Worldwide communitarian online publishing an exercise in wishful thinking
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Worldwide "Communitarian" Online Publishing: an exercise in wishful thinking. Dan Matei. A. "amateur" AND "authority" content. content (i.e. reference material, but also annotations to works ) provided by the "general public": (most of the time) valuable (see Wikipedia, see;

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Worldwide "Communitarian" Online Publishing: an exercise in wishful thinking

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Worldwide communitarian online publishing an exercise in wishful thinking

Worldwide "Communitarian" Online Publishing: an exercise in wishful thinking

Dan Matei

ELPUB 2006 (Matei)

A amateur and authority content

A. "amateur" AND "authority" content

  • content (i.e. reference material, but also annotations to works) provided by the "general public":

    • (most of the time) valuable (see Wikipedia, see;

    • stimulate people to research, document and write.

  • the institutional ("authority") providers (libraries, museums, universities, schools, etc.) – in Romania: not too productive (online content not yet in the mission statement).

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The ideal scenario

The "ideal" scenario

  • 3 layer resources:

    • "authority" core;

    • moderated (voluntary) contributions;

    • (voluntary) contributions.

  • the "authority" should constantly upgrade the content, i.e. moving it "upward".

  • almost there (entries from different sources are not merged).

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Answers com example example

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Voluntary contributions my problems

Voluntary contributions: my problems

  • the "code of behaviour";

  • the neutral point of view (for the reference resources) or an assumed point of view (e.g. a Christian perspective, a Muslim perspective);

  • the anonymity and the "loose" pseudonym problem; what about pen names ?

  • how to "force" a volunteer contributor to assume the intellectual responsibility ?

  • how to check a "real name" ? it is fair to check with the police ?

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B online critical editions

B. Online "critical" editions

  • the problem: how to publish online "problematic" resources (e.g. xenophobic texts by important authors) ?

  • in a "physical book" we "wrap" conveniently the problematic text in a "critical envelope" (e.g. an explanatory introduction, critical footnotes).

  • online: the lack of "physical" boundaries on the web makes less visible the critical apparatus.

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An example

An example

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A critical envelope

A "critical envelope" ?

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Repackaging a resource

"Repackaging" a resource

  • to include in my page someone else's page:

    • it is legal ?

    • it is fair ?

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C the index for reference resources

C. The index (for reference resources)

  • How to construct the (most profitable) index ?

  • How to make most out of the lexicographic collocation ?

  • How to serve best the Long Tail ?

  • Close to ideal:

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The index the signature problem 1

The index: the "signature" problem (1)

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Casanova s chinese restaurant

"Casanova's Chinese Restaurant" ?

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A better signature

A better signature:

Casanova's Chinese Restaurant [novel] / Anthony Powell (1960)

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Giacomo a good enough entry

"giacomo": a good (enough) entry

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Why benedict xv

Why "Benedict XV" ?

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A better signature1

A better signature:

Pope Benedict XV (Giacomo della Chiesa) [pope (1914–1922)] (1854–1922)

Britannica: Benedict XV - Pope (1914–22)

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The name in pml 1

The name in PML (1)

<signature guid="pb15" languageRef="English">


<name guid="b15">

<popeName guid="b">Benedict</popeName>

<number value="15" guid="15">XV</number>


<name typeRef="real name" guid="gdc">

<firstName guid="g">Giacomo</firstName>

<namePart guid="d">della</namePart>

<lastName guid="c">Chiesa</lastName>



<timeSpan type="position">1914–1922</timeSpan>


<timeSpan type="life">

<segment guid="1854">1854</segment>




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The name in pml 2

The name in PML (2)


<alphaKey1 ref="b"/>

<numKey1 ref="15"/>


<indexEntry shadow="true">

<alphaKey1 ref="c"/>

<alphaKey2 ref="g d"/>

<dateKey2 ref="1854"/>


<indexEntry shadow="true">

<alphaKey1 ref="d c"/>

<alphaKey2 ref="g"/>

<dateKey2 ref="1854"/>


<indexEntry shadow="true">

<alphaKey1 ref="g"/>

<alphaKey2 ref="c"/>

<dateKey2 ref="1854"/>


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D the european digital library edl the political will

D. The European Digital Library (EDL): the "political will"

The European Commission should consider literally the first issue suggested by the Presidency (13392/2/05) and debated by the Council on i2010 digital libraries, that is:

"the creation of a European Digital Library which would make European cultural content and information resources easier and more interesting to use in a multi-cultural and multi-lingual online environment".

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The european digital library edl my opinion

The European Digital Library (EDL): my opinion

  • The best way to secure the right presence in the cyberspace of the European cultural heritage is to finance the set-up of one (or several) European datacenter to host a large database with the digital cultural material supplied by the "national digital libraries".

  • Not a portal, not a metasearch engine !

  • A "classical", centralised, online database.

  • Good starting point: "The European Library":

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Edl my wish 1

EDL: my wish (1)

  • establishing of a (small) set of technical standards.

  • development/adoption of a suitable, open source, digital library software to handle and to expose (directly an the web and via web services) the database.

  • an agreement between the "national digital libraries" to submit their content also to the European Digital Library.

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Edl my wish 2

EDL: my wish (2)

  • actual gathering of digital material, on a continuous basis. The national repositories should keep also their material, as a natural backup and in order to expose it in a "vernacular" way.

    • good model: the Czech Manuscriptorium project -

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Edl my wish 3

EDL: my wish (3)

  • Voluntary contributions accepted:

    • scanning;

    • OCR-ing;

    • proofreading;

    • adding metadata;

    • adding mark-up (e.g. encoding in TEI).

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The romanian digitisation wish list not yet 1

The Romanian digitisation wish-list (not yet!) (1)

  • a (centralised) shared catalogue of works and expressions (not manifestations) — in the FRBR jargon

  • each entry: bibliographic attributes and:

    • (if not yet digitised) the priority class;

    • (if in process of digitisation) who is doing the digitisation and when it started;

    • (if digitised) the URL of the digitised version (manifestation).

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The romanian digitisation wish list not yet 2

The Romanian digitisation wish-list (not yet!) (2)

  • The catalogue could:

    • help to avoid the duplicate digitisation of a work/expression;

    • act as the catalogue of the Digital Library;

    • suggest priority materials to be digitised.

  • The priorities could be set by various mechanisms: academic committees, public voting etc.

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Final remarks

Final remarks

  • the online resource inherit most of the features of the paper text ? how to offer an online resource with a dedication ?

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