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MODS  February 2006

MODS February 2006

Subject:

Re: Question: Source of title

From:

Bill Landis <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Metadata Object Description Schema List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 1 Feb 2006 10:35:59 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (76 lines)

Thanks for weighing in, Tim. Good to have my notion of the possibilities for OAI metadata sharing,
blinkered a bit by my current engagements with it, expanded by a clear vision of potential futures
for it.

To get back to notes about sources of supplied titles, though, I think they represent a good
opportunity for this community to explore a bit more why and when they do matter. I'd argue that the
bibliographic assumptions behind the whole notion of bracketing supplied titles, or making specific
notes about sources for such titles, is perhaps a legacy of a world of primarily formalized
production of information resources. It also seems to me a legacy of having the luxury of dealing
with most descriptive tasks on a 1:1 basis between descriptive record and object being described.

As we start dealing with the challenge of appraising, capturing, describing, and preserving
born-digital information resources, probably at a level of aggregation much higher than anything
that corresponds to an "item" that we're used to in terms of our library- and museum-based notions
of cataloging, I think there's a real need for some profession-wide explorations of the assumptions
we bring to this juncture. If metadata are (and I'm not sure of this, just have some vague hunches
about it) trending towards increasing sparseness and less focus on a more traditional notion of
"item", what kinds of metadata would we really need to build services that end users want/need/care
about?  I don't really know what kinds of assessment activities have gone on in the OAI-PMH world,
but it seems somewhat challenging to make practical recommendations about mapping metadata out of
legacy systems for sharing without some real sense of 1) what metadata are really useful for driving
automated services (e.g., how useful are metadata fields that are more prose-oriented and less
controlled or proscribed by clear content guidelines?), and 2) what kinds of information is really
useful to end users of the serviced metadata?

Anyway, thanks for something interesting to think about on a rainy Oakland morning! I hope there are
some creative venues at future conferences to explore some of our legacy assumptions about
"cataloging," and how we and end users envision metadata functioning in aggregated systems designed
to provide specific services for specific audiences.

Cheers!

Bill

-----Original Message-----
From: Metadata Object Description Schema List [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On
Behalf Of Timothy W. Cole
Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2006 7:52 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [MODS] Question: Source of title


While the use assumptions Bill articulates may be inherent in Aquifer plans
for OAI-PMH (though I'm not even sure that's true), it is not inherent in
OAI-PMH itself.

We can anticipate (and are already beginning to see) OAI-based services that
are designed to do more significant work with harvested metadata before or
even instead of redirecting end-users back to original source full-content
repositories. Analytical services over harvested metadata and potentially
full content, services that look to de-dup or uncover and exploit new
relationships between objects, other services that may do extensive work
with harvested metadata and/or associated full-content before or instead of
pointing end-users back to original source repository can all (potentially
at least) be implemented using OAI-PMH. Such more sophisticated OAI-based
services may have reason to want to know explicitly the source of title
values in harvested metadata records -- it may matter to some OAI-based
services, if not now, then at some point in the future. I don't think
generic consideration of OAI-PMH sheds light on this question.

So, while I agree with Jenn and Bill that the assumptions embedded in the
Aquifer Metadata Working Group's current draft recommendation should be
recognized as having limited scope, I would not put any assumption about
whether source of title matters off on OAI-PMH. OAI-PMH does not make
assumptions at this level about metadata transported using the Protocol.
("The nature of a resource, whether it is physical or digital, or whether it
is stored in the repository or is a constituent of another database, is
outside the scope of the OAI-PMH") This is how people got started thinking
of OAI-PMH as synonymous with DC.

This point is a bit orthogonal to main thrust of this thread, but I didn't
want to let Bill's earlier assertion pass without comment.

Tim Cole
University of Illinois at UC

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