Are you COPEing?

'Create Once, Publish Everywhere' is new digital paradigm for libraries, museums and archives.

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The 'Create Once, Publish Everywhere' paradigm, otherwise known as 'COPE', can have a significant impact on the digital strategies of libraries, museums and archives, according to Joy Palmer, Senior Manager Resource Discovery and Marketing at Mimas, who was speaking at UKSG’s recent Forum on library discovery technologies in London.

The COPE model was set out by Daniel Jacobson of NPR in a 2009 blog post, in which he described NPR’s content pipeline. As he explains it, "The basic principle is to have content producers and ingestion scripts funnel content into a single system (or series of closely tied systems). Once there, the distribution of all content can be handled identically, regardless of content type or its destinations."

COPE is built on a series of what Jacobson calls 'sub-philosophies', including the need to build content management systems and not web publishing tools, to separate content from display, and to ensure content modularity and content portability.

The big question, said Joy Palmer, is how do we get our resources multitasking effectively? We shouldn’t be talking about the APIs, but about what we want users to be able to do. She pointed to the "cult of the hackathon" as an example of what not to do. In the hackathon model, developers are given access to data and create fantastic new apps, but they don’t have input from users about what they actually want, with the consequence that the apps don’t necessarily 'stick'. This isn’t a strategic approach to product development, argued Palmer, noting that cultural heritage portal Europeana is moving away from the hackathon concept towards using labs to manage the development process.

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