Document (#28102)

Editor
Tennant, R.
Title
XML in libraries
Imprint
New York : Neal-Schuman
Year
2002
Pages
XI, 212 S
Isbn
1-55570-443-3
Content
Sammelrezension mit: (1) The ABCs of XML: The Librarian's Guide to the eXtensible Markup Language. Norman Desmarais. Houston, TX: New Technology Press, 2000. 206 pp. $28.00. (ISBN: 0-9675942-0-0) und (2) Learning XML. Erik T. Ray. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, 2003. 400 pp. $34.95. (ISBN: 0-596-00420-6)
Footnote
Rez. in: JASIST 55(2004) no.14, S.1304-1305 (Z. Holbrooks):"The eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and its family of enabling technologies (XPath, XPointer, XLink, XSLT, et al.) were the new "new thing" only a couple of years ago. Happily, XML is now a W3C standard, and its enabling technologies are rapidly proliferating and maturing. Together, they are changing the way data is handled an the Web, how legacy data is accessed and leveraged in corporate archives, and offering the Semantic Web community a powerful toolset. Library and information professionals need a basic understanding of what XML is, and what its impacts will be an the library community as content vendors and publishers convert to the new standards. Norman Desmarais aims to provide librarians with an overview of XML and some potential library applications. The ABCs of XML contains the useful basic information that most general XML works cover. It is addressed to librarians, as evidenced by the occasional reference to periodical vendors, MARC, and OPACs. However, librarians without SGML, HTML, database, or programming experience may find the work daunting. The snippets of code-most incomplete and unattended by screenshots to illustrate the result of the code's execution-obscure more often than they enlighten. A single code sample (p. 91, a book purchase order) is immediately recognizable and sensible. There are no figures, illustrations, or screenshots. Subsection headings are used conservatively. Readers are confronted with page after page of unbroken technical text, and occasionally oddly formatted text (in some of the code samples). The author concentrates an commercial products and projects. Library and agency initiatives-for example, the National Institutes of Health HL-7 and U.S. Department of Education's GEM project-are notable for their absence. The Library of Congress USMARC to SGML effort is discussed in chapter 1, which covers the relationship of XML to its parent SGML, the XML processor, and data type definitions, using MARC as its illustrative example. Chapter 3 addresses the stylesheet options for XML, including DSSSL, CSS, and XSL. The Document Style Semantics and Specification Language (DSSSL) was created for use with SGML, and pruned into DSSSL-Lite and further (DSSSL-online). Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) were created for use with HTML. Extensible Style Language (XSL) is a further revision (and extension) of DSSSL-o specifically for use with XML. Discussion of aural stylesheets and Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) round out the chapter.
Chapter 4 introduces XML internal and external pointing and linking technologies. XML Link Language (XLL, now XLink) provides unidirectional, multi-ended, and typed linking. XPointer, used with XLink, provides addressing into the interior of XML documents. XPath operates an the logical structure of an XML document, creating a tree of nodes. Used with both XPointer and XSLT, it permits operations an strings, numbers, and Boolean expressions in the document. The final chapter, "Getting Started" argues for the adoption of a tool for XML production. The features and functionality of various tools for content development, application development, databases, and schema development provide an introduction to some of the available options. Roy Tennant is weIl known in the library community as an author (bis column "Digital Libraries" has appeared in Library Journal since 1997 and he has published Current Cites each month for more than a decade), an electronic discussion list manager (Web4Lib and XML4Lib), and as the creator and manager of UC/Berkeley's Digital Library SunSITE. Librarians have wondered what use they might make of XML since its beginnings. Tennant suggests one answer: "The Extensible Markup Language (XML) has the potential to exceed the impact of MARC an librarianship. While MARC is limited to bibliographic descriptionand arguably a subset at that, as any archivist will tell you-XML provides a highly-effective framework for encoding anything from a bibliographic record for a book to the book itself." (Tennant, p. vii) This slim paperback volume offers librarians and library managers concerned with automation projects "show and teIl" examples of XML technologies used as solutions to everyday tasks and challenges. What distinguishes this work is the editor and contributors' commitment to providing messy details. This book's target audience is technically savvy. While not a "cookbook" per se, the information provided an each project serves as a draft blueprint complete with acronyms and jargon. The inclusion of "lessons learned" (including failures as well as successes) is refreshing and commendable. Experienced IT and automation project veterans will appreciate the technical specifics more fully than the general reader.
Tennant's collection covers a variety of well- and lesser-known XML-based pilot and prototype projects undertaken by libraries around the world. Some of the projects included are: Stanford's XMLMARC conversion, Oregon State's use of XML in interlibrary loaning, e-books (California Digital Library) and electronic scholarly publishing (University of Michigan), the Washington Research Library Consortium's XML-based Web Services, and using TEI Lite to support indexing (Halton Hills Public Library). Of the 13 projects presented, nine are sited in academe, three are state library endeavors, and one is an American public library initiative. The projects are gathered into sections grouped by seven library applications: the use of XML in library catalog records, interlibrary loan, cataloging and indexing, collection building, databases, data migration, and systems interoperability. Each project is introduced with a few paragraphs of background information. The project reports-averaging about 13 pages each-include project goals and justification, project description, challenges and lessons learned (successes and failures), future plans, implications of the work, contact information for individual(s) responsible for the project, and relevant Web links and resources. The clear strengths of this collection are in the details and the consistency of presentation. The concise project write-ups flow well and encourage interested readers to follow-up via personal contacts and URLs. The sole weakness is the price. XML in Libraries will excite and inspire institutions and organizations with technically adept staff resources and visionary leaders. Erik Ray has written a how-to book. Unlike most, Learning XML is not aimed at the professional programming community. The intended audience is readers familiar with a structured markup (HTML, TEX, etc.) and Web concepts (hypertext links, data representation). In the first six chapters, Ray introduces XMUs main concepts and tools for writing, viewing, testing, and transforming XML (chapter 1), describes basic syntax (chapter 2), discusses linking with XLink and XPointer (chapter 3), introduces Cascading Style Sheets for use with XML (chapter 4), explains document type definitions (DTDs) and schemas (chapter 5), and covers XSLT stylesheets and XPath (chapter 6). Chapter 7 introduces Unicode, internationalization and language support, including CSS and XSLT encoding. Chapter 8 is an overview of writing software for processing XML, and includes the Perl code for an XML syntax checker. This work is written very accessibly for nonprogrammers. Writers, designers, and students just starting to acquire Web technology skills will find Ray's style approachable. Concepts are introduced in a logical flow, and explained clearly. Code samples (130+), illustrations and screen shots (50+), and numerous tables are distributed throughout the text. Ray uses a modified DocBook DTD and a checkbook example throughout, introducing concepts in early chapters and adding new concepts to them. Readers become familiar with the code and its evolution through repeated exposure. The code for converting the "barebones DocBook" DTD (10 pages of code) to HTML via XSLT stylesheet occupies 19 pages. Both code examples allow the learner to sec an accumulation of snippets incorporated into a sensible whole. While experienced programmers might not need this type of support, nonprogrammers certainly do. Using the checkbook example is an inspired choice: Most of us are familiar with personal checking, even if few of us world build an XML application for it. Learning XML is an excellent textbook. I've used it for several years as a recommended text for adult continuing education courses and workshops."
Theme
Auszeichnungssprachen
Object
XML

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