Metadata and the Internet as Communities Network

For those who received my previous posts about "turning the Internet 
into a communities network in its nature" the URL about Metadata 
from the W3 consortium seems very important.  The technical 
details are beyond me but in the end HTML editors will likely 
integrate ways to help name your WWW documents in standardized ways.  
This will help others catalog and index the WWW for searching in more 
advanced ways.  

I am particularly interested in how this will bring geography as an 
option onto the WWW.  For example I'd like to be able to assign a 
virtual longitude and latitude point to my home page.  I'd like to be 
able to search just the WWW pages in Minnesota or in my neighborhood 
for that matter.  I'd like to be able to find e-mail lists, WWW 
forums, online chats based on geography and other reliable factors.  From 
a democracy and community perspective, geography is essential to making 
the Internet a real tool for local community building.

Anyway, here is the link to the Metadata section of the W3 and their 
press release (which is include in part below):

If anyone involved with these efforts could share their ideas on how 
local communities, regions, and countries should prepare leverage 
this scheme to promote community content and interaction, that would 
be much appreciated.

Steven Clift
Democracies Online -

P.S. My original post on this theme is at:
When you combine this with the current battles over who will control 
the set-top box/operating system for digital television, imagine how 
standard metatags could allow a person to pre-determine which 
broadcast WWW pages to cache for later use.  (If the 6MB digital stream 
for HDTV gives way to 6 broadcast quality digital feeds, imagine if only 
one of those channels was split further into text and multimedia WWW 
content.  This then relates to the battle for push standards on the 
Internet - because in the end this may really be the battle for control of 
broadcasting as the Internet takes parts of it over. :-) )  My post on 
Community Digital Broadcasting may be of interest:

And from the W3 press release:

World Wide Web Consortium
Publishes Public Draft of Resource
Description Framework (RDF) 

Key Industry Players Collaborate to Develop
Interoperable Metadata for the Web 

For immediate release 
  Contact America --- 

  The Weber Group 

  Anne Potts <>
  Eric Snow <> 

  +1 617 661-7900
  +1 617 661-0024 (fax)
                                       Contact Europe -- 

                                       Andrew Lloyd & Associates 

                                       Ned Mitchell <> +33
                                       1 43 22 79 56 

                                       Andrew Lloyd <> +44
                                       127 367 5100

CAMBRIDGE, MASS., USA -- October 3, 1997 -- The World Wide Web
Consortium (W3C) today announced the first public draft of a
work-in-progress of the Resource Description Framework (RDF),
providing interoperability between applications that exchange
machine-understandable information on the Web. "The development of RDF
illustrates the power of the collaborative process within W3C Working
Groups" said Ralph Swick, W3C Metadata Project Manager. "Beginning
with a functional requirement from an end-user Member, the RDF Working
Group brought together additional Members to work to achieve a
solution of which everyone can be proud." The W3C RDF Working Group
has key industry players including DVL, Grif, IBM, KnowledgeCite,
LANL, Microsoft, Netscape, Nokia, OCLC, Reuters, SoftQuad and
University of Michigan. 

The RDF Working Group is one of the earliest phases of a major effort
by the Consortium to build a vendor-neutral and operating system-
independent system of metadata. The collaborative design effort on RDF
originated as an extension on the PICS content description technology,
and draws upon the XML design as well as recent W3C Submissions by
Microsoft [XML Web Collections] and Netscape [XML/MCF]. In addition,
documents such as Microsoft's XML-Data and Site Map proposals, and the
Dublin Core/Warwick Framework have also influenced the RDF design. 

RDF will allow different application communities to define the
metadata property set that best serves the needs of each community.
RDF metadata can be used in a variety of application areas such as: 

    in resource discovery to provide better search engine capabilities; 
    in cataloging for describing the content and content relationships
    available at a particular Web site, page, or digital library; by
    intelligent software agents to facilitate knowledge sharing and
    exchange; in content rating for child protection and privacy
    protection; in describing collections of pages that represent a 
    single logical "document"; for describing intellectual property 
    rights of Web pages. 

With digital signatures, RDF will be key to building the "Web of
Trust" for electronic commerce, collaboration, and other applications.

RDF will use XML as the transfer syntax in order to leverage other
tools and code bases being built around XML. 

This draft, describing the details of the RDF metadata model and
syntax, will be presented next week at the semi-annual meeting of the
Dublin Core group in Helsinki, Finland. 

The RDF specification has been produced as part of the W3C Metadata
Activity. For more information on RDF, see 

W3C Metadata Activity 

Metadata means "data about data" or "information about information";
more importantly it should now be taken to mean "machine
understandable information on the Web". The Metadata Activity, which
includes the RDF Working Group, was formed in 1997 from the
recognition within the Consortium of a common subtask to existing
activities such as PICS and DSig at W3C, HTTP and WebDAV work at IETF,
the Dublin Core among many other projects. 

W3C's Metadata Activity has seven major areas of focus: 

 1.A metadata model and syntax specification, RDF; 
 2.A language for writing RDF schemas; 
 3.A language for expressing processing rules (sometimes called
    "preferences", or "profiles" in various applications of metadata)
    for the use of RDF statements; 
 4.A language for expressing a general query for RDF information; 5.An
 algorithm for canonicalizing RDF for digital signature; 6.A syntax
 for digitally signing RDF; 7.A vocabulary for expressing PICS labels
 in RDF, and a conversion algorithm
    from PICS 1.1. 

For more information on Metadata, see 

[clipped bottom about W3 info.]
     Steven L. Clift, Director, Democracies Online
     3454 Fremont Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408 USA   
     Tel: 612-824-3747  E: - Democracies Online -  Home Page

Received on Saturday, 4 October 1997 07:50:24 UTC