Collections revealed: the role and practical application of collection descriptions CIMI Forum, National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002.

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  • Collections revealed:the role and practical application of collection descriptionsCIMI Forum,National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002Pete JohnstonUKOLN, University of BathBath, BA2 7AYUKOLN is supported by:

    cd-focus@ukoln.ac.ukhttp://www.ukoln.ac.uk/

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Collections revealed: the role and practical application of collection descriptionThe resource discovery contextCollections and servicesDescribing collectionsCollection-level description in practice

    A case study: CLD at The Natural History Museum

    CIMI and CLD

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • UKOLN & collection-level descriptionCentre of expertise in digital information managementCore funding from JISC and Re:sourcePolicy & adviceInfluencing policyinforming practiceResearch & developmentAdvancing knowledgeWide range of areasServices Information services (Ariadne, Cultivate Interactive)Technical support/joint administration of Resource Discovery Network (RDN)

    http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • UKOLN & collection-level descriptionJISC eLib programmerange of digital library development projectsintegrated access to distributed resourcesarchitectural studies (MODELS) simple collection description schema RSLP Collection Description projectAnalytical Model, RSLP CD Schema Collection Description Focusfunded by RSLP, JISC, British Library, Re:sourceimprove consistency/compatibility of approachesawareness-raising, consensus-buildingsupport to implementersdissemination of good practice

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • The resource discovery contextInitiatives to improve access to servicespolitical/economic driversHigh-level strategiesUK Modernising government White papere-Government strategies Better connectivity public library networking through Peoples Networkrecognition of multiple channels of accessImproved resource disclosure e.g. Full Disclosure, Research Support Libraries Programme, Archives Hub, Access 2 Archives, Scottish Archival Network etc

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • The resource discovery contextCollaborative approaches to service provision and resource managementMove away from silo mentalityTowards more joined-up approachesWithin museum domainAcross domainsEmbedded in strategic initiatives for museumsRe:source (England) Single Regional AgenciesPreserving the Past for the Future: Framework for Collections ManagementCross-domain projects

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • The resource discovery contextGrowth of digital content creation programmesmaking heritage (more) accessibleNOF-Digitise50m content creation programmeOver 1 million digital objectssupporting strategy for social inclusion, lifelong learningCulture Onlineto widen access to resources of arts/cultural sector for purposes of learning and enjoymentDigital collections not stand-aloneValue as reusable components

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • The resource discovery contextFunctional separation of content provision and presentationuser wants information relevant to task/activity may see structural/organisational boundaries of content providers as unimportant!content providers exposing content through multiple services, channels service providers surfacing content from multiple (distributed) sources from web sites to portalsA network service that provides a personalised, single point of access to a range of heterogeneous network services, local and remote, structured and unstructuredPowell 2002

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Historic Environment Information Resources Portal (HEIRPORT)http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/heirport/ Cross-searching metadata databases of ADS, RCAHMS, SCRAN, Portable AntiquitiesZ39.50 search/retrieval protocolDublin Core (in XML)

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • The resource discovery contextWide implementation of XML-based standards/specifications for data exchangeOpen Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting Version 2.0roots in scholarly publication community, but deployed more widelyVersion 2.0 as stable releaselightweight protocol enabling sharing of metadata records using XML over HTTPalternative to distributed search modelMust provide simple/unqualified Dublin Core record (OAI provides XML Schema)May provide other metadata formats (in XML)

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Social Science Information Gatewayhttp://www.sosig.ac.uk/

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Resource Discovery Network Resource Finder http://www.rdn.ac.uk/

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • The resource discovery contextCIMI Dublin Core testbedEvaluate use of DCMES for describing range of museum objects185,000 simple DC records from 10 contributorsCIMI Metadata Harvesting using OAI PMHDevelopment of repositoryHarvesting metadataMaking aggregated metadata available for harvestCIMI XML Schema for SPECTRUMRecently made available for review (Oct 2002)Semantics based on mda SPECTRUM standardEnables encoding of rich descriptive informationObjects, related people, places, events

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • The resource discovery contextAccess IntegrationCollaboration. Metadata is data in the system which allows people and machines to do smarter things Interoperability as recombinant potential(Dempsey, 2002) The whole is more than the sum of the parts

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Collections and services

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • What is a collection?Collectionan aggregation of itemsAggregations of, e.g.natural objects: fossils, mineral samplescreated objects: artefacts, documents, recordsdigital resources: documents, images, multimedia objects, data, softwaredigital surrogates of physical objects: documents, imagesmetadata: catalogue records, item descriptions, collection-level descriptions (!)

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • What is a collection?Various criteria for aggregation, e.g.By locationBy type/form of itemBy provenance of itemBy source/ownership of itemBy nature of item content.Any number of itemsPermanent, temporaryDiscrete, distributedCollections created with intent/purposeconsciously formedcollection development policies

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • What is a collection?Functional granularity[T]here is no structure inherent in the model that requires or predisposes a particular level of aggregation. The institution should base its choices on its own pragmatic grounds, such as the level of detail required to make explicit those elements of the Collection-Description that the institution deems to be useful or necessary for the purposes of resource discovery or collection management. i.e. institutions should adopt a functional granularity approach. Heaney, 2000

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Collections and servicesCollections are made available to users through servicesMuseum collections collections of physical objects/itemscollections of digital objects/itemscollections of metadata recordsdescribing physical objectsdescribing digital objectsMuseum services physical servicesdigital/network services

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Physical services make physical collections available at physical locations

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Network services make digital collections available at digital locations

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Physical services make physical collections available at physical locations

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Network services make digital collections available at digital locations

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • User wants to knowWhich collections are relevant to their requirement?subject/coverage of items?type?legal status?conditions of access/use?etc What services make those collections available?location?access?etc

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Collections of digital metadata records made available through multiple network services

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • User wants to knowWhich collections are relevant to their requirement?What services make those collections available?User may be human researcher or software tool

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • The problemWeve created this incredible constellation of collections, of pools of information accessible through the Net. And people cant find which pool to look in(Lynch, 2002)

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Describing collections

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Collection descriptionAnalyticinfo about items in collection and their contentIndexinginfo derived from items in collectionHierarchicinfo about collection as whole, and about items and their content (and relationships between items and whole)Unitaryinfo about collection as whole, not about itemscollection-level description(typology from Heaney 2000)

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Why collection-level description? Enable collection provider todisclose information about collections to potential usersoverview of otherwise uncatalogued itemssummary where item-level detail inappropriate/unavailablemanage collectionsaudit/review holdings internallymanage in collaboration with other providersassess priorities for item-level cataloguinginform strategic planning institutional, cross-institutional, regional, sectoral, national.

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Why collection-level description? Enable user to discover/locate collectionsselect collections to explore/search on basis of summary description e.g.content/coverage, access conditions, resource typecompare collections as broadly similar objects (even where items heterogeneous)understand conditions of access & useinterpret collectionsprovenance, context, relationshipsEnable software agents to select collections to search on behalf of user e.g. on basis of profile/preferencescontrol searches across collections

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • What information should collection-level description provide?IMLS on describing collectionsCollections should be described so that a user can discover important characteristics of the collection, including scope, format, restrictions on access, ownership, and any information significant for determining the collections authenticity, integrity and interpretation.IMLS Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Approaches to CLD in archivesCollections defined by provenance of (unique, physical) itemsrecords of organisation or individualprinciple that value of individual record derives from context, relationships(Mainly) physical collections made available by physical servicesArchival descriptionemphasis on multi-level resource descriptionhierarchical collection descriptionwell-established standards e.g. ISAD(G), EAD

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Approaches to CLD in archivesEncoded Archival Description (EAD)SGML/XML Document Type Definition for encoding archival finding aidsOwned/maintained by Society of American Archivists/Library of Congress Hierarchical finding-aidsStructured document approachDesigned to encompass broad range of existing practiceBasis of established servicesOnline Archive of CaliforniaRLG Archival ResourcesUK Public Record Office, Archives Hub, A2A etchttp://www.loc.gov/ead/

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Approaches to CLD in librariesFocus on description of (non-unique, physical) itemwell-established standards (MARC, AACR2)shared cataloguing emphasis on discoveryCollections defined bylocationsubjectUntil recently, CLD informal, unstructuredsome use of MARC for CLD (especially in USA)deployment of RSLP CD schema by RSLP projects

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Approaches to CLD in librariesRSLP Collection Description projectMichael Heaney, An Analytical Model of Collections and their CataloguesEntity-Relationship modelImplementation independentBased mainly on library/archival view of collectionbut intended to be applicable across wide range of collection typesFunctionally (IFLA FRBR) concerned with : Finding (provide access points for discovery)Identifying (describe sufficiently well for user interpretation)http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/metadata/rslp/

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Approaches to CLD in librariesRSLP Collection Description schemaAndy Powell (UKOLN) structured set of metadata attributessome simplification of modeldescription of subset of entities in modelattributes based on Dublin Core Element Set where possibleRSLP CD schema supports creation of unitary collection descriptionsimple high-level descriptionnot a substitute for richer CLD schema RSLP CD instance set of linked descriptions of several resources

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • RSLP CD Model and Schema (simplified)

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Approaches to CLD for digital resourcesSome description of aggregates of resourcesuse of general metadata schemas (e.g. DC, GILS)application-specific, protocol-specific approaches Evolution of approaches to creating digital collectionsproof of concept (technological focus?)greater attention to custodianship, usefocus on integration, reuse, interoperability, sustainability(Cole 2002, Besser 2002)Integration requires shared conventions for talking about collectionsgrowing interest in collection-level metadata

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Approaches to CLD in museumsFocus on description of (unique, physical) objectfor management more than discovery? But concept of collection is presentVarious criteria type/form of itemsubjectownership/sourceaudience/purposeSome CLD (maybe not called CLD!)e.g. guides to holdings, directories, gateways

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Approaches to CLD in museumsCIDOC Conceptual Reference Model draft v3.3.2, 31 July 2002E78 CollectionSubclass of: Physical Man-Made Stuff Scope Note: This entity describes an aggregate of items, which is maintained by an Actor following a plan of cultural relevance over time. Things may be added or taken out of a collection in pursuit of this plan. A collection is designed for a certain public, and the conservation of the collected items is normally catered for.(emphasis added)

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • FENSCORE http://fenscore.man.ac.uk/ set up in early 1980'sCLDs for UK biological collections, other than those in the NHM

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Cornucopia http://www.cornucopia.org.uk/ Service provided by Re:source1800 institution-level records, collection-level data from regional collection mapping exercisesCurrent work to expand coverage, enhance interoperability

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • 24 Hour Museum http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/ Launched by mda/Campaign for Museums, now independent charity with funding from DCMS/Re:sourceInstitution records, plus events/articles/educational resources; virtual exhibitsPotential for embedding CLDs from Cornucopia

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Approaches to CLD in museumsProject/service specific approachesInformal?Limited standardisation?However, growing interest inrepurposing management data to support disclosuresharing data across systemsRequires harmonisation of approachessome use of Encoded Archival Description DTDMuseums in the Online Archive of CaliforniaThe Natural History Museumsome use of RSLP CD schemaCrossroads (West Midlands), Find It In Londonbuilding consensus on community schema e.g. BioCase

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Collection-level descriptionin practice

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Collection-level description & Research Support Libraries ProgrammeSupport for academic researchersdisclosure of collectionsdiscovery of/access to collectionscollaborative management of collectionsCollections in RSLPprojects describing primarily collections of physical items (library/archive)projects also describing digital catalogues (which describe physical items) collections of metadata recordshttp://www.rslp.ac.uk/

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Collection-level description & Research Support Libraries ProgrammeAdoption of RSLP CD Schema and/or ISAD(G)/EADSome project-specific schemasWeb-based discovery services built on databases of CLDssubject/discipline-based e.g.Backstage: Theatre StudiesCASBAH: Caribbean Studies/Black & Asian History Cecilia: Music collections and many morenational/regionalPresently no cross-programme search/aggregation service

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Scottish Collections Network Extensions (SCONE) http://scone.strath.ac.uk/

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Research and Special Collections Available Locally (RASCAL) http://www.rascal.ac.uk/

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Collections Wales http://www.mappingwales.ac.uk/

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Collection-level description & NOF-digitiseProjects creating digital collectionscollections of digital resourcescollections of metadata recordsCLD as mechanism for disclosure/discoveryNOF-digi technical standards recommend use of RSLP CD SchemaUse in NOF-digitise portal(Re) use in other services/environmentsInitial portal not providing item-level searchbut simple DC item-level metadata availablepotential for e.g. OAI-based approach

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Collection-level description & the JISC Information EnvironmentContent made available as collectionsvarious content providersPhysical collectionsof physical resources (e.g. books, journals)Digital collectionsof digital resources (texts, images, multimedia objects, software, datasets, learning objects etc) of digital metadata records describing physical items, digital items, physical collectionsmetadata record contains identifier/locator of resource Users access content through serviceshttp://www.ukoln.ac.uk/distributed-systems/jisc-ie/arch/

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • End-user needs to join services together manually - as well as learning multiple user interfacesCurrently.

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Using Collections in the JISC Information EnvironmentHTML Web sitesAimed at human reader not software toolDifferent user interfaces, different metadata schemasResearcher joins up services manuallyThe portal solutiontask/user-centredsingle point of access to range of heterogeneous network servicesThe IE service registryDatabase of collection-level descriptions, service descriptions

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • The vision.End-user is automatically presented with relevant resources

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Collection-level description & BioCASEBioCASE = Biological Collections Access Service for Europe Partnership of 31 countries funded by European Commission under Framework VBiological collections largeItem-level description time-consuming BioCASE XML Schemas forUnit-level (specimens/observations) metadataCollection-level metadata

    http://www.biocase.org/

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Collection-level description & BioCASENational nodes collecting information about biological collections in that countryThe Natural History Museum is UK National NodePool records from NHM CLD project, FENSCORE, other organisationsSearches on BioCASE portal will returnunit-level records where available from participating databasescollection-level records

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Surveying the landscapeCollections as broadly similar objectsacross domainseven if constituent items, approaches to management etc. differeasier to harmonise collection-level metadata?Disclosure via collection-level description achievablewhere item-level description not feasible/appropriateCLD not a substitute for item-level descriptioncomplementing item-level discovery enabling item-level discovery by providing gateway to item-level metadata

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Surveying the landscapeCLDs as resource discovery metadataCLDs support survey of information landscapeto identify areas rather than specific features - to identify rainforest rather than to retrieve an analysis of the canopy fauna of the Amazon basin (Heaney, 2000)detailed item-level map not appropriate in all contexts The navigator of the landscape may be a human researcher or a software tool

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • CIMI and CD Focus surveyCollaboration on survey questionnaire, Sep/Oct 2001current activity in CLDstandards/specifications used for CLDschemasterminologies, thesauri etchow schemas/specs used/deployedapproaches/technologies/toolsproblemsBroad target audienceinternationalnot limited to museums

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • CIMI and CD Focus survey106 respondentsMostly working on library/archive collectionsEmphasis on resource disclosure/discoveryOutside archival community, little consensus on descriptive schemaslocal/project-/community-specific schemasextensions to standard schemasdifferent schemas for different classes of resourcelegacy (unstructured?) CLDsOnly 22 describing museum collectionsonly 8 exclusively museum collections

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • CIMI and CD Focus surveySimple DC (6), Qualified DC (4), RSLP CD (5),ISADG (5),EAD (3), SPECTRUM (2),Project-specific (9),Other (9) : subset of ISADG (1), legacy data (1), national standard (1), MARC (2), may develop (1), VRA 3.0 (1), AMICO (1) , project-specific (1)Simple DC (2), Qualified DC (3), RSLP CD (1), SPECTRUM (2),Project-specific (4),Other (4) : national standard (1), VRA 3.0 (1), AMICO (1) , project-specific (1) Schemas in use (in 22)Schemas in use (in 8)

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Issues, challenges.What is a collection?even-ness across contexts, domains?does it matter?Absence of cross-domain consensus on schemas for CLDAccess points for CLDwhat is the subject of a collection?terminologiesintra-domain/cross-domainRelationships between items and collectionsRelationships between services and collections

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • Issues, challenges.Can single CLD support multiple functions?Collection management and resource discovery?Audience, purposeLanguage: vernacular v technical/specialist Uncertainty of value of CLD, compared to item-level description?resource managers, resource usersperception of dumb-down?varying perceptions within museum sector?

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • SummaryAccess, integration, interoperabilityacross institutional, domain boundariesCollections as broadly similar objectsCLD as resource discovery metadataCLD as contextual metadataCLD supporting a survey of the landscapeBy human user, by software toolCLD as complement to item-level descriptionCLD as gateway to richer descriptionCLD as achievable mechanism for resource disclosure

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • More information.http://www.cimi.org/http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/http://www.nhm.ac.uk/

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

  • AcknowledgementsUKOLN is funded by Resource: the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the UK higher and further education funding councils, as well as by project funding from the JISC and the European Union. UKOLN also receives support from the University of Bath where it is based.

    http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/

    CIMI Forum, Edinburgh, 31 October 2002

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