Monday, 10 March 2014

LIB 122: Week 8 (March 4, 2014)

In the past, I have only learned about metadata schemas as they were utilized in the particular projects that I was working on, namely EAD. In this course, I am increasingly appreciative of the exposure to the history and functionality of various metadata schemas. The more that I review archives job descriptions and tried to educate myself on the relevance of alphabet soup terms like METS, MODS, EAD, XML, I thought I would need some clever mnemonic device to keep them straight in my mind. Of course no rote memorization technique is better than genuine understanding, which I have come to obtain through learning about the reasons that these standards came into place, who was invested in their success, and which descriptive void it attempts to fill. 

So far we have Dublin Core which was devised to help librarians catalog the internet which explains its broad interpretations. Now, we have MODS which came out of the MARC camp which was full of old school library catalogers, challenged with the advent of shelf ready library in the 1990’s. The intention of MODS is to provide more granularity than Dublin Core, and it has the added bonus requirement of being written in the highly interoperable XML programming language. The 50 elements within MODS, are based on the 900 MARC fields, but they are given intelligible names rather than the three digit numeric codes that only library catalogers are familiar with. Lastly, MODS does not require catalogers to user AACR2, and it supports any controlled vocabulary or thesauri. Our assignment at the end of class was to match up the Dublin Core elements that we had used for our photo project last semester with the MODS elements that we just learned about. I definitely ran into some confusion as the “dc: description” field could be used for both “mods: abstract” or “mods: tableofcontents”. Once again local standards would determine which elements should be used and we could be consistent within our organization.

Next week is Spring Break at Pasadena City College, so I’ll be back to blog on March 18, 2014…. 

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