Saturday, 22 August 2009

Standards & Metadata - Part V

A quick follow-on to my series of same name posted here - I had a long email trail with a potential partner about serving up petrodata on the web, and here are a few lessons learned:

  1. let's focus on meeting users needs, regardless of the underlying technology (say, must we know how ABS brakes work to drive a car) - users want to perform their jobs better, not play with new toys
  2. but if current user needs are a starting point, then let not their needs be a limit either (a car manufacturer once thought that the automobile market was limited by the availability of chauffeurs)
  3. let's focus on interoperability, as we never find homogeus systems in any complete workflow (how often do data retrieval, geospatial processing and intra/internet posting happen via a single source?)
  4. and data or process standards greatly enhance the success of interoperability, say, as comprehensive data models (schemas) such as PPDM, or as data exchange protocols (XML) such as Energistics
  5. also documenting the data and processes via detailed metadata every step of the way will facilitate both of the above (those notes in fact encapsulate all the unstructured knowledge of how a system works)
This is only a taster of what my potential partner and I gleaned over 50 years between us. But I find it useful to jot ideas down as a refresher every now and then, were it only to see where I may have missed something. As they say, watch this space.