Research ∕ Learning

Metadata complexes

Lorcan 2 min read

The current Ariadne has an interesting article outlining the work done by Eduserv and UKOLN on an application profile for e-prints.

This application profile represents a relatively innovative approach to metadata, taking as it does the FRBR model and applying it to scholarly works. By making use of the benefits afforded by the DCMI Abstract Model, the profile is able to group descriptions of multiple entities into a single description set. Overall this approach is guided by the functional requirements identified above and the primary use case of richer, more functional, metadata. It also makes it easier to rationalise ‘traditional’ citations between ‘expressions’ and ‘modern’ hypertext links between ‘copies’, as well as supporting navigation between different versions and the identification of appropriate, and, we hope, open access, full-text copies. In practice, this seemingly complex model may be manifest in relatively simple metadata and/or end-user interfaces. Furthermore, it is likely that many repositories already capture the metadata properties identified in the profile, but are prevented from usefully exposing this metadata to other services by the limitations imposed by simple DC. [Main Articles: ‘A Dublin Core Application Profile for Scholarly Works’, Ariadne Issue 50]

I mentioned the OAI-ORE work a few pages ago. Here again we have an example where there is a need to create an aggregate resource, relating its parts and relating it to other resources. Resources may be descriptions of institutions, creators, documents. Some words on the motivation:

From the work specification supplied by JISC, we defined our primary use case in developing an application profile for scholarly works as: supporting the Intute repository search project to aggregate richer, more consistent, metadata from repositories. Through liaison with that project, a review of existing standards and previous project findings, plus consultation with our working group, we established a set of scenarios from which we derived an extensive list of functional requirements [13]. Principal amongst these were the following:

  • Provision of richer, more consistent metadata.
  • Facilitate search, browse or filter by a range of elements, including journal, conference or publication title, peer-review status and resource type.
  • Enable identification of the latest, or most appropriate, version and facilitate navigation between different versions.
  • Support added-value services, particularly those based on the use of OpenURL ContextObjects [14].
  • Implement an unambiguous method of identifying the full text(s).
  • Enable identification of the research funder and project code.
  • Facilitate identification of open access materials.

[Main Articles: ‘A Dublin Core Application Profile for Scholarly Works’, Ariadne Issue 50]

We see again the advantages of consistent metadata, and the benefits of encoding relationships in a standard way.
Aside: congratulations to Ariadne on reching its fiftieth issue!

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