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Guidelines for Dublin Core Working Groups - Working Draft 1.4

Date Issued: 1999-06-02
Identifier: http://dublincore.org/documents/1999/06/02/wgguidelines/
Replaces: Not Applicable
Is Replaced By: http://dublincore.org/documents/2003/08/14/wgguidelines/
Latest version: http://dublincore.org/documents/wgguidelines/
Status of document: This is a DCMI Working Draft.
Description of document: This document outlines a proposal for the structure and operation of the Dublin Core Metadata Intiative [DCMI]. DCMI is responsible for the development, standardisation and promotion of the Dublin Core metadata element set. With the continuing growth of international and interdisciplinary interest in the Dublin Core activity, it is now necessary to develop greater formality around the organisational structure and the decision making process. Providing explicit process and structure is critical for sustaining community confidence. The DCMI will be managed so as to reflect the broad interests of diverse stakeholders. This document should be read in conjunction with the Dublin Core Process Document. The Process Document details the operation of the Working Groups and the procedures for the development of proposals and recommendation documents.

Purpose and background

This document defines the procedures which are employed in developing Dublin Core specifications and in carrying out other tasks to advance the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. These tasks are carried out by Dublin Core Working Groups. In particular, this document sets out guidelines for:

  • the initiation of new work items;
  • the establishment and conduct of Working Groups;
  • the responsibilities of the chairs and members of Working Groups;
  • the communication of Working Group documents and reports; and
  • the ratification of decisions on work items.

An initial draft of this document was developed in November 1998 by the Dublin Core Process Working Group. The Group was formed at a joint meeting of the Dublin Core Policy Advisory Committee and Technical Advisory Committee, held in Washington DC on 1 November 1998. Between April and June 1999, the document was discussed and amended by the DC Coordination Committee Working Group.

Initiation of a new Dublin Core work item

A proposal for a new Dublin Core work item may originate from:

  • the Dublin Core Directorate; or
  • the Dublin Core International Workshop; or
  • anyone who participates in the Dublin Core (dc-general) international discussion list.

In the first case, a work item proposal will be developed and documented by the Directorate. In the last two cases, a work item proposal will be developed, documented and submitted by a proposer to the Directorate. In all three cases, the Directorate will consult with the Advisory Committee. The proposer must be willing to participate in any Working Group dealing with the work item.

The Directorate may either:

  • approve the work item and refer it to an existing Working Group for action;
  • approve the work item and establish a new Working Group to carry it out;
  • decide to take no further action; or
  • defer any action until a specified date.

This decision should be documented and communicated to the proposer. In the case of the third and fourth courses of action, reasons should be given. The Directorate will not make a decision which is contrary to the clear advice of the Advisory Committee.

Working Groups

Dublin Core Working Groups are constituted to address work items raised in the course of Dublin Core activities. Membership of Dublin Core Working Groups is open to all interested parties. A Working Group becomes dormant at the completion of its charter and should not address additional work items without charter revisions approved by the Dublin Core Directorate.

Chairs and Co-Chairs (if any) of Working Groups are appointed by the Dublin Core Directorate. The Managing Director has the task of following up and coordinating Working Group chairs.

Because the Dublin Core Workshops provide an opportunity to review work items and to introduce new people, all working groups will automatically expire at each Dublin Core Workshop, although they may be re-constituted if necessary.

Working Group activities are conducted through a combination of face-to-face meetings, teleconferencing, and an archived mailing list. Minutes from face-to-face meetings and teleconference calls will be maintained by the chair or the chair’s designee.

Responsibilities of Working Group chairs

Working Group chairs will:

  • write the Working Group charter, in consultation with the Dublin Core Directorate;
  • invite all interested parties, through the Dublin Core (dc-general) list, to join the Working Group;
  • ensure that an e-mail list is established for use by all Working Group members, using the Mailbase service (http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/alphabetical/d.htm);
  • ensure that an official list of Working Group members is maintained;
  • submit to the Directorate and the Chair of the Advisory Committee a list of deliverables and their target dates;
  • manage the work of the Working Group to ensure that deliverables are completed by the target dates;
  • should a deliverable miss the target date, report the reason for slippage to the Directorate and the Chair of the Advisory Committee, and submit a new target date;
  • make regular reports of progress to the dc-general list (these may be quite informal);
  • ensure that all Working Group members have an opportunity to approve or disapprove all decisions and Draft Proposals of the Group;
  • resolve any lack of consensus in the Group; and
  • ensure that decisions are accompanied by explanation that will support that consensus both within the Working Group and in the larger community.

Responsibilities of Working Group members

Working Group members will:

  • participate in e-mail discussions in a timely fashion;
  • read and comment on draft proposals and related documents;
  • carry out any actions which are assigned to them by the Working Group chair, with their agreement;
  • participate in face-to-face meetings and teleconference calls when possible; and
  • be sensitive to the importance of consensus as a central feature of the Dublin Core process.

It is recognised that some individuals will join Working Groups in order to follow, rather than participate in, the discussions. This is acceptable, although Working Group members are encouraged to share their expertise with the community through active participation.

Conduct of Working Groups

Within each working group, the discussion will be focussed on discrete “open issues”. Discussion of open issues will be managed by the chair via email, teleconference, and/or face-to-face meetings. Such discussions will lead to decisions or actions.

“Actions” are tasks deemed necessary to the conversion of open issues to decisions. Actions must be assigned to specific individuals or groups of individuals, and should include a deadline as well. Examples of actions include preparing a document or document component, articulating a technical solution to a problem, and eliciting information from an individual or group external to the working group.

“Decisions” are made in teleconference or face-to-face meetings by a simple majority of those present. Decisions made via e-mail discussions will reflect rough consensus as judged by the chair. Failure to respond in e-mail discussions of open issues or proposed decisions on the working group mailing list may be construed by the chair as evidence of agreement. Reversals of decisions made previously by the Working Group require a 2/3 majority (in the case of teleconference or face-to-face meetings) or a very clear consensus as judged by the chair (in the case of e-mail discussions).

In the conduct of e-mail discussions, the Chair will ensure that:

  • the discussion is focussed on open issues, leading to specific actions or decisions;
  • time limits are imposed for discussion and voting (intervals will vary according to the complexity of issues, and established and extended at the discretion of the chair); and
  • the subject lines of e-mail messages are constructed so as to facilitate the reference to particular open issues.

In the conduct of teleconference or face-to-face discussions, the Chair will ensure that:

  • the discussion is focussed on open issues, leading to specific actions or decisions;
  • meetings are scheduled in advance (1 week or more for teleconferences, 4 weeks or more for face-to-face meetings);
  • meetings have advance agendas; and
  • meetings are conducted according to formal techniques for managing meetings (such as agendas, time limits, queues, and rules of order).

Working Group documents

All working group documents are publicly accessible via the Dublin Core Web site. The Web site will include:

  • the charter for the working group;
  • a list of expected deliverables, and deadlines for completion;
  • a schedule of events (meetings and conference calls, past and planned);
  • the current version of the Group’s Working Draft (if any); and
  • a link to the archive of the e-mail sent to the Working Group list.

Working Group reports

The three key status identifiers for Working Group reports are ‘Working Draft’, ‘Draft Proposal’ and ‘Dublin Core Specification’.

During its development within the Working Group, a report may go through a number of Working Draft versions. The Working Draft may be developed by the Chair, or by one or more members of the Working Group with the oversight of the Chair. These versions may be notified to members of the Working Group only, or may be given wider notification at the discretion of the Chair.

Once the Chair is satisfied that a report meets the requirements of the Working Group charter and reflects the consensus of the Group, he or she will issue it as a Draft Proposal from the Working Group. The Chair will submit the Draft Proposal to the dc-general list for initial comment, accompanied by a submission note identifying probable areas of public controversy that might bear on broad acceptance. The Draft Proposal should also contain a proposed deadline for these comments. A short response time (no more than two weeks) is recommended. Substantive public comments should be either accommodated in a revised Draft Proposal, or their rejection should be justified in a document accessible via the Working Group Web pages.

Following consideration of these comments, the Chair may refer the Draft Proposal back to the Working Group for further consideration and development of a revised Draft Proposal. This process may iterate.

Once the Chair is satisfied that there is broad community consensus, he or she will submit the Draft Proposal to the Advisory Committee for review. The Advisory Committee may either refer the Draft Proposal back to the Working Group Chair with comments, or forward the Draft Proposal to the Directorate for final approval.

The work item may be abandoned following comment at the Draft Proposal stage, if these comments reveal major flaws or seriously unsatisfactory features. In this event, reasons for the decision should be issued by the Working Group Chair.

The highest status which can be assigned to a Working Group report is a ‘Dublin Core Specification’. The decision on whether to assign this status will be made by the Directorate, after considering the advice of the Advisory Committee. The date of this decision must be recorded, and the decision must be announced to the Dublin Core (dc-general) discussion list. A Dublin Core specification is assigned a date of issue and a version number, and is made available from the Dublin Core Web site.

The Working Group will continue to exist until the Dublin Core Workshop following this decision. The Working Group chair, or the chair’s delegate, must present a report at that workshop.

Dublin Core Notes

A Note is a document which is made available by the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative for discussion only. The publication of a Note implies no endorsement of any kind.

A draft Note is submitted to the Directorate from any member of the Dublin Core community. The Directorate will acknowledge receipt of the Note and will forward it, if appropriate, to the Advisory Committee or to the relevant Working Group. The Advisory Committee or Working Group will discuss the document and will recommend whether it should be endorsed and published as a Note, and whether it should become an action item for a Working Group.

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