libraries respond to the challenge of domain expertise for data curation. Do I need to…

Tidbits, 9 November 2009

Starting off the week with some juicy tidbits: An extremely nerdy but (for nerds) fascinating examination of XML and its implications for data modeling. Do we have to reduce everything to a relational model? Really? Perhaps not? Notably, it seems to me, this article describes fairly nicely how Fedora works. (For more beating on the…

No, you can’t have a pony

I read the RIN report on life-sciences data with interest, a little cynicism, and much appreciation for the grounded and sensible approach I have come to expect from British reports. If you’re interested in data services, you should read this report too. A warning to avoid preconceptions: If you pay too much attention to all…

Stepping away from the shiny

There is a certain kind of digital project that strikes terror and dismay into the hearts of digital preservationists everywhere. Not a one of us hasn’t seen many exemplars. They make me myself feel sad and tired. They’re projects that, no matter their scholarly or design merit, are completely unpreservable because they were built from…

Making standards that work

One phenomenon that will be?indeed, already is?utterly unavoidable in the data-curation space is the creation of standards. I once heard Andrew Pace say that standards are like toothbrushes: everybody thinks they’re great, but nobody wants to use anybody else’s. Be that as it may, standards development and compliance is one way to make everybody’s data…