Discovering Good Practice: Metadata and the NINCH Guide

Anderson, Ian and Ross, Seamus Discovering Good Practice: Metadata and the NINCH Guide., 2003 . In 3rd. Open Archives Forum Workshop, Berlin, March 2003. [Presentation]


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English abstract

The National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage (NINCH) "Guide to Good Practice in the Digital Representation and Management of Cultural Heritage Materials"2 is unique in being practice based and expert led. The Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII) at the University of Glasgow was contracted to undertake extensive research on current practice in digitisation on both sides of the Atlantic. Thus the Guide was based on empirical research, and offered good practice from some of the world's best-established digitisation projects. The NINCH Working Group, who conceived and brought the Guide to publication, strengthened the Guide with input from some of the leading experts in the field. This ensured that the Guide was not only timely but could highlight emergent trends, technologies and strategies. The Guide looks to the future as well as reflecting present processes. The Guide highlights a variety of approaches to metadata amongst the projects analysed and interviewed by the HATII team. This diversity was not only a consequence of the variety of collections - text, image, sound and moving images - but a result of the different institutional contexts in which projects developed, the legacy of analogue cataloguing methods and different technological choices. Methods for representing metadata include: MARC, EAD, DC, TEI, TIFF, XML, and SGML. Thesauri and controlled vocabularies include: LCSC, CDWA, AAT, VRA, TGN, TGM, and ULAN. As this range of acronyms indicates, most projects adopted a hybrid approach to metadata creation, adopting and adapting various standards and technologies according to the type of metadata being created and project requirements. Although projects were creating metadata to recognised standards and protocols that would enable interoperability, few took a pro-active approach to this. Whilst there was awareness of initiatives such as OAI, METS, CIMI and SMIL projects were adopting a 'wait and see approach'. This cautious approach was not only a result of the immaturity of these initiatives but reflected problems with existing metadata creation, particularly in the descriptive field. Even with institution or project based searching many projects struggled to reconcile accurate descriptions of their digital collections with absent or inadequate thesauri, subject classifications and name control files. As initiatives such as OAI come on stream parallel developments such as the UK Archival Thesaurus may help solve these problems. Nevertheless, the greatest challenge facing multimedia repositories may be populating interoperable metadata frameworks rather than implementing the technology.

Item type: Presentation
Keywords: Open Archive Iniziative (OAI), UK Archival Thesaurus
Subjects: L. Information technology and library technology
Depositing user: Andrea Marchitelli
Date deposited: 11 Apr 2005
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 11:58


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