Summary of February Free-for-all

This month was declared Free-for-all February! Resources to be consulted in preparation for February’s meeting can be found here.

The meeting opened with a housekeeping matter regarding a possible group showing of the upcoming OCLC webinar on social metadata for libraries, archives, and museums [link]. Those present expressed interest in viewing the webinar as a group. We will provisionally schedule a viewing of the recording during our April 3 meeting. The 90-minute webinar will likely mean extending our hour-long meeting time. Jennifer will ping the group list for input on this matter before scheduling.

Due to the lack of structure this month, the discussion ranged pretty widely. Not all of the discussions and tangent are properly captured here–below are just the highlights. Those who were at the meeting are welcome to supplement this summary in the comments.

A participant gave an update on the Image Collections Online*. We browsed through lots of interesting facets in the Lilly Library’s Slocum Puzzle collection–all powered by metadata! As development has progressed and different repositories have come online, metadata quality across image collections has become a greater concern. A sub-group of the Image Collections Online Working Group (formerly Photo Services Working Group) is developing description guidelines. The group is also discussing the expansion of metadata fields to include contextual information that doesn’t have a place in other description fields–typically notes of interest to researchers–as well as the ability to append related media.

The last point about being able to append, for example, an audio interview to a photograph, led to a few questions regarding how LAMs organize content. Local digital library services are being built around format: image collections online, archives (EAD finding aids) online, e-text collections online, etc. What do our users think of these siloed portals? Do users search by format? There are, of course, technical barriers to building infrastructure to support different file types. Do current metadata conventions of describing by format make the task of digital object delivery unnecessarily complicated or is description by format made necessary by the needs and discovery habits of users?

As a group, we played around a little in VIAF, in particular with the graphed illustration of how personal names are matched across various national libraries. From the graph (located to the right of the “Preferred Forms” in a personal name record), it is easy to see where machine matching falters: birth/death dates, punctuation, spelled out names vs. abbreviations, etc.  There was some musing about how the NACO community may need to develop more flexible rules in light of coordinated efforts to machine match name authority headings.

* For more on the Image Collections Online, see the Digital Library Brown Bag presentation on Wednesday, February 15th

Author- Jennifer A. Liss

Human. Librarian. Consumes large quantities of data.