Wednesday, 5 February 2014

LIB 122: Week 3 (January 28, 2014)

Today we discussed some general rules that an archivist should consider when deciding which metadata schemas or elements to use on given project. I made a checklist based on the content of Marie Kennedy’s 2008 article on the Texas Digital Library website, “Nine questions to guide you inchoosing a metadata schema”. I liked the way that the article used examples from the University of Southern California medical library’s digital collection to demonstrate the points. Questions like, who will be using the collection, or do you have the funding to maintain the metadata over time seem impossible to answer for a small community archive. I would definitely use this article at the onset of a project to indicate the great deal of human and financial resources that need to go into the endeavor, but in the back of my mind, I would be prepared to have “unknown” as an answer and make other concessions. Other concepts like NISO standards, and consistent data entry protocols should be in place regardless of the institutional structure. 

In class, we also discussed the “One to One Principle” in terms of metadata records. In the past, I had learned about it in terms of FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records), with a memorable, albeit foggy understanding of what could be done in describing Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a book, a movie, and an audiobook. Similar to metadata records, all related but conceptually different entities should be represented by separate records. In other words, the container matters. A digital object should have a separate record than the analog object, even though the intellectual content is the same. We can use the “dc: source” or “dc: relation” elements to explain what the record in question is referring to. Linda mentioned how this concept is becoming increasingly important as large databases like WorldCat had been full of description for analog objects for a long time; with the influx of digital objects (often with similar intellectual content) catalogers need to be clear about what they are describing within the record. Is this a book at my local library about Anne Frank, or an e-book that I can access online, certain metadata fields should make this distinction, when the title, subject or date fields are all the same.     

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