The partage experience at the institut geographique
In the French NMA, a network of metadata experts has been initiated to capitalize existing practices in the domain of metadata, as described in . Such practices can be files or databases that are metadata, even if they are not called so. Such practices can also be access scenarios, possibly relying only on a person-to-person communication. The aim of this network is to explore enterprise portal solutions for IGN in order to capitalize and improve these practices. This experimental portal has been called PARTAGE, “sharing” in French. A major difficulty identified in PART- AGE is to have relevant actors involved in the metadata effort. There are two types of actors:
• The people who will provide and maintain the metadata
• The people who will use the metadata bases to access specific information
The PARTAGE approach formalizes existing practices, whether by building a metadata application that exploits an existing metadata base or by automating an existing user-access scenario through a metadata application. These applications are called dedicated testbeds. Dedicated testbeds are structured in a metadata database, an application programming interface (API) to this database, and a metadata service that often happen to be nonstandard. They should ultimately be integrated into the portal by standardizing the data aspect as illustrated on Figure 4.2. The data aspect of the application (i.e., the database and the interface to query it) is standardized without modifying the user interface to the service.