I’ve got the post festival, metadata schema, taxonomical blues
September 18, 2008 Leave a comment
I have to say that I really enjoyed the Staff Development Festival. It got me away from my PC, interracting with folk from all over the University face to face and I can catagorically say that the current generation of social networking tools don’t even come close to this more traditional form of interraction! The permenant stand in the marquee gave us a presence throughout the fortnight and I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a wide range of people from different faculties. There was, however, variable interest from day to day with the Research Day, as one might expect, being the busiest but I was a little disappointed with a comparative lack of interest on the Carnegie Research Institute Day.
I’ve been given some full text papers to deposit and will follow up on contacts made to secure more still; a lot of interest also in a repository of Learning Objects and we should be able to get some good quality LO content over the next few weeks.
It was very useful also to get to know colleagues from the University Research Office in a less formal setting – previous contact has mainly been in meetings or via email. Our stands were adjacent (for synergy!) and Babita has agreed to join me in advocacy presentations to faculty staff over the coming months which I think will be extremely useful in helping to get our message accross – and B is, no doubt, more familiar than I with the bureaucratic idiosyncrasies of the Leeds Met research community.
It’s now of pressing importance that metadata schema and taxonomical structure are stable so that we can start uploading content without undue fear of it being dislodged. Unsurprisingly the academic in the street has not expressed a particularly strong view and this comes very much under a librarian’s remit – Wendy and I will sit down next week with two colleagues and I’m fairly sure we’ll be looking at Library of Congress Subject Headings as the main organisational structure; I’ve already added a skeleton taxonomy based on the top level of LoCSH which is now sitting alongside JACS and Leeds Met faculties (N.B. one of the features of the node based classification in intraLibrary is that an object can be classified under multiple taxonomies)
There are also work flow issues to consider and you would, perhaps, want a professional librarian/cataloguer to ensure consistency of classification, especially under the LoCSH so may be we’d ask an academic to classify just under faculty and then send the object to a librarian’s workflow for more accurate classification under LoCSH before it is published to the library.
And then there is the manner in which I am currently using intraLibrary’s collections for content by faculty – I originally adopted this approach as Mike T suggested it would be the easiest way facilitate a demo browse tree in his modification of the search interface but we now need to decide whether it would be more appropriate for faculty to go in a metadata field – probably not; it’s not a simple DC field that would be much use for external system searching and using collections in this way probably means we could lose the faculty classification hierarchy altogether and facilitate a more transparent workflow (using collections) to ensure objects are easily identifiable by faculty which is only really useful to us in any case.
In outline then, MIGHT it look like this:
The only taxonomy in intraLibrary is LoCSH; collections stay as they are now, one for each faculty and one for ALL Learning Objects (i.e. they go in one collection and are not distinguishable by faculty)
When an academic uploads a research paper (a challenge all in itself!) they need to specify a collection (i.e. a faculty) as part of the workflow, enter very basic metadata (title, author[s]) and upload; they DON’T classify – it is then passed to a librarian who augments metadata appropriately and classifies it under LoCSH before publishing it to the library. (N.B. what if faculty names change and these collections are set in stone?)
When someone uploads a Learning Object they need to specify the Learning Object collection as part of the workflow, enter very basic metadata (title, author[s]) and upload; they DON’T classify – it is then passed to a librarian who augments metadata appropriately and classifies it under LoCSH before publishing it to the library.
…all of this for the meeting next week.