Last modified: 2005-10-22 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillology | cybervexillology | e-vexillology |
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For some weeks I have been working on the concept of a new vexillological paradigm for the Internet. The current model, while good, has the opportunity to grow beyond the mere presentation of information into the realm of electronic cataloguing of information by harvesting agents. This would be done using metadata. As recently as November 17, I had considered the possibility of using the basics of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative as the foundations, and then expanding with certain or selected elements that would be vexillologically orientated. Since then, however, I have considered the use of a Vexillological Metadata (VM) schema by itself.
Let me briefly summarize the issue. At present, we (and I include all vexillological organizations or persons who deliver flag information via the Internet) are in a basic mode - namely presenting information to the public at-large about flags. This is the state of cybervexillology at this time. But if we were to prepare metadata in such a way that it can be read by harvesting software used by libraries, universities, and the standard search engines, perhaps we can move beyond the simple presentation to where the information can be catalogued and used by scholars, students and interested individuals. Generic cybervexillology would become "electronic vexillology."
With every potential schema there have to be some definitions, and examples of use. For FOTW, we are probably a long way from implementing such a schema. But here are the basic elements:
Unless identified as required, the element would be optional.
In preparation for my prospectus towards creating an e-vexillology web framework, I did some brief analysis of several websites which feature flags, discovering that of the small sample, none uses XHTML or XML at this time. Therefore, the first example relates to HTML only.
Let's take an actual article and pretend for a moment that it has been posted to the Internet, which in this case it has, an article entitled "Politics Decides Fate of Georgia Flag." For HTML, the obvious route to go would be to incorporate the information into the <meta> tag.
Given what we know or can determine about the article (with some assumptions), let's see how it can be described in VM.
As seen in the example, not all of the elements listed were actually used and the use of repetitive elements used as needed. Certain elements were not used n the analysis, but could have been. For instance, if we were to blazon the flag of the county of Sodermanland in Sweden the blazon element would be as follows:
The discussion of the Vexillological Metadata schema now turns towards XML. For the XML example, I will use the same example that was used for the HTML implementation. Of a notable difference is the inclusion of the VM elements within the Resource Description Framework (RDF) container in the head portion of the XML document. Before illustrating the potential implementation, let me just say that during the course of my research on the matter, I did look at the possibilities of Dublin Core, PRISM, and several other metadata implementations, all of which did not fully capture the potential flavor of vexillological content that could be harvested. Rather than use portions of the existing schemas, I did decide to consider VM as a particular subset of metadata language.
Of course for such a system to work, there would need perhaps to be several
working groups (and I'm not really sure if there would be much support for this
outside FOTW, or even within FOTW): one to create a proposed controlled
vocabulary; possibly one to review the current schema for potential additions;
and so forth.
Phil Nelson, 21-24 November 2003
based upon From Cybervexillology to E-vexillology (unpublished manuscript), Phillip L. Nelson, 2003
-- Vexillology Metadata Schema -- -- VexMeta attribute description url 'tobedetermined.html' prefix 'VEX' label 'Vexillology Metadata' icon <vexmeta.gif> syntax container attributes set Author, Editor, Abstract, Produced, Keywords, Artist, Area, Language, Family, Topology, Copyright, Rights, Blazon, Issn, Useage, Title Title attribute description 'The name given to the resource by the creator or publisher.' label 'Title' mandatory single valued syntax string Abstract attribute: description 'A summary of the contents of the document.' label "Abstract' mandatory single valued syntax string Author attribute description 'The author of the resource' label 'Author' syntax string Editor attribute description 'The person or organization which is responsible for the distribution of the material.' label 'Editor' optional single valued syntax string Family attribute description 'The generic flag family, if applicable.' label 'Family' syntax string Topology attribute description 'A description of the physical attributes of the flag.' label 'Topology' syntax string Keywords attribute description 'A controlled vocabulary identifying information about the source document.' label 'Keywords' syntax string Artist attribute description 'The illustrator of the image (and optionally the image name associated with the illustrator.' label 'Artist' syntax string Copyright attribute description 'The date and information regarding a copyright notice.' label 'Copyright' optional single valued syntax string Produced attribute description 'The date the resource was made available in its present form.' label 'Produced' optional single valued syntax string Issn attribute description 'String or number used to uniquely identify the resource from the International Standard Serial Number.' label 'ISSN' optional single valued syntax string schemes 'ISSN' scheme Language attribute description 'Language(s) of the intellectual content of the resource. Where practical, the content of this field should coincide with ISO 639.' label 'Language' mandatory repeatable syntax string schemes 'ISO639' scheme Area attribute description 'An area that is covered by the image. Area refers to the ISO 3166 elements, and any other level of specificity to identify the country, region, state or locale using the flag.' label 'Area' syntax string Rights attribute description 'Information on the rights to print, reprint, distribute or store the document.' label 'Rights' optional single valued syntax string Usage attribute description 'Information on the usage of the flag. See the FIAV Flag Information Code at http://foo.bar/flags/vex-f-ic.html.' label 'Usage' optional single valued syntax string Adopted attribute description 'The date the flag was officially adopted. ISO 8601 format is preferable, but the text should be free form for providers who are not familiar with the ISO schema (YYYY-MM-DD).' label 'Adopted' optional single valued syntax string Blazon attribute description 'The official blazon as granted; not applicable for many flags. When the blazon is in a different language than the remainder of the document, an additional language attribute will be needed' label 'Blazon' syntax stringEditor's note: If a value is not listed as "mandatory" with a modifier as to single valued or repeatable, or "optional single valued" the value defaults to "optional repeatable."