A review of metadata: a survey of current resource description formats
Work Package 3 of Telematics for Research project DESIRE (RE 1004)
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Warwick Framework

Environment of use


There is one detailed account of the Warwick Framework (Carl Lagoze, Clifford A. Lynch, Ron Daniel, The Warwick Framework: a container architecture for aggregating sets of metadata. July 12, 1996. <URL:http://cs-tr.cs.cornell.edu:80/Dienst/Repository/2.0/Body/ncstrl.cornell%2fTR96-1593/html>)

Constituency of use

The Warwick Framework is a container architecture for aggregating metadata objects for interchange. It was proposed at the second invitational workshop on Metadata, jointly organised by UKOLN and OCLC and held in Warwick University in April 1996.

The need arose from consideration of the Dublin Core. The Dublin Core addresses a particular aspect of the metadata problem: it is a simple resource description format. It could be extended in at least two ways. Firstly, it could be extended to accommodate elements which contain other types of metadata: terms and conditions, archival responsibility, administrative metadata and so on. Secondly, it could be extended to incorporate fuller resource description or to take account of specialist needs. However, other formats are also designed for resource description of different levels of fullness and within different communities. The IAFA document template is an example of one such format, USMARC another, the TEI header a third. It is undesirable either that there will be one single format for resource description or that a single format be indefinitely expanded to accommodate all future requirements. The need to retain a Dublin Core optimised for its target uses together with the need to exchange a variety of types of metadata led to the proposed Warwick Framework. This is a container architecture for the aggregation of metadata objects and their interchange. (Although the Dublin Core and the Warwick Framework are related by shared involvement one does not imply the other in any way.)

The Warwick Framework, then, is a proposed container architecture for the interchange of metadata packages. A package is a metadata object specialised for a particular purpose. A Dublin Core based record might be one package, a GILS record another, terms and conditions another, and so on. This architecture should be modular, to allow for differently typed metadata objects; extensible, to allow for new metadata types; distributed, to allow external metadata objects to be referenced; recursive, to allow metadata objects to be treated as 'information content' and have metadata objects associated with them.

Although there is wide agreement that this is a sensible approach, the Warwick Framework has not been implemented at the time of writing.

Format issues

Three approaches to the container architecture have been proposed: MIME, SGML, CORBA. There is also interest in using GRS-1 record syntax within Z39.50 as a container architecture.

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Last updated: 10-Jun-1998