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AHDS-Metadata for your Digital Resource.pdf

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Página 1 de 9 Metadata for your Digital Resource Metadata for your Digital Resource ......................................................................................1 Introduction ............................................................................................................................................ 1 What do we mean by Documentation? .......................................................................................... 2 Why bother with Documentation?..............
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  Página 1 de 9 Metadata for your Digital Resource Metadata for your Digital Resource ......................................................................................1 Introduction............................................................................................................................................1What do we mean by Documentation? ..........................................................................................2Why bother with Documentation?.....................................................................................................2Documenting your project..................................................................................................................2What do we mean by contextual documentation?......................................................................2What exactly is Metadata?.................................................................................................................2What does metadata do?...................................................................................................................2How is metadata different from other kinds of documentation? ................................................3Why is metadata important? ..............................................................................................................3What different kinds of metadata are there?..................................................................................3 1. Resource discovery metadata.............................................................................................3 2. Preservation metadata.........................................................................................................33. Metadata at different levels.................................................................................................3 What are Metadata Standards?........................................................................................................3Can't I just make it up myself?.............................................................................................................4How will I know which standard to choose?....................................................................................4What kinds of standards are out there?............................................................................................4Don't all these standards just lead to confusion?............................................................................5What is Dublin Core?.............................................................................................................................5What about Controlled Vocabularies and Thesauri?.....................................................................6Further Issues to Consider.....................................................................................................................6So why do we need Preservation Metadata as well?....................................................................6What purpose does Preservation Metadata serve?.......................................................................7Preservation Metadata Initiatives.......................................................................................................7What does Preservation Metadata look like?..................................................................................7This sounds complicated!.....................................................................................................................7The Future................................................................................................................................................8Summary .................................................................................................................................................8What steps can I take to ensure that the metadata I provide is of a high standard?.............8Links and Bibliography..........................................................................................................................8 Content written on: 8th June 2004 by Iain Wallace and Eileen Maitland.Content updated: 8th June 2004 by Iain Wallace and Eileen Maitland. Introduction Documentation is a crucial part of any digitisation project. Careful recording of all aspects of a digital collection and the circumstances surrounding its creation can make the difference between aresource which has limited value beyond the context in which it was srcinally created, and one whosevalue extends far beyond this context and may be used extensively by the academic community inperpetuity.  Página 2 de 9 This paper will discuss different forms of documentation, from unstructured information toresource discovery and preservation metadata. The paper should enable anyone embarking on adigitisation project to make informed choices about how to successfully document their digital resources.Readers of this Information Paper may also be interested in the article on Guidelines for Documenting Data , (http://www.ahds.ac.uk/creating/information-papers/documentation/index.htm ) which discusses less structured forms of documentation at greater length. What do we mean by Documentation?  At its most general, a resource's documentation should outline the reasons for andcircumstances surrounding its creation. As an absolute minimum, the document should provide details of the resource's provenance, contents, structure, and the terms and conditions that apply to its use. Why bother with Documentation?  As creator of the resource, it is natural that your main concern will be with its primary data,and the value this offers to the academic community. However, in order to maximise that value, both nowand in the future, it is just as important to take pains to provide adequate accompanying information. Anyone with relevant computer skills but no knowledge of your resource should be able to find it, andthen exploit it fully and effectively. In this way, the potential for its future re-use within other contexts andfor an audience well beyond its initial target community is significantly enhanced. Creating thisdocumentation should be as integral a part of your project as the research on which it is focused - not anadd-on or afterthought when the main body of work has been completed. Documenting your project The digital resources you create should be described using a structured metadata schema. An account of how to approach metadata creation follows later in this paper. However, most researchprojects require or produce some documentation which does not fit within the conventions of a metadataschema. This type of information may be far less structured but forms, nevertheless, a valuable part of the deposit, and can enhance its future use significantly. The vital role played by informal contextualdocumentation might not immediately appear to merit the priority or consideration given to other areas of the project. However, the absence of such material can in itself render the resource meaningless. What do we mean by contextual documentation? Contextual documentation can include any unstructured material which does not comprisepart of the resource itself, but which supports and enhances its use. For example, documentation relatingto the provenance of a data collection should include how, why, when and by whom the data collectionwas created and used. This type of information would include: the aims and objectives of the research,the funding arrangements supporting it, its scope and subject matter, related research, strengths andweaknesses, methodologies chosen, rights associated with material used, keys, codes, guides,glossaries, abbreviations, encryption schemes etc necessary in order to understand the resource(s)created. A data collection's intellectual context should be documented thoroughly enough to enablesomeone who has not been involved in the project to understand the intellectual framework in which itwas created.Information about contents, structure and terms and conditions can generally be recorded ina much more structured way using metadata. What exactly is Metadata? In terms of a traditional library environment, metadata would be described as cataloguinginformation. Metadata is a more recent term, which relates more specifically to digital resources. It isinformation relating to and describing other information: data about data, and has been described as thesum total of what one can say about any information object at any level of aggregation. (Buca, ed. 2000) What does metadata do? Metadata summarises not only the content of a resource, but a whole range of factorsassociated with its creation, content, context and structure. The metadata can be separate from the  Página 3 de 9 resource it describes, or in can actually be embedded within it. This was the case even before the adventof digital resources, as we can see in things like the CIP (Cataloguing In Publication) information data onthe back of a book's title page, or the information printed on the label of a vinyl record. Even right-clickingon a digital image on a website will immediately provide you with a moderate amount of metadata, tellingyou what type of image it is (e.g. jpeg, gif etc), its web address, its size (no. of bytes), dimension (inpixels), and dates of creation and modification. How is metadata different from other kinds of documentation? Metadata is distinguishable from other forms of documentation in that it is structured andexhibits consistency. Standardisation in the way that metadata is created means that information aboutresources can be presented in a meaningful and consistent way, and is crucial for effective resourcediscovery. It is also vital in facilitating interoperability, which allows integrated access to and searching of a wide range of resources across different systems. Standardised structures for organising andpresenting metadata are known as schema. Dublin Core (described later in this document) is one suchschema, which comprises 15 key elements. Why is metadata important? Metadata enriches the resource it describes by extending the user's understanding of itscontent and the factors surrounding its creation. It places the resource in context and provides abackground to it, thus enhancing the user's appreciation and understanding of it.Metadata also extends the usefulness of the resource to the wider research community byfacilitating access to it beyond the confines of the individual project or institution in which it was created.Metadata enhances the value of the resource to researchers by enabling them to locate it,and by allowing them to make informed decisions as to whether or not a particular resource is relevant totheir purposes.Metadata allows the resource to be managed effectively by the party responsible for it.In recording the resource's physical features and inherent qualities and events and activitiesto which it has been subjected since its creation, its viability as a useful and usable resource issignificantly increased over the longer term. What different kinds of metadata are there? 1. Resource discovery metadata This type of metadata is primarily related to the content of the resource, and describes theresource in such a way as to allow it to be located in a search, and differentiated from other, similar resources. 2. Preservation metadata Preservation metadata can be broadly divided into the categories technical and administrative , and basically comprises any information essential to continued use of the resource.Technical metadata documents the resource's history, such as the processes involved in its creation (e.g.file formats, date of digitisation etc.) or any manipulation it has undergone (e.g. colour adjustments to animage). Administrative metadata includes anything related to its management, delivery or distribution,such as rights information. 3. Metadata at different levels Metadata can describe resources at different levels of aggregation. One record can refer to awhole collection, or could be confined to a single item. What are Metadata Standards? Metadata standards are designed to impose structure and consistency on the way metadatais recorded. This consistency ensures accuracy and reliability in information retrieval and allows users tocross-search different disciplines, collections and domains by promoting interoperability. Whatever approach is adopted in terms of developing metadata, it is crucial to use established standards as part of the process.  Página 4 de 9  A metadata standard is a specification that outlines a set of fields or elements, each of whichis designed to contain information on a particular aspect of the resource.The standard defines a meaning for each element, and guidelines as to its application. Can't I just make it up myself? Intimate knowledge of your resource is no guarantee that your description of it will makesense and be meaningful and accessible to the wider world. In order to do that, you must be, in a sense,describing it in the same terms as others are describing theirs. It is acceptable to use your own set of fields for recording data about your digital resources, as long as your in-house schema can be mapped toexisting metadata standards.However, inconsistency and a lack of precision in description and data entry can lead toresources being missed in searches (or appearing as irrelevant in a list of results, which is just as bad),and will not enhance their value to the research community - possibly the reverse.To ensure consistency within descriptive elements, from the way in which a date isexpressed, to the use of corporate and personal names, established standards should be adhered towhere possible. Even something as simple as spelling can cause problems - simple carelessness meansthere is always a good chance of finding a bargain on eBay! For example, try searching for plam pilots . How will I know which standard to choose? There is no such thing as a one size fits all standard, and the following considerations willall influence the selection of the most appropriate standard. Aggregation (will the metadata describe collections/groups of resources or individual items?)Granularity (will the metadata provide considerable detail or is a broader approach moreappropriate/all that is manageable within resources available to the project?)Context (do the resources fall into a very specialised subject grouping or are they part of alarger collection which covers a number of disciplines?)Concept (what is the collection for? What kind of metadata will best represent the resourceto its users now and also in the future?) What kinds of standards are out there? Different authoritative bodies have developed many different Metadata Standards. Some of these are associated with different levels of aggregation, while others relate to material in particular subjects. These are a few examples: ã  EAD (Encoded Archival Description) was developed as a means of marking up the datacontained in a finding aid so that it can be structured, displayed and searched online. Basicfinding aids include guides, inventories, card catalogues, checklists, shelflists, and indexes. Ingeneral, finding aids are highly structured and hierarchical, and relate to a group of materials. ã  The VRA (Visual Resources Association) metadata element set is for the description of visualmaterials. These might be paintings, buildings or sculpture, but in terms of a repository of information are more likely to be surrogates of those srcinals such as photographs and slides. ã  SPECTRUM - The UK Museum Documentation Standard ã  The RSLP Collection Description schema is a structured set of metadata attributes, for describingcollections in a consistent and machine-readable way. ã  MARC - Machine-Readable Cataloguing - a standard primarily used for library catalogue data ã  The TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) is a set of tags and rules defined in XML, which describe thestructure and elements of a type of document. TEI is designed for marking up electronic textssuch as novels, plays and poetry.

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