Sunday, October 29, 2006

My visit to the metadata library

Last night I had the strangest dream…

I was looking for a good mystery, perhaps a Sherlock Holmes book. I went to the library and an elderly lady at the front desk said “Welcome to Roy G. Biv Library. How can I help you?”

“I am looking for a Sherlock Holmes mystery. Do you have one?” I asked.

“What color of book are you looking for?” She asked.

“Well I don’t really care what color it is.” I replied.

“Well in this library, our books are sorted by color of the cover. The red covers are over there, the orange covers over there and the yellow ones right over here. You get the idea. Shelving books by color makes it very easy for us to shelve a book because the color of the cover is obvious. It also makes it easy to see when a book is miss-shelved. You can see the miss-shelved books right away.”

“Yes, I can see how that would make your work much easier. Do you know where I can find the Sherlock Holmes book?”

“Well, it would help us a lot if you could tell us what color the cover is.” She said firmly.

“I don’t know what the color of the cover is…, I just want a mystery book about Sherlock Holmes!” I said exasperated.

“Well, why don’t you just start looking at the reds, then orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and finally violet. I am sure you will find it in a few days…”

Then I woke up and when to work. There the staff was attempting to store all the data elements in the enterprise sorted by the system name that each data element was first recorded. Then my real nightmare began.

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