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Section 10:



RSLP based

Dublin Core

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A collection description schema is a structured set of metadata attributes which can be used to describe both physical and virtual collections of material in any format.

The RSLP Collection Description Schema is the set of metadata attributes, which was created for describing collections within the Research Support Libraries Programme (RSLP). The RSLP schema is currently the 'de facto' standard in this field.

View the RSLP Collection Description Metadata Schema.

Each attribute within the set has an Attribute label, an RDF property, and a Definition. Within the RSLP Schema as currently defined, no attribute is specified as mandatory. The RSLP Schema enables consistent formatted descriptions to be created; these are usually stored in relational databases. Descriptions can be linked through parent & child relationships (where one collection has a number of sub-collections) and association relationships (where one collection is related to another collection in some way). The schema itself does not define any data element as mandatory, but implementers usually specify whether a data element is mandatory, optional, or not applicable to certain types of collections. Implementers also specify which fields are repeatable (typically the access points Concept, Name, Object, Time, Place) and which terminology is to be used in specific data elements (e.g. Concept uses Library of Congress Subject Headings).

The data elements within the schema fall into 5 groups.

  • Descriptive elements (displayed to the user): Title, Description, Type, Strength, Physical characteristics, Accumulation date range, Contents date range, Custodial history, Notes
  • Access points: these support searching (often also displayed to the user): Physical characteristics, Language, Concept, Object, Name, Place, Time
  • Related resources: these support links between records in the database (displayed to the user): Sub-collections, Super-collection, Catalogue or Description, Described collection, Associated collection, Associated publication
  • Access to the collection: these provide details about which users may access a collection and under what conditions (displayed to the user): Access control, Location
  • Collection administration: administrative details about the collection (displayed to users) - some implementations may add further data elements which may be only displayed to authorised personnel (e.g. database staff): Identifier, Accrual status, Legal status, Creator, Owner

NB: Physical characteristics can be thought of as either or both a descriptive element and an access point.

As other projects and work programmes realised the value of collection descriptions, the RSLP schema has been used, often with some modification, to hold collection descriptions relating to a variety of subjects, geographical areas, or collected material types.

More information on RSLP-based collection description metadata schemas.

Modification of the RSLP schema is likely to occur in three ways.

  1. Addition of attributes. These are often for collection management data and are defined as 'not for public display'. Such attributes would include more detail on collecting and withdrawal policy, when stock is reviewed, etc.
  2. Some attributes may be not applicable to the particular application.
  3. Attributes may be used but have a variant Definition or a variant element Label.

There may be different display templates. The administration template will display all attributes, while the public template will display only some of the attributes.

See Display section

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Content by: Shirley Keane of UKOLN.
Page last revised on: 28-Jul-2008
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