UKOLN Collection Description Focus

News Bulletin - September 2001

Bridget Robinson -

CD Focus website -

CD Focus discussion list -

Welcome to the September edition of the CDF news bulletin.


CD Focus has now been operating for 3 months during which time we have received a number of queries. These have been quite varied ranging from specific requests for help with understanding some of the finer points of the RSLP schema to more detailed advice on implementation. We have also had queries about interoperability and how the CD Focus will link to other projects. Queries have been coming in at a rate of 6 per month, however the number is expected to increase as a result of dissemination.

Projects : CECILIA - Mapping the UK Music Resource

Contribution from Dr Paul Andrews - Project Manager

Cecilia is a project set up under the auspices of the UK Branch of the International Association of Music Libraries (IAML(UK)) with funding from RSLP, BLCPP and the Music Libraries Trust. The project is funded for fifteen months from mid-August 2001. Cecilia will create a cross-sectoral, cross-domain web-based collection level map of music resources in UK libraries, archives and other specialist music institutions. It will also create an on-line directory of public, academic, national and special music libraries in the UK.

Music collections exist in libraries and archives of all kinds. They range from small collections of books, scores and recordings for loan, to major research collections containing unique manuscripts, papers and rare printed editions. This is a national resource and a national treasure, but hitherto, there has been no overarching map of the musical landscape. Such a map would draw attention to the richness and variety of the materials in UK collections and support the needs of users - performers, researchers, students, and general music lovers pursuing private interests.

Cecilia will provide a collection level resource directory with the following features:

There will be simple and advanced search options that will allow users to search for personal names, material types, places, and musical topics. Cecilia is in the process of gathering information, assembling the database and designing the web interface that will eventually be pilot tested. Enquiries about Cecilia can be sent to The CD Focus will support and advise the project at the database stage.


The structure and content of the forthcoming Briefing Day at the British Library on 22 October has been well received. It will include contributions from Ronald Milne (RSLP) Catherine Grout, and Alicia Wise (DNER), Sarah Mitchell (nof-digitise), plus an overview from two successful Collection Description Projects: Helen Cordell - Mapping Asia and Luis Carrasqueiro - Research Guide Online. Paul Miller from UKOLN will discuss the Interoperability issues and the CD Focus Team will outline their work to date and future plans. There will be plenty of time for feedback and discussion. Full details are available at

Bookings are also coming in for the first of the Workshops, which is being held on 1 November at UMIST, Manchester. The aim of the Workshop is to bring together practitioners from across the information management traditions and from different backgrounds and contexts. It will explore how approaches to collection description differ and what they have in common. It will examine how generic models and schemas have been implemented, and the challenges involved. It will seek to highlight where practice can be standardised and to investigate where generic approaches must give way to domain-specific methods. The day will be a combination of presentations and small informal discussion groups. Full details are available at


To date the Focus visits have been mainly to projects working within the RSLP. But there is much work going on outside of the RSLP grouping including the Crossroads project which is striving to improve access to collections and resources of museums, galleries, archives and libraries in the West Midlands. The project represents a collaborative partnership between the different domains with the aim of providing a seamless gateway that will allow for resource discovery across a range of locations and collections cutting across artificial barriers between different services.

The Focus has also made contact with NOF (New Opportunities Fund) who will be investigating the integration of nof-digitise funded collections into the wider body of digital collections in the UK. They have not, as yet, agreed standards for collection level description, but NOF has acknowledged in their guidelines that the projects should take into account work in progress within the UK library and HE sectors such as Research Support Libraries Programme (RSLP), the National Preservation Office and the Collection Description Focus.

Finally the Focus has had a meeting with the DNER Collections Group, which is headed up by Alicia Wise. Over six million people in the UK are served by the JISC's Distributed National Electronic Resource (DNER). They are the students and staff in Further and Higher Education Institutions and the Research Councils. The most recent DNC (Distributed National Collection), mapping exercise listed over 200 collections, including collections of textual resources, images, data and learning materials, as well as collections of metadata about other collections. There are also collections held locally within institutions, "JISC" collections made available through the DNER content providers and other external collections made available elsewhere. The diverse nature of the collections involved may pose different issues to the ones so far identified; however the aim is the same, to extend access to resources and to improve resource discovery. The Focus will be working closely with the DNER Collections Group and related DNER projects.

October news bulletin

All contributions for the next bulletin should be sent to by Friday 12th October

Please note the bulletin will be published a little later than normal in order to incorporate a report on the CD Focus Briefing Day.