[Crm-sig] Quick question: In response to naysayers in DPLA discussion....

Jim Salmons jim.salmons at factminers.org
Fri Jul 8 00:44:33 EEST 2016

Martin, Dominic, Christian-Emil, Franco, Carlo, Hyvonen, etc.

I apologize in advance for this being such a long post, but there is much I'd like to say in connection with the recent conversation related to the DPLA's lack of support or interest in the #cidocCRM.

First, to those in my salutation, thank you so much for the informative and thoughtful replies related to the scalability and general lack of interest in the #cidocCRM family of ontology/models at the DPLA (http://dp.la). I especially want to thank Dominic Oldman, a valued member of my #cidocCRM/#TEI #PLN (Personal Learning Network) who contributed a 4-tweet series of excellent citations in response to the false belief that the #cidocCRM had not produced any scalable implementations “after all these years” (according to a non-DLPA but engaged tweeter).

As I mentioned in my prior posts, I am a self-motivated learner and unaffiliated #CitizenScientist. As such, I am a most enthusiastic advocate for the #cidocCRM, but I cannot pretend to speak with authority on the subject. My fascination with the #cidocCRM began post-cancer as I crawled back from a year of treatment during which I was essentially a delusional child. The first new tech thing that made sense to me and caught my attention was the emerging Open Source graph databases with Neo4j being the most prominent that came to my attention. I was "primed" for this fascination as I had met and married my wife, Timlynn, as a doctoral student in the Mathematical Social Sciences program at UC, Irvine, in the early 1980s -- before it was called "social networks." We left ABD to engage in the Object Technology industry which eventually led me here... after nearly 20 years as a Smalltalk architect/developer.

As my health and cognitive abilities returned, I applied insights that I had developed as a long-time software entrepreneur and, later, Road Warrior consultant to the idea of developing a definitive – what I would now call a #GroundTruth Edition – semantic model of Softalk magazine to preserve the early history of the microcomputer and digital revolutions. I entered the Neo4j GraphGist Domain Modeling Challenge with an entry that demonstrated a self-descriptive metamodel subgraph design pattern for creating what I called a FactMiners’ Fact Cloud. 

A fellow member of the Neo4j developer community (Twitter: @metaCirque) pointed out that my metamodel subgraph reminded him of the ICOM CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model. And that was the start of what turned into a torrent of insights and excitement about how the #cidocCRM might be used as both a document structure and content depiction model, but also as an executable metamodel whereby the data could carry its own prescriptions for who could do what with that data through soft-configurable visualization and editing microservice frameworks.

These insights led me to develop my #cidocCRM/#TEI Personal Learning Network (RIP Sebastian Rahtz) and eventual involvement in this group, etc. As a U.S. based researcher, my wife Timlynn and I also became interested in supporting the DPLA as Community Representatives. When the Call for Participation went out last September for folks interested in joining in the DPLA’s Archival Description Working Group (ADWG https://dp.la/info/get-involved/groups/), I could not wait to submit my application. In stating my qualifications and specific interest in joining this group, I cited the importance of having #CitizenScientist representation in the group, a need to recognize the growing family of international standard models, especially the #cidocCRM, and my interest in exploring the #cidocCRM’s potential to be used as an executable metamodel for a new generation of Open Source collection management systems and frameworks.

Within a couple of weeks, I (and however many others were on the undisclosed recipient list) got a “thanks but no thanks” form letter thanking me for my interest but that the group membership was filled, etc. In consolation, we were told that we would be the first to get a draft of the group’s whitepaper and how they looked forward to our feedback and comments.

In the ten months since that communication there has been nothing publicly produced by the closed and private ADWG. There has not even been an identification of who the members of this group are.

When the DPLA proclaimed its interest in hiring a Data and Usage Analytics Developer (https://goo.gl/88drHt), I was sincerely disheartened to see that the #cidocCRM family of ontologies/models was not listed among the “laundry list” of Preferred Qualifications that the DPLA was looking for in this strategic position.

As I honestly believe this is a gross oversight of the DPLA in terms of the requirements for this job, I took to Twitter to not too subtly express my frustration at the lack of support for international standards. My initial tweets got no response. When the nice guy and Director of Technology, Mark Matienzo, wrote a glowing blog piece celebrating the openness and transparency of the core values of DPLA Technology Team (https://goo.gl/JCBwK0), I could not keep quiet and tweeted some more... which is what led to the conversation about the lack of scalability and production quality of the #cidocCRM by community members. 

Note, no one from the DPLA has responded to any of this conversation. So they are, if anything, only to be faulted on their silence, not their actual beliefs. But this is the main point of my frustration. That the DPLA's ADWG is the ONLY private group in its collection of seven groups and that, not only is the work of the group not open and transparent, they have not even published who the members of this elite group are. (https://goo.gl/Wojp4D)

So... all this background said (and my frustrations vented), I am so excited to have gotten so much helpful information to increase my own knowledge and appreciation for the growing family of #cidocCRM models and, more specifically, their exciting large-scale applications.

Since the number of Twitter conversation "reply-to" accounts has grown to such a degree for this scalability conversation that there are not many characters to actually say anything substantive, I have decided that the best and most useful next step in my campaign to encourage the DPLA to open the ADWG process and recognize international standards, including the #cidocCRM family, is to write a Medium article. In addition to the wonderful examples cited by Dominic in his tweets, there have been very interesting examples and perspectives shared here on the listserv that I want to bring to the attention of our U.S.-based community.

While I fully realize that I am little more than a "barbarian at the gate" in this regard, I do hope that a Medium article will engender some kind of substantive response from the DPLA. And if all that happens is we plod along with "business as usual," at least I will feel like I have done my part to be a responsible member of both the #cidocCRM SIG and the DPLA communities.

I will be sure to share a draft URL of my upcoming article to this group before publishing. I want to be sure to "put a best foot forward" for our mutual interests.

Again, thank all of you who have contributed to this learning experience for me. I will continue to do my best to represent our shared interest in advancing the state of the art in interoperable cultural heritage digital resources. 

    Happy-Healthy Vibes,
    -: Jim :-

    Jim Salmons and Timlynn Babitsky
    Twitter: @Jim_Salmons, @TimlynnBabitsky, @FactMiners, @Softalk_Apple

    www.FactMiners.org (Our #CitizenScience project)
    www.SoftalkApple.com (Our #DigitalHistory project)
    www.medium.com/@Jim_Salmons/ (my #CognitiveComputing/#DigitalHumanities articles)

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