We’re embarking on a project to adopt or build a metadata tool at Duke University Libraries. Before we’re immersed in architectures, designs, workflows, schedules, layers, platforms, capacities, etc., I’d like to indulge in some guilt-free big thinking. I thought I’d just kind of put the question out there: What are some of the big ideas that could inform the development of a metadata tool?
I invite conversation here and on the web4lib and code4lib lists, to which I’m sending an abridged version of this post. Other conversations will occur in various venues over the next month or so. I’ll try to pull together and post on anything I see, hear, read or say. In the meantime, I’ll share one big idea that I’ve been considering; I’m not saying it’s THE big idea or even implying that we’ll follow through on it at Duke. It’s just one way to bend our thinking about this project. I’m interested in other ideas that can help with the bending of the thinking on the project for the tool for the metadata.
The idea that I’m posing follows from a blog post that Lorcan Dempsey wrote in May, mentioning an example of a “shared cataloging environment”. When I read it, I wondered, what if you take that idea to its logical (illogical?) extreme: a metadata tool as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform.
Continue reading Grand Metadata Tool Ideas
Sean Aery and I presented on Saturday, October 18 at the LITA National Forum on our homemade “Tripod” platform for digital collections. Here’s an embed of our Google slides:
We proposed this presentation back in February. The original title, “A Faceted Browsing Approach to Duke’s Digital Collections,” stuck, but by October 18, we had maybe one reference to facets in the presentation. I’m not sure what we should have called it. Something about the “three ‘bilities” might have been good, but that slide (#21) didn’t exist until October 16.
We posted a major build of the digital collections site today. The focus of the build was a set of five new collections; I know Jill intends to publicize them here, so instead of the prolix titles I’ll deploy their “collectionID” values: blake, esr, songsheets, strong and vica. In addition, we returned the asl collection to the internet after a rather lengthy, post-Texis hiatus. Since we focused on these great collections for this build, there are relatively few upgrades to the system to report, but I’ll list them here. Continue reading CHANGELOG, 2008 Oct. 24
In January of 2007 I sent a post to the Web4lib list titled “Metadata tools that scale.” At Duke we were seeking opinions about a software platform to capture metadata for digital collections and finding databases. The responses to that inquiry suggested that what we were looking for didn’t exist.
About a year ago, an OCLC report on a survey of 18 member institutions, “RLG Programs Descriptive Metadata Practices Survey Results,” supported that basic conclusion. When asked about the tools that they used to “create, edit and store metadata descrptions” of digital and physical resources, a sizable majority responded “customized” or “homegrown” tool.
Since my initial inquiry, we launched a new installation of our digital collections. Yet we still lack a full-featured software platform for capturing descriptive metadata.
Continue reading A metadata tool that scales
I’m Will Sexton, Metadata Analyst / Programmer here at Duke University Libraries. My job focuses on technical support for the metadata-heavy stuff: finding aids, finding databases (like this one) and digital collections. I’m part of a great team that includes Sean Aery, who designed the front end for our digital collections platform. Sean and I will present on that project next week at the LITA National Forum.
Anyway, the first time I told a friend of mine outside of the library field about my job, she said, “Huh? Megadata? What’s megadata?” This particular friend was in law school at the time, so now when people ask her, “What do you do?” she says “I’m a lawyer.” I gave up answering that question directly; now I just say I’m a computer programmer (partially true) or a librarian (nominally untrue, though true in the sense of “a person who works in a library on library stuff”).
But at least now I have to explain my job less when I’m IN the library than I did six years ago.
Anyway, this Word Press thingie for digital collections has been sitting up on cinder blocks on the side of the house for a while, and I thought I’d take it for a spin. Wheeee! Before I move on to a subject other than “me me me” I’ll add that I contribute 6-to-8 hundred words of topical observation to the Chapel Hill News‘ “My View” feature every 7 weeks or so. My most recent column attempts to make issues relating to “megadata” and library technology seem like the kind of thing you talk about in a newspaper.
Coming soon … a post about metadata.