UKOLN Collection Description Focus

News Bulletin - January/February 2003

Bridget Robinson & Ann Chapman -

CD Focus website -

CD Focus discussion list -

Welcome to the first news bulletin of 2003. The next 6 months of the Focus promises to be a very busy time, with a number of events and the development of an online tutorial to illustrate how to create clds.


The fifth regional workshop "Collection-Level Description and the Information Landscape: Users evaluate strategies for resource discovery", was held on Thursday 30th January 2003 at Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge. The workshop was well attended despite the weather forecast which promised (and delivered) snow! The formal presentations all took place before lunch in order to allow the whole of the afternoon for discussion. The day started with a brief introduction outlining the ongoing work of the CD Focus and the importance of understanding and evaluating user requirements.

The first of our speakers was David Owen from Share the Vision (STV). His presentation "We Want to Join in" - provided an interesting and thought provoking insight into the world of visually impaired people (VIP). He highlighted the importance of providing information in a range of formats for different purposes, at different times, thereby offering both accessibility and choice. He went on to outline the important work that has been done by the REVEAL project, to produce a National Database of Resources in Accessible Formats.

The second speaker - Ian Anderson from the Humanities Advanced Technology & Information Institute (HATII), University of Glasgow, spoke about the 3 year Project he has been involved in "Information Seeking Behaviour in the Digital Age: Historians in the United Kingdom." The project explored how historians locate primary research materials, and what they are teaching their students about finding research materials.

The final speaker Sarah Stark (Regional Liaison Co-ordinator, A2A) continued the user-centred theme with "How do we know what they want?"

Sarah concluded with 5 main points:

  1. Know who your users are
  2. Ask them what they want (and ask again)
  3. Network with user groups
  4. Keep in touch with your focus groups
  5. Reach out to new users

After lunch the group split into 3 discussion groups, which looked at the following issues:

  1. Usability/accessibility issues
  2. How to set up an evaluation
  3. What do users want?

Each group was limited to 30-40 minutes discussion of the topic and the main points recorded on a flip chart. At the end of the time period, each group moved to another room where they were updated by the facilitator on the discussion so far and invited to add additional comments etc. At the end of 15 minutes the groups moved for the last time. This circular movement ensured that all delegates had an opportunity to participate in all three discussions. The method was new to the CD Focus team, but seemed to work well. The morning presentations and afternoon notes from the breakout groups are available on the CD Focus website at:

The day was chaired by Paul Andrews, Project Manager - Cecilia, IAML (UK & Ireland). We are grateful to him and to all our speakers for taking such an active part in the day, and to Helen Hockx , the new Programme Manager for Shared Services, JISC/IE , who helped out with facilitation of the discussion groups.

CD Focus Showcase

The Showcase Event will be held on 25th March at the British Library Conference Centre. The day will include input from several major strategic initiatives including the NOF portal, JISC's IE Service Registry, the CC-Interop (COPAC/Clumps Continuing Technical Co-operation) project and the Natural History Museum's CLD project. The day will also feature a unique "Showcase" of demonstrator/pilot services in the adjoining meeting rooms, with contributions from a wide range of CLD services. Full details and booking form are now available at:


CD Focus has been asked to contribute an article to ASSIGNation -The quarterly journal of ASSIGN - Aslib Social Science Special Interest Group which publishes articles of interest to library and information workers in the social sciences The next issue will focus on managing digital collections.

Collection Description Forum

CD Focus has prepared the following short papers:

Creating reusable collection-level descriptions Collection Description Focus Guidance Paper, No 1. November 2002.

Maintaining collection-level descriptions Collection Description Focus Guidance Paper, No 2. November 2002.

Administrative metadata for collection-level description records Collection Description Focus Guidance Paper, No 3. December 2002

The purpose of these papers is not to provide comprehensive or definitive statements (at least in their initial form), but rather to open debate on these subjects, so that the papers can be refined and developed on the basis of implementer experience, to create practical, "best practice" guidelines.

We would encourage all that have an interest in these subjects to post their comments to the CD Focus discussion list at:

RSLP Web Tool

As part of the RSLP CD project, Andy Powell developed a Web-based tool for the creation of collection descriptions. The tool has recently been updated to reflect current Dublin Core Metadata Initiative policy on the use of XML namespaces and some minor changes in the RDF/XML syntax specification.

March/April News Bulletin

Contributions for the next news bulletin should be sent to by 21st March 2003. The bulletin will be published in early April to include a report on the CD Focus Showcase Event.