(Oxford ArchDigital Ltd., UK)
The talk around XML today focuses largely on its technical capabilities in a very broad and abstract sense. Although the benefits of XML in the Cultural Heritage sector are currently being identified, if not universally understood, most discussions of ‘the role’ of XML in cultural heritage continues to be expounded in very abstract and not-entirely-useful ways. This paper attempts to redress that balance by examining in-depth the process of creation the MIDAS XML schemata for monument inventories, and particularly the manner in which XML schemata can be created to respond to the requirements of a broad – and at times – very diverse body of stakeholders. The intention is to provide a more in-depth look at how the technology can be crafted to accommodate specific user needs, especially the granular and incomplete information that traditionally forms the core of a national Cultural Heritage data set. The paper will be of interest to those who work with monument inventories, those who have heard of XML but would like to know more about how it ‘works’, and of course those who are interested in applying XML-based technologies to better satisfy the diverse requirements of the entire cultural heritage sector.