Discovery exemplars

The Discovery programme is, in many ways, a slippery beast. It is not building one specific thing, but it is rather advocating a range of approaches that, if taken by libraries, museums and archives, should lead to better resource discovery services. This can make it difficult to explain. This is compounded by the fact we are learning as we go so messages are starting simple and high level and getting gradually richer and more granular as we learn more. Despite this, persuading people to adopt new approaches to licensing, technology and institutional processes is the key to achieving the aims of the Discovery programme. To help cope with this contradiction we resolved to build two exemplar services that show what is possible if the Discovery principles are adopted by collection owners and service builders.

We have now funded these projects and the work is starting to get underway.

EDINA are building Shakespeare’s Registry. An aggregation of online sources of digital resources relating to William Shakespeare, covering performance, interpretative and contextual resources in order to demonstrate the value and principles of metadata aggregation as part of the JISC/RLUK Discovery initiative.

Mimas are working with King’s College London to develop an api to enable people to explore content about World War One. They will work with other partners to develop two innovative interfaces built on top of the api. More detail on the background and intentions of this exemplar can be found on the dedicated blog.

The projects will comply with the principles laid out in the Discovery open metadata and technical principles. As well as developing useful resources they will learn valuable lessons about how to best go about building resources that comply with the principles. Both aggregations will use apis to aggregate the content and will do so via open interfaces rather than negotiating special access to the content. Both projects will focus on encouraging others to build on top of the apis they develop rather than focusing on their own vision for an interface. This also means that both projects need to take an open approach to the metadata they aggregate and adopt suitable Creative Commons or Open Data commons licences (pdf).

So, both projects have a lot on their plate and have challenging timescales. Both are scheduled to deliver the exemplar by July 2012. They both have the potential to be rich and interesting resources and will definitely learn useful lessons. We will update you on their progress via this blog.

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