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Section 5:

Sharing CLDs

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Sharing CLDs

Collections are increasingly being made visible to a wider audience by means of collection level descriptions. One of the ongoing challenges of collection description work is how to ensure these descriptions are both accessible and understandable to a varied range of user groups and audiences, the user may be a human researcher or a software tool.

Typically, you will be creating a collection-level description within the context of a specific activity or project. As part of that context, it may be created to support certain functions or to be used by a particular user group - for example, to support academic researchers in history. The context may determine: -

  • Which collections are described
  • How the "collection" is defined
  • Which schema is used for collection-level description
  • How the schema is applied
  • Which content standards are used e.g. which thesaurus or subject terminology
  • The particular emphasis that is put in the descriptive content

However, if such descriptions are to be reused/shared in other contexts e.g. for different user groups, or to support a range of activities, some minimum requirements will need to be considered. It is important that these issues are addressed at the earliest stage of the design process. The main issues are described in detail in the Collection Description Focus, Guidance Paper - Creating reusable collection-level descriptions

However here are some general points you may want to consider:

Your schema

  • Are you using the full set of RSLP fields?
  • Have you added any fields?
  • Have you decided not to use any specific fields?
  • Have you decided to use a field that is not in the RSLP schema but is being used in another schema?
  • Have you renamed any fields?
  • Have you included fields to contain information about when the record was created or edited and who by?
  • Have you recorded details of any modifications you may have made to the recognised set of fields?

Use of standards in language and terminology

  • Are you using the concept field?
  • If so are you mandating the use of a standard terminology set e.g. Library of Congress Subject Headings?
  • Are you using authority control files for Geographic, Organisational and Personal names
  • Are you using the Language field?
  • If so are you using the ISO630 language codes?

In free-text fields do you:

  1. Provide guidance on consistent wording in specific fields (e.g. collection strength)
  2. Provide guidance on using neutral language in the description field? (i.e. not over promoting a specific collection)
  3. Provide guidance on the length of free-text fields?
  4. Have you recorded your policies and guidelines?

Creation of machine-readable records

Precise requirements for making your records available in machine-readable form will depend on the service harvesting the records. You should consider the following questions:

  • Can you support harvesting of your descriptions by making them available via the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting?
  • Can you export your descriptions as one or more XML documents conforming to a specified XML Document Type or XML Schema?
  • Can you support distributed searching of your descriptions by making them available via a Z39.50 target?
  • Can you support applications based on messaging using the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)?

Content by: Shirley Keane of UKOLN.
Page last revised on: 05-Jun-2006
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