News Bulletin

March-April 2004


Bridget Robinson & Ann Chapman –

CD Focus website –

CD Focus discussion list –

Welcome to the CD Focus News Bulletin. We are pleased to be able to include details of our new "Tap into Bath" project, as well as a contribution from Sarah Shreeves from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in the USA. Sarah outlines the work of the IMLS Digital Collections and Content Project. Sarah and her colleague Tim Cole have made significant contributions to the work of the Dublin Core Collection Description Working Group and attended the CD Focus Schema Forum in February 2004.


The second CD Focus Case Study is now available. It covers the development of, a showcase for the websites of all 150 projects funded as part of the 50 million New Opportunities Fund (NOF) Digitisation of Learning Materials Programme. The portal provides a search facility across a database of collection level descriptions for each site and, in many cases, for collections within sites, thus providing access to material across the whole of the nof-digitise programme in ways that would not be possible from individual project websites. The Case Study is available at It is also available in hard copy; simply email to request a printed version.

The current issue of Ariadne - Issue 39 - includes "At the Event" reports covering the CD Focus Schema Forum that took place on 12th February 2004 and the JISC Terminology Services Workshop that took place on 13th February 2004.


Tap into Bath

During 2003, an opportunity arose for Collection Description Focus to help develop a collection description database. Public and academic libraries in Bath had been developing joint activities, and one proposal was to develop a web page listing all the libraries in the area. CD Focus was consulted and advised that using collection description in a database would provide a better solution than simply using web pages.

By December 2003 it had been decided to create a collection description database for all collections - archives, libraries and museums - in Bath. CD Focus agreed to assist the project by giving guidance on designing a relational database using the RSLP collection description schema and overseeing the data collection and entry. The University of Bath Library agreed to host the database on its server and take responsibility for its maintenance long term, and a member of library staff set up the relational database. A small amount of funding from existing budgets was set aside to pay for data collection work and development of the web interfaces.

The next step was to make contact with all the collections that preliminary work had identified. A meeting was held on 20th April 2004 at which the history of the project to date was presented by Alison Baud of the University of Bath Library and Bridget Robinson and Ann Chapman outlined collection description and its benefits. Representatives from each collection were invited and many were able to attend the meeting, at which they encouragingly agreed very positively on participation. Some people were unable to attend because of other commitments but showed positive interest in the project and agreed to participate.

Those attending appreciated the opportunity for information professionals in archives, libraries and museums to get together, in addition to learning about collection description. The South West Museum Libraries and Archives Council (SWMLAC) is keen to support cross-sectoral and cross-domain working within the region and sponsored the event, which was attended by Angela Haynes, Library and Information Development Officer at SWMLAC.

Work continues on data collection and development of the web interfaces. CD Focus plans to document the project both as part of its Online Tutorial and as one of its series of case study papers.

IMLS Digital Collections and Content

Sarah Shreeves, Project Coordinator, IMLS Digital Collections and Content

Through its National Leadership Grant (NLG) program, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a U.S. federal agency, has enabled the development of significant digital collections in libraries, museums, historical societies, herbariums, and many other types of institutions as well as collaborative ventures between institutions. In 2002, IMLS awarded the Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) a three-year National Leadership Grant to:

The creation of a collection registry has been the primary focus of the IMLS Digital Collections and Content project thus far. Much of the preliminary work focused on defining a collection, investigating collection description standards already in existence or in development, and adapting these schemas to meet the specific needs of the project. (See for more information on these deliberations.) In addition, the project conducted a survey of NLG projects for information to include in the collection registry, and for input into what were useful elements to include in collection description.

IMLS DCC Collection Description Metadata Schema The IMLS DCC metadata schema is available at:

A detailed look at each element is available at:

Below are some general comments about how the IMLS DCC schema diverges from the RSLP and DC schemas.

Focus on Digital Collections:

The IMLS DCC schema is used only to describe digital collections. Thus elements in the RSLP schema that are specific to physical collections were dropped. A few elements were added to reflect some specific aspects of digital collections. For example, an element that allows projects to describe how users can interact with an online collection - whether they can search or browse content or explore content through exhibits or interactive learning objects - was added. Because digital collections are often found within a contextual web site - with essays, bibliographies, teaching resources, for example - the schema includes an element to allow description of these supplemental materials. The physical collection from which the digital collection was derived can also be recorded.

The project also ensured that there was a place to record whether there were alternative access points to the digital collection - an OAI data provider, for instance - and the metadata schema employed for description of item level content, if any.

Collaboratively Built Collections:

Because many of the digital collections funded by IMLS are the results of collaborative collection building between many different institutions, the schema allows many 'contributing' institutions to be associated with the collection.

Project Entity:

In addition to a description of the collection, the institution, and the administrator, the schema also had to describe the National Leadership Grant project, which created the digital collection. Thus an additional entity, Project, was added to the schema. Based on the IMLS DCC project's commitment to focus on collections, the project is described only minimally (title, grant number, project URL).

IMLS Digital Collection Registry

The IMLS Digital Collection Registry has been minimally populated using the survey results and information from project web sites. The IMLS DCC project is currently fine-tuning entry forms where NLG projects can update and maintain their collection description records. At this point a subject browse interface to the registry is available only to IMLS, the IMLS DCC project staff, and to participating NLG projects.

The next phase of development will be further work on the interface to the registry, including building different types of access to the collection descriptions (searching, other types of browsing). The project team will also explore building links between the collection registry and the item level metadata repository.


For more information about the IMLS DCC project, please contact:

Sarah Shreeves, Project Coordinator
IMLS Digital Collections and Content
Tel: 217.244.7809

Mailing address:

Grainger Engineering Library and Information Center, MC-274
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1301 W. Springfield Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801 USA

May/June CD Focus News Bulletin

Copy for the next news bulletin should be sent to by Friday 4th June 2004

Content by: Bridget Robinson of UKOLN.
Page last revised on: 12-Nov-2004
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