We are one of the four NBK data community groups highlighted in Lee Blyth’s April post. Our group is charged with reviewing current metadata practice in the UK, developing a framework of data standards, and mapping different levels of metadata against specific functionality – from basic ‘discoverability’ to collaborative ‘share and compare’ activities at local, regional and national level. It’s already been a really worthwhile and valuable exercise in itself, bringing together managers from different institutions to share ideas – and enthusiasm! A big thank you to all involved.
There are several parts to our project. We’ll be looking at the algorithms associated with NBK that are used to match items, as well as conducting a brief desktop review of existing literature around metadata standards. This should help us understand how different levels of metadata have been used to support practical activity across the sector, and what practical problems this has thrown up from previous work (building on the White Rose collection overlap report).
We’ll also focus on what people are using their metadata for, in particular collection management and evaluation; discovery; and metadata enhancements. Using these previous activities as a benchmark, we hope to compile a sense of how particular metadata thresholds can be used as a guide for future cataloguing work, as well as practical collection management activity. We’ve submitted a series of questions as part of the wider survey Lee refers to, and we’d really like you to answer these candidly so we can obtain a ‘state of the nation’ snapshot about how decisions on metadata thresholds for cataloguing are made, how frequently we share records via online platforms, or whether reports on contributed records are reviewed and acted upon. The wider survey touches a number of key metadata issues affecting us all, and it is important that we all complete it as comprehensively as possible, involving other colleagues as required – the survey provides some guidance with this. All this information will be invaluable when assessing how NBK will evolve, and how we can realise and release the value of the metadata we all create, use and share.
Finally, and although largely outside the scope of the current community data group projects, our group also felt it was important to understand historic cataloguing practice across the sector. The way that decisions have been taken in the past, and knowledge of the present situation, might influence a more collaborative, open and transparent approach to future projects involving the wider library community.
Nick Barratt, Director, Senate House Library
Paul Cunnea, Acquisition & Description Manager, National Library of Scotland
Jane Daniels, Bibliographical Librarian, Cardiff Metropolitan University
Clare Hudson, Assistant Librarian Cataloguing and Metadata, London School of Economics and Political Science
Vanessa Lacey, Head of English Cataloguing, Cambridge University
Thomas Meehan, Head of Cataloguing and Metadata, University College London
David Morgan, Metadata, Discovery & Analytics Coordinator, Royal Holloway University of London
Amy Staniforth, Metadata team leader (Information Services), Aberystwyth University