Monday, 10 November 2008

Principles behind the Repository Manifesto

(based on

We follow these principles:

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer
through early and continuous delivery
of valuable software.

(We are not users of the systems we build, and shouldn't keep putting features in only we want. Which users care if it is OAIS compliant? And METS?)

Welcome changing requirements, even late in
development. Agile processes harness change for
the customer's competitive advantage.

(Go where the users are or want to be in terms of features, not where you think they should be. Users should be shielded from the underlying standards at ALL times.)

Deliver working software frequently, from a
couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a
preference to the shorter timescale.

(If you are not going to implement what you are designing and learn from it as you progress, then you have failed. Do not pass Go, hand in your library pass.)

Business people [USERS] and developers must work
together daily throughout the project.

Build projects around motivated individuals.
Give them the environment and support they need,
and trust them to get the job done.

(Don't just list projects you want doing and expect them to be done. Find people doing work the community finds compelling or interesting and fund them directly.)

The most efficient and effective method of
conveying information to and within a development
team is face-to-face conversation.

(More working meetings, fewer dissemination meetings. Discussion, not powerpoint.)

Working software is the primary measure of progress.

(No plan should get the go-ahead, without implementing the ideas or design alongside it.)

Agile processes promote sustainable development.
The sponsors, developers, and users should be able
to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

("Projects" lead to having concepts like 'final deadline' and 'wrapup meetings'. Repositories are, by their remit, continuous services, and DO NOT FIT the project paradigm.)

Continuous attention to technical excellence
and good design enhances agility.

(Can't simply work on architectual astronomy without trying to implement, can't simply code and build without a valid design choice. Not one or the other, but working on both simultaneously makes for a good service.)

Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount
of work not done--is essential.

(Re-use, re-use, re-use. We only need one good system, not 5. In all development, there is time for divergence and a time for convergence, and it's time we converged. Shame there's no good candidate to move to...)

The best architectures, requirements, and designs
emerge from self-organizing teams.

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how
to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts
its behavior accordingly.

(No design is static and no implementation is static, only your current users are. Build and cater for the users you do have, and aim to please those you don't.)

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Declaration of Independance of Metadata

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that Metadata is essential to all Users, and that the Creation of Metadata endows certain inalienable Rights, that among these are the right to collect, the right to share and the pursuit of Happiness through the reuse of the Metadata.

That to secure these rights, Metadata Repositories are instituted among Servers, deriving their just powers from the consent of the Users, That whenever any Form of Repository becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Users to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Repositories, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness through Openness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Repositories long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that Users are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Repositories, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

So, OCLC... quit while you are ahead, before we get all July 4, 1776 on your ass.