Standards

As a company, we were originally best known for our toolkits for information retrieval and resource sharing in the digital library domain. We are experts in both the Z39.50 protocol and SRU, it's RESTful equivalent. We also have, in OpenRequest, a complete implementation of the ISO 10160/10161 protocol for interlibrary loans and have worked on implementation projects with some of the biggest names in the library automation sector.

Our approach is to encourage interoperability through the adoption (and, where necessary, the development) of open standards. We design our products to be compliant from the bottom up, rather than trying to graft it on at the last minute. Our cross platform Java development environment and early adoption of XML Schema based representations enables us to deliver components of Service Oriented Architectures using Web Services and RESTful technologies.

We have worked with clients to develop a number of Application Profiles of key metadata standards in both the cultural and educational sectors. In the cultural sector these have included Dublin Core Application Profiles for the Peoples' Network, Museum of London and the Theatre Information Group whilst in the education sector these have included profiles of IEEE Learning Object Metadata (LOM) Dublin Core (DC) and Lightweight Information Describing Objects (LIDO).

Our expertise in eLearning includes practical experience of content packaging, eportfolio, course information and content metadata standards, as well as managing large scale repositories.

Our work on repositories in both the cultural and educational sectors has resulted in us gaining practical expertise of a range of approaches to sharing both content and metadata. These include harvesting using OAI-PMH where we have developed some sophisticated tools to circumvent common implementation issues and publishing using SWORD where we were one of the first companies from outside the original SWORD project to implement the SWORD protocol. We therefore have practical experience of the pros and cons of both approaches.

All of our expertise in open standards has been gained, sometimes painfully, through practical 'hands on' experience in large scale projects, rather than one-off 'demonstrators' or 'proofs of concept'. We therefore have an in-depth understanding of what compliance means, and how to achieve it, that goes way beyond simple 'box ticking'.