PBCore.org site refresh a welcome sight

Written by Jack Brighton on Sunday, February 20, 2011

If you haven’t been to http://pbcore.org lately you’re in for a good surprise. The site has been completely rebuilt, and contains up-to-date documentation, news, case studies, and most importantly, the complete PBCore 2.0 schema. There, I buried the lead: PBCore 2.0 has been officially released!

I might quibble with the color scheme of the new site, and I see some obvious CSS tweaks that could improve readability. But hey, my own websites need lots of work so who am I to talk? I have to give the folks at WGBH, who rebuilt the new PBCore site from the bones and ashes of its 2005 incarnation, lots of credit for getting things basically right.

Things I really like: In addition to the 2.0 Schema, there’s a How To section (contained in the Documentation menu item in the sidebar navigation) which really good guidance, and a Training section with clear instructions and code examples on things like “How to express collections in PBCore,” “How to sequence records within relationships,” and “How to express time segments within a video.” None of these was even possible prior to the 2.0 schema, and now we have clear documentation on how to do them.

Another area of the PBCore site that stands out is the Elements section. This section provides concise details on each of the PBCore 2.0 elements, usage rules (i.e. minOccurs) where it appears in the schema, and its available attributes. I find the Elements section highly usable, but I find myself Command-clicking element names to open them in a new browser tab (I’m on a Mac…) so I don’t lose the Elements index page in the original tab. It might be more usable to navigate the Elements more like the old PBCore User Guide, where clicking on an Element doesn’t take you away from the navigation. But that’s a minor quibble, I’m a geek, and am never completely happy. smile

One thing I am happy about is the inclusion of a “related discussions” link on each Element page, which includes a link to the home page of pbcoreresources.org. This leads to an idea about how pbcoreresources could directly add value to pbcore.org. As we discuss various PBCore elements here, our posts get aggregated in categories like pbcoreTitle. So for example on the pbcoreCollection Element page on pbcore.org, the “related discussions” link could go directly to the pbcoreCollection category page on pbcoreresources.org. This assumes enough of us are contributing to pbcoreresources with questions, answers, examples, and other useful conversation about PBCore elements. We have done that to some extent, and I’m suggesting we do it more. PBCore.org can then mine those discussions to enhance the official documentation over time.

Or maybe pbcore.org will continue to grow and supplant some of the stuff we have been doing here, and I’d be OK with that. The new pbcore.org site is built on WordPress, and it does allow comments in many places including the How To pages and the Element pages. Wherever it happens, I expect the user community will continue to build a shared understanding of how to move forward with PBCore. And above all, to keep the keepers of the PBCore standard in tune with the needs and realities of real-world media producers, publishers, and archivists who use it every day.


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