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Extending the role of metadata in a digital library system.
We describe an approach to the development of a digital library system that is founded on a number of basic principles. In particular, we discuss the critical role of metadata in all aspects of the system design. We begin by describing how the notion of metadata is sometimes interpreted and go on to discuss some of our early experiences in a digital conversion project. We report on the Profiles in Science project, which is making the archival collections of prominent biomedical scientists available on the World Wide Web. We discuss the principles that are used in our system design, illustrating these throughout the discussion. Our approach has involved interpreting metadata in its broadest sense. We capture data about the items in our digital collection for a a variety of purposes and use those data to drive the entire system. Futher, we have designed our overall system architecture such that it can accommodate changes while still ensuring the persistence of the underlying data.