UKOLN Collection Description Focus

News Bulletin - February 2002

Pete Johnston & Bridget Robinson -

CD Focus website -

CD Focus discussion list -

Welcome to the February issue of the CD Focus news bulletin.


The second CD Focus workshop "Multi-purpose metadata for collections: creating reusable CLDs" was held on 8th February 2002 at Aston Business School. There were 39 delegates and 11 speakers/facilitators. Feedback from the evaluation forms was very positive. The day offered ample opportunity for networking and the exchange of information and experience between projects.

The morning was made up of a number of presentations including 4 RSLP projects RASCAL, AIM25, Revelation and SCONE.

It was especially interesting to see the different approaches that have been taken by the projects. RASCAL ( have used the RSLP schema as the basis for the structure of their database, whilst AIM25 ( have used the ISAD (G) standard, but are looking into interoperability issues and output of their CLDs in other formats. They are also exploring making their CLDs available via OAI.

SCONE ( have employed a data model based on that described in Michael Heaney's "An Analytical Model of Collections and their Catalogues" (rather than the simplified subset of that model used in the RSLP schema). Revelation ( employ an internal schema derived from ISAD(G) and the RSLP CD schema.

All the projects have more details and CLDs on their respective websites.

There was a contrasting presentation from Heather Williamson of the Crossroads project ( The project (funded by Re:source), is currently finalising the database specification and amassing CLDs from the pottery industry of North Staffordshire. The CLDs will be based on the RSLP CLD schema.

All the projects acknowledged the importance of reusability and the issues that need to be addressed in order to facilitate reuse:

The word that came up time and time again was STANDARDS, STANDARDS and STANDARDS!!

In the afternoon there was a presentation from David Hill from the South West Museum Council. He talked in detail about the Museum Mapping project that is surveying museums and collections in the South West. ( He expressed interest in the work that is being done both in the RSLP projects and other collection projects like Crossroads.

The breakout sessions concentrated on 3 themes

  1. Rights Issues and CLDs
  2. CLDs and their audiences
  3. Standards for CLDs

The feedback from the three breakout sessions and the Power Point slides from the presentations are available at

The full workshop programme is available at:

Please note: The Aston workshop was fully booked prior to the event, but on the day 8 delegates failed to register - this was very disappointing as we had turned a number of people away. If you book a place on any future workshop and then find you have other commitments please let us know in good time so that we can offer the place to someone from the waiting list.

Future events

Third workshop

The next workshop will be held in Edinburgh on 21st March 2002 - full details are available at There are still a few places left at this stage

CD Focus Forum

At the initial Briefing Day delegates identified several key issues for the implementation of Collection Description. The Focus proposed that work on these problem areas might be addressed through an open "forum" which would

As a starting point for the work of the "Collection Description Forum", the CD Focus will prepare 3 short "position papers" on some of the issues highlighted, for circulation to the list. The papers will cover the following areas:

  1. Reuse of collection-level descriptions: granularity and other factors
  2. Content standards for collection-level descriptions e.g. terminology control and collection strength
  3. Maintaining collection-level descriptions: implications for sustainability

The purpose of these papers is not to provide comprehensive or definitive statements, but to open debate on these subjects on the collection-description discussion list. The papers will be posted to the list in the next few weeks.

A face-to-face meeting of the Forum is planned for mid April and will be chaired by Paul Miller.

Briefing Day

The second CD Focus Briefing Day will be held on 14th May at the British Library Conference Centre. The full programme and booking form will be available in March.

NOF-Digitise programme

The CD Focus held a workshop for the nof-digitise programme. It was run under the auspices of the NOF-Digitise Technical Advisory Service. (This service is provided by UKOLN in association with the AHDS, on behalf of the New Opportunities Fund and in association with the People's Network). The workshop introduced the concept of Collection and Collection Level Description, and then went on to look at Collection Level Description in practice and the use of the RSLP Collection Description Model and Schema. The day finished with the delegates being offered the chance to use the RSLP schema to create a CLD for their own collections.

March news bulletin

The next news bulletin will include a report on the third CD Focus workshop. All contributions should be sent to by Friday 22nd March.