Newspapers and Syndication – Part Ib: ACAP – the “details”

As expected the presentation of the ACAP details at the Frankfurt book fair on Oct. 6th was unnoticed by the media.
Since i was eager to learn more about the details a emailed Gavin O’Reilly. Unexpectedly he answered quite fast, telling me that the details are to be found on the newly launched ACAP Website

Before you directly head to it, there’s not mot to divulge into. Until now only two PDFs: The Frankfurt Book Fair presentation and a 9-pages briefing paper as well as FAQs are available.

After reading the briefing paper (which also contains the FAQs) the following “details” are noteworthy:

  • ACAP is about media and search engines not about media and syndication
  • ACAP is mainly about policy statements and formal licenses
  • The pilot projet will start in November
  • The pilot project will run for 12 month and is expected to draft version 1.0 of the Protocol
  • ACAP will establish liasons with other relevant standards developments, with ONIX being the only one named so far
  • surprisingly Rightscom, the company that has done the ACAP feasability study and is goint to participate in the pilot also hat a major stake in ONIX for licensing terms

Having glimpsed at the ONIX Publisher License Terms draft format as well as the The ONIX-PL representation of the Wiley License as an XML file i guess that things will be even worse than i anticipated in Part I.

ONIX is at least an order of magnitude more complex than ICE, clearly aimed at very complex licenses for pure B2B szenarios. Having done a lot of work during my academic life (including my PhD theses) in the field of formal ontologies, especially the following part of the licensing terms raised my attention.

The ONIX Licensing Terms Dictionary
Also fundamental to the ONIX Publisher License format is the ONIX Licensing Terms Dictionary. This is designed to provide a rich but very precisely structured vocabulary for expressing many of the key elements in the format. In general, any entity or concept that is referenced in an ONIX Licensing Terms expression must be identified either by a controlled value from the Dictionary or by a label that has been assigned in a definition that forms part of the license expression. The names and definitions of elements and composites in the format are themselves part of the Dictionary. The ONIX Licensing Terms Dictionary is based on ontological principles and tools developed by Rightscom Ltd.
Relator values are a particularly important class of Dictionary terms. Any entity XXXX defined in a license expression can be associated with any other entity YYYY through a composite, within which the relationship is expressed by a controlled value in an element . This highly generalised structure means that new relationships can be expressed in the format simply by defining additional controlled values for the relevant Relators.”

Until now i did not recognise Rightscom as one of the major players in the field of ontologies, description logics, semantic web etc. In addition IMHO neither a centrally controlled vocabulary works on the internet scale nor does ontology unification work on the grand scale.