Preliminary Technical Checklist

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More often than not, well-structured scholarly sites will post details about the techical specifications and underlying data structures. If a site does not, however, a quick conversation with its Director or Project Manager is usually sufficient. If neither of these options is available, this quick checklist is designed to help you evaluate a potential project for NINES.


1) Is it plain-vanilla HTML with no styling (white background, black text, blue links)? If so, this usually means that there is no underlying structured data, and everything has been marked up in HTML.

Many NINES projects deliver HTML to the web, but have have XML or other data structures at their core. Looking at the URL isn't always the best way to determine this. Styling and site organization are often farm more helpful indications.

2) View the source code. To do this, go up to the 'View' drop-down in your internet browser and choose 'View Source'. At the very top, look for any iteration of XML:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

Even if you're not familiar with HTML, this is often a good way to find out if there is an XML master from which the HTML was generated.

3) Go to the HOME page. Is there a unified and legible navigation scheme, or merely a list of documents?

4) Does the URL end in .php? Many new e-journals use WordPress-like software to mount issues to the web. This means, however, that there is usually no XML or relational database supporting the content, making RDF would difficult to generate. At this point you would want to begin a conversation with the Director/Editor of the project.

Things to keep in mind:

Projects built in proprietary databases such as Microsoft Access have a very difficult time generating RDF. If you are in contact with a project in its early stages, it is always good to recommend an open-source relational database like MySQL, to prevent any future compatibility or sustainability issues.