Integrating Metadata Creation into Catalog Workflow

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  • This article was downloaded by: [Uppsala universitetsbibliotek]On: 07 October 2014, At: 20:27Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Cataloging & Classification QuarterlyPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wccq20

    Integrating Metadata Creation intoCatalog WorkflowMaura L. Valentino aa University of Oklahoma , Norman, Oklahoma, USAPublished online: 23 Aug 2010.

    To cite this article: Maura L. Valentino (2010) Integrating Metadata Creation into Catalog Workflow,Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 48:6-7, 541-550, DOI: 10.1080/01639374.2010.496304

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  • Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 48:541550, 2010Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLCISSN: 0163-9374 print / 1544-4554 onlineDOI: 10.1080/01639374.2010.496304

    Integrating Metadata Creationinto Catalog Workflow

    MAURA L. VALENTINOUniversity of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA

    The University of Oklahoma Libraries recently undertook a projectdesigned to integrate digital library metadata creation into theworkflow of the Cataloging Department. This article examines theconditions and factors that led to the projects genesis, the proposedand revised workflows that were developed, the staff training effortsthat accompanied implementation of the project, and the resultsand benefits obtained through the projects implementation. Theproject presented several challenges but resulted in an improvedworkflow, greater use of Cataloging Department resources, andmore accurate and useful metadata while increasing the Libraryscapacity to support digitization efforts in a timely fashion.

    KEYWORDS metadata, cataloging, library training, library work-flow

    INTRODUCTION

    During the summer of 2009 the University of Oklahoma Libraries initiated aproject aimed at integrating digital library metadata creation into the work-flow of the Librarys Cataloging Department. After a thorough review of theoverall management of metadata creation relating to existing and in-processdigital libraries, it was determined that the centralization of metadata cre-ation in the Cataloging Department would result in increased consistencyand accuracy in the resulting metadata, and that such a centralization wouldalso improve the ability of library staff to efficiently and effectively managesuch projects.

    While library catalogers possess a detailed understanding of metadatacreation as it relates to traditional library operations, such as the creation

    Received April 2010; revised May 2010; accepted May 2010.Address correspondence to Maura L. Valentino, Coordinator of Digital Initiatives Librarian,

    University of Oklahoma, 401 West Brooks, Norman, OK 73019, USA. E-mail: maura@ou.edu

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  • 542 M. L. Valentino

    of Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC) records, it was determined thatin order to effectively function as a key core component of the digital li-brary metadata workflow, members of the Cataloging Department wouldrequire additional training in digital metadata standards and implementa-tion. In support of this goal, the University of Oklahoma Libraries DigitalInitiatives Department developed and conducted a digital library metadatatraining program specifically tailored to the needs of catalog librarians. Basedon the results of this training, the recommended workflow was modified toreflect the needs and skills of the catalog librarians. This redesigned man-agement and workflow infrastructure was subsequently implemented in anactual digital library project to assess its efficacy.

    REVIEW OF EXISTING WORKFLOWS AND STANDARDS

    The University of Oklahoma Libraries maintains numerous digital librariesacross a wide range of academic disciplines with additional projects cur-rently in progress or under development. A review of these efforts revealedno standardization of digital library project metadata creation workflows.Metadata creation workflow for each digital library project was developedand implemented on an ad hoc basis by individual academic departmentsor on a project-by-project basis by individual academic departments in con-sultation with the Digital Initiatives Department. As a result, no significantefforts aimed at centralizing and standardizing digital library metadata cre-ation workflows had been implemented.

    A review of existing and in-progress digital library projects also deter-mined that no single standard or set of standards existed for the creationof digital library metadata objects. While Dublin Core was used for manyprojects, the fields were interpreted differently for each project and no stan-dards were developed. As individual departments managed the implemen-tation of digital libraries related to their specific fields of study, metadatastandards for each project were developed independently of other digitallibrary efforts. As a result, digital library metadata workflows and standardsvaried widely from project to project with no overall workflow managementor metadata standardization.

    LITERATURE REVIEW

    Prior to the design and implementation of the revised digital library workflowand metadata standards, a thorough review of relevant literature was con-ducted. The majority of the literature concludes that Cataloging Departmentstaff members already possess a wide variety of knowledge and experiencethat can be effectively transferred to the generation of digital library metadata.For example, catalogers are experienced in applying metadata standards

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  • Integrating Metadata Creation into Catalog Workflow 543

    designed to enable the efficient retrieval of objects, such as MARC, and increating metadata, such as catalog records. As Jeanne Boydston and JaneLeyson state, Metadata creation is an extension of the catalogers existingskills, abilities, and knowledge. As such, it should be supported. Boydsonand Leyson also add, Catalogers recognize the importance of controlled vo-cabulary and its relationship to keyword searching and information retrieval.They have experience with subject analysis, multiple thesauri, and issues ofhierarchy and granularity.1 Kevin Butterfield agrees that the catalogers skillset including the ability to create standards, vocabularies and classificationsystems is one that can be transferred to metadata creation.2

    For such skills to be successfully transferred to digital library metadatacreation, additional training for catalogers is required. Boydston and Leysennote that while catalogers possess a basic skill set that is easily adaptedto digital metadata, training is needed to ensure that catalogers have thetechnical expertise needed to succeed in a digital library environment.3

    Some researchers argue, however, that catalogers trained in the useof a rigidly structured set of standards and policies may be uncomfortablewith the more freeform style of metadata that is often used in support ofdigital libraries. Christine DeZelar-Tiedman notes that catalogers are usedto a controlled workflow, and may not be comfortable in one that is lesscontrolled.4

    A review of the literature also revealed the following additional rele-vant factors. Jean Hudgins and Lisa Macklin note that catalog staff must beincluded at all phases of the project and their expertise evaluated for whenand how it can be most effectively used.5 DeZelar-Tiedman adds that cata-logers are not seen as metadata experts and encourages them to self promotetheir unique skills.6 Boydston and Leysen recommend that documentationon the process of adding catalogers into the workflow of a digital projectbe developed.7 Ingrid Hsieh-Yee also discusses the challenge of teachingcatalogers to create metadata in an ever-changing technical world.8

    In general, a review of the literature reveals that library catalogers havethe skill set necessary to function as an effective asset in the creation ofmetadata for digital library projects, and that cataloging department managerspossess the skills necessary to supervise such efforts to ensure that a highlevel of accuracy and standardization is maintained. Additional training indigital library metadata standards and implementation, however, is requiredfor cataloguers to function most effectively in this new role.

    DEVELOPING A MORE EFFECTIVE DIGITAL LIBRARYMETADATA WORKFLOW

    Based on the literature review and a series of discussions with stakeholdersincluding library management, library staff members, and affected universitystaff and faculty, a new workflow was designed to enable the Cataloging

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  • 544 M. L. Valentino

    Department to assume a more prominent role in the creation of digital li-brary metadata. In an effort to improve the accuracy and standardizationof metadata created for digital library projects, it was determined that Cat-aloging Department faculty should assume the primary role in the creationof digital metadata. In addition, the Cataloging Department would assumean expanded role in the development of metadata standards in consultationwith the Digital Initiatives Department and other project stakeholders. An-other important result of the new workflow would be an increase in theLibraries ability to develop and implement digital library projects in a timelymanner by leveraging Cataloging Department resources.

    THE NEED FOR TRAINING AND THE DEVELOPMENTOF METADATA STANDARDS

    Once the decision was made to implement the new workflow, the need forstaff training was considered. A review of metadata created by the CatalogingDepartment for an existing digital project was conducted to determine thelevel of usefulness and standardization of the metadata. The informationgathered was used as an indicator of the current level of faculty knowledgeand skill in the creation of digital metadata.

    Cataloging Department staff had created a set of metadata intendedfor use in the implementation of a digital library containing the HawthornePapers from the Bass Business Collection. The Hawthorne Papers contain136 objects relating to a long-term study of the effects of numerous factorson the productivity of factory workers. This metadata provided a snapshot ofcatalogers abilities to furnish standardized and useful metadata in a digitallibrary project environment.

    Several deficiencies emerged during the metadata review process. Itwas determined that no metadata scheme had been provided to guide thecatalogers. This resulted in a wide variety of differing metadata being pro-vided, as different catalogers perceived different information as important.For example, some catalogers included the date of the document and othersdid not. A lack of standardization in formatting was also discovered, with awide variety of variations in capitalization and date formats. In general, therewas an overall lack of consistency from one metadata record to another. Inaddition, the metadata records were created in Microsoft Word. As these filescould not be directly imported into the institutional repository system, themetadata records provided by the catalogers would need to be converted toa different format, an unnecessary and time-consuming step.

    Based on this review, it was determined that additional training in dig-ital metadata creation would be needed before the Cataloging Departmentcould effectively assume its expanded role in the digital library development

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  • Integrating Metadata Creation into Catalog Workflow 545

    process. In addition, it emerged that clear metadata and file format standardswould need to be developed for digital library projects, and that catalogerswould need to be trained in the implementation of these standards.

    When all of these factors were considered, it was determined that theDigital Initiatives Department, in consultation with relevant stakeholders,would create the standards and provide the necessary training to CatalogingDepartment staff. While commercially available training solutions were con-sidered, none were found that addressed the specific needs of the CatalogingDepartment. Such training often focuses on technical issues or provides alevel of detail not required. Therefore, it was determined that the most pro-ductive approach would be for the Digital Initiatives Department to createa training course specifically geared toward the catalogers who will createthe metadata, but who will not be responsible for any of technical detailsinvolved in implementing the digital library such as associating the metadatawith the correct digital object or making the resulting digital library availableonline.

    A TRAINING PROGRAM FOR LIBRARY CATALOGERS

    To prepare the catalog librarians to assume their expanded role in the digitallibrary metadata workflow, a customized training program was developed.The goal of this training program was to provide the catalog librarians withthe skills necessary to create metadata for the wide variety of digital objectsthey were likely to encounter. In addition, faculty members were to betrained in standardized methods of providing the resulting metadata to theDigital Initiatives Departm...

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