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ETL 505 Assignment 1 Part A

Value: 50%

Due date: 24-Aug-2015

Return date: 14-Sep-2015

Part A: Essay (1600 words, + or – 10%) (20 marks)

Undertake a discussion and analysis of key concepts and principles in information resource description, in order to show your understanding of, and ability to explain and contextualise concepts and principles of information resource description.

Drawing upon the knowledge and understanding of key concepts and principles in information resource description gained through modules one to three of your subject material (including the first seven chapters of your textbook) give considered and informed responses to the following questions.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

There is a lot to consider when addressing information resource description. There are many key concepts and principles that need to be addressed so that the users of information agencies can adequately find, identify, select and obtain their desired resource. Such factors include information organisation and metadata standards, both of which play a huge role in the users overall outcome in information retrieval.

To understand what information organisation is and why we need it, first we need to understand what an information resource is. Quite simply, an information resource is a resource that contains information. It comes in many forms e.g. DVDs, websites, books, maps etc. And in school libraries it also stretches to the world of literature. Therefore information resource description is the way in which all of these resources are described in order to locate them proficiently.

Information organisation is quite simply, the way in which information (better referred to these days as resources) is organised. It is the process of ordering and describing information or information objects. Resources can be organised in various ways. The way in which it is organised will have implications to retrieval, interaction and personal information management. Information organisation involves the assignment of metadata to documents that serve specific roles, or creation of indexes and databases that serve the primary tasks of ordering and description.

Organising information, which includes the description of that information (metadata), is most effective when contextual factors are considered. To maximise access to school library collections, the “characteristics of the user, the technology, the information resources and other environmental factors” (Hider, 2012, p.8) are taken into consideration when organising information and making decisions about the four aspects of metadata: elements, values, format and transmission. Hider posits that there can be a difference between the user of the metadata itself and the users of the resources represents (2012, p.16). For example the user of the metadata might be a teacher or parent looking for a resources in the collection that might appropriate and used by a student. In any case, understanding those who are using the metadata and their purposes, can lead to creating metadata that is more effective (Hider, 2012, p.16).

It is necessary for information agencies to organise information simply to enable the information searcher to find information required within the shortest time-frame. Time is a precious resource for all and if information is not easily accessible due to poor organisation, it would be mean failure on the part of the information agency to provide good service.

Information resource description aids information organisation because it essentially provides information about different aspects of the resource, otherwise known as ‘data elements’. Data elements may relate to the nature of the information itself (content – e.g. subject, language etc.) and/or to the carrier or container of this information of this information (e.g. size, format, labelling information such as statements appearing on the title page, etc.) (Hider, 2012, p.4). Information resource description or data about data is often referred to as ‘metadata’ and is “commonly defined as ‘structured’ data (about data)” (Hider, 2012, p5).

But who writes the description in order for users to be able to locate the desired resource? Descriptions of information resources are written by a variety of people, with various agendas and reasons for doing so (e.g. a librarian might wish to improve their patron’s knowledge while publishers may be focused on sales) and this will have an impact on the nature of the description (Hider, 2012, p.3). Teacher librarians need to know more than how to download such records into a catalogue.

The teacher librarian’s input can determine if the catalogue is used and appreciated as an effective and friendly tool for locating needed resources; or if the most noticeable feature about the catalogue is the number of users who bypass it. Hider puts it simply when he states that in order for information professionals to improve access to information resources requires “first-hand knowledge of the domain in which they work” (2012, p.62).

With such a wide range of resources now available due to the digital revolution, information agencies are now dealing with more than just books; digital, pictorial and auditory resources now need to be included and considered. So therefore, the way in which information is organised has also evolved. In the traditional library realm, organisation tasks include annotation of documents directly, print or electronic resources being organised in the form of catalogue records, abstracts, and digital libraries, and the physical or virtual ordering or grouping of resources using the processes of categorisation and classification. But depending on the teacher librarian and the users of the library will determine how their resources are catalogued and ultimately organised within their library. Whilst there are no “set rules” as such on how you organise the information, there are cataloguing/metadata standards that are to be followed to ensure consistency amongst information agencies.

There are many key tools used in school libraries for organising information. Arrangements are designed to help people look for information resources and navigate resource collections. As there are numerous ways in which information resources can be arranged it is imperative for effective access to them. Labels may be utilised to identify individual items and/or group items by categories such as subject matter or by a designated section of the collection (e.g. non-fiction). Symbols such as colour may be utilised on labels to group resources. Labels that indicate the items location within the collection are very useful (e.g. details such as call number, author’s name, Dewey classification, etc. may appear on the spine label of a physical resource). In digital environments, labels are used on hyperlinks in the form of brief descriptions. Indexes are “essentially arrangements of labels connected conceptually, rather than physically, to their resources” (Hider, 2012, p.35).

Library catalogues is an obvious tool of information organisation. They are used as a way to ascertain what is in the library collection and as a retrieval tool. Online library catalogues (e.g. OPAC – online public access catalogue) have superseded the old card cataloguing system, although both are similar in their descriptions. Online catalogues can provide users with numerous records from which to make their selection. Some even allow for users to input metadata (social metadata) such as tagging, ratings and reviewing items.

Federated search systems are a tool that has enhanced the ease to which users are able to search and locate information. Creating federated search applications that allow the sharing of metadata between information retrieval systems (interoperability) can be complex as different systems may not be compatible in terms of metadata elements or not support the same functions (Hider, 2012, p.47). While standardisation is needed to address this issue, it is somewhat idealistic given the varying purposes of different databases.

Hider (2012, p21-23) stressed the importance of a common standard to be adopted for describing information resources. Only with proper input standards would there be consistent output that makes information retrieval systems effective. Once common standards are in place for various information resources, the exchange of information with various information agencies internationally can be easily achieved. Adopting common standards will enable easy sharing and import of bibliographic data resulting in cost savings and time. This will eventually bring about overall service benefits provided by information centres especially those that cannot afford the services of an expert cataloguer. Hider (2012) shared that if universal bibliographic control can be successfully achieved every unique information resource need only be catalogued once and other libraries can pay for the record if needed. This ideal state would result in time-savings and greater information retrieval efficiency. By doing so, a Teacher Librarian’s time and expertise can be better spent collaborating with teachers to design resource-based and project-based lessons where students will apply information literacy and research skills taught. This supports Herring’s (2007), notion that a school library should be a centre of learning first and a centre for resources second.

Metadata is an essential consideration when discussing information organisation. It is important as it can support effective access to information. Metadata is simply the data that describes an information resource, it is data about data. It describes the nature and content of information and forms the elements that are used to find, locate and obtain it (Tech Terms, 2014). This usually takes the form of a structured set of elements that describe the information resource and assists in the identification, location and retrieval of it by users, while facilitating content and access management. Metadata is made up of a number of elements that can be categorised into the different functions they support. A metadata standard will normally support a number of defined functions, and will specify elements that make these possible.

While metadata may be useful for providing information about a single resource, it can also be useful for providing “an overview of a collection of resources by grouping like resources together (otherwise known as collocation), allowing users to navigate it” (Hider, 2012, p.7).

The consistency of metadata records enables the metadata to be used in different information retrieval systems, which enables it to be shared by a variety of information institutions. The sharing of metadata is made possible not only through standardisation of content, format and vocabulary but also through standardisation of transmission of this information according to standard protocols (Hider, 2012, p.93).

There are a large number of metadata standards that address the needs of a particular user or users. The Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR) was the main source of standards before Resource Access Description was implemented. It is organised in two parts: description (e.g. from general rules related to all resources such as how and what to describe to rules specific to particular types of material) and headings (e.g. choice of access points, headings for persons, geographic names, etc.) The International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) was originally developed for catalogue cards but consolidated editions are still being published (e.g. 2011). It prescribes the elements for cataloguers to include in their description of library resources and stipulates how this description is to be presented (e.g. order, punctuation etc.) The most current and used set of standards is the Resource Access Description (RDA) which focuses on content (e.g. elements and their values). It accommodates ISBD-based descriptions as well as descriptions that might be schematic in nature (e.g. RDF/XML) which makes it more useful in the online world. It is more relevant to a variety of information agencies beyond the library sector as it is not limited to the ISBD elements (more broad). In essence RDA is a process that allows for the creation of metadata which meets users’ needs for data content and also facilitates machine manipulation of that data for searching and display. It utilizes the four user tasks of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) to present information in multiple forms to users in ways that are meaningful (National Library of Australia (NLA), 2014). While the average Teacher Librarian may not need to create metadata following such intricate cataloguing requires it is important that they have an understanding of how the RDA process works. This is of particular importance given the changing nature of information and how users access it.

The format standard can best be explained by looking at the MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloguing) system. Library catalogue records (metadata of information resources) were originally distributed in the form of library catalogue cards. Today, computerised systems have revolutionised this system by allowing the distribution of electronic records over the Internet. These files usually have a standardised format, MARC (Machine Readable Cataloguing). “The MARC format not only allows computer systems to import copies of catalogue records from other systems, it also indicates how the data in the records should be indexed and displayed, in other words, how the record should be processed, or ‘read’, by the computer system” (Hider, 2012, p.97). MARC is commonly used in the library domain and while other formats that make bibliographical data more interoperable exist, the cost in conversion to another format may see considerable data lost.

Transmission standards are required for the sharing of catalogue files as computers need to be able to not only process records such as MARC, but be able to receive it. Some users of bibliographic records will allow their computer to search for records, which may include searching several different online catalogues. As a result, many library management systems have applications designed for this purpose, applying a client-user-protocol. These are often configured by specialists who must consider how to make retrieval effective given the different ways in which databases can be searched and ways in which records can be indexed.

Therefore, along with user consideration, the application of information resource description standards is of particular importance. Oliver (2010, p. 6) argues metadata standards ensure interoperability, resource sharing, and seamless metadata exchange highlighting how standards help provide structure to information organisation and access. Witten & Bainbridge (2010, p. 329) suggest standards such as name authority control and subject authority control improve user experiences thereby linking standards to users and emphasising the importance of metadata to library systems.

While metadata and vocabularies are currently fundamental to our library systems, consideration must be given to the impact of future and changing technologies. While content-based retrieval and social metadata have appeal, the primary role of school libraries is to support school curriculum and, as Mitchell (2013) suggests, school users have specific literacy and maturity considerations. As Hider, (2012, p.188) argues, metadata schema such as RDA and vocabularies provide structures that support collection navigation and information seeking in ways that content-based retrieval and folksonomies cannot.

In conclusion, over the years there have been many advancements in the way information resources have been composed (now more digitised), described and organised. The need for agencies to organise these information resources is quite clear. Information agencies are there to support their users in information retrieval for varying reasons. Regardless of why a user is there, it is expected that they shall be able to find, identify, select and obtain a resource with ease and success. Organising such information entails several factors to support effective access to information. This relies on the quality of metadata, the application of standards and consideration of the end user is central to information resource description and ultimately, effective information access and retrieval. It also highlighted that to maintain relevance, school libraries must consider their information context and modify the systems and tools they utilise to best serve the needs of their users in providing effective access to information.

References

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher Librarians and the School Library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century: charting new directions in information (pp.27-42).

Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet

Mitchell, P. (2013) The future of the school library catalogue. In Connections (87). Retrieved 7 October 2014, from http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/issue_87/articles/the_future_of_the_school_library_catalogue.html

National Library of Australia, (2014). Resource Description and Access. Retrieved from

http://www.nla.gov.au/acoc/resource-description-and-access-rda-in-australia

Oliver, C. (2010). Introducing RDA: A guide to the basics. Chicago: American Library Association. Retrieved Charles Sturt University website http://reader.eblib.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/(S(v0qmdssxqgrljvpntn1f132j))/Reader.aspx?p=675845&o=476&u=sa3s6x%2b4liO1HCmUZhGeKA%3d%3d&t=1408776351&h=5A5E92A424963CEE08267B9CC8F870B3D86CA36C&s=25775206&ut=1443&pg=21&r=img&c=-1&pat=n&cms=-1

Tech Terms (2014). Metadata Definition. Techterms.com. Retrieved from

http://www.techterms.com/definition/metadata

Witten, I.H, & Bainbridge, D. (2010). How to build a digital library. Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann

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ETL 505 Assignment 1 Part B – RDA Toolkit

Instructions:

Use the RDA toolkit for descriptive cataloguing.

Using the RDA Toolkit create correct entries (access points and description) for three items. Use the format given in the Cataloguing Workbook in the Using RDA section of Module 3 (showing RDA Reference, RDA Element and Data Recorded). You should include all RDA elements for which information has been provided. Give the access points provided for by RDA, in their preferred form; also indicate the primary access point.

Please note that the people and organisations cited are fictional, so their names won’t appear in any authority file. You can assume the names are not shared by other people or organisations. Use only the information provided.

Item (1) Printed book

Title page:

from market to home: making the most of fresh organic produce

Mary Rose Moskin

photography by Taylor Severson

drawings by Judith Maas

RYCROFT SIFTON & TRENT

LONDON      NEW YORK

Verso of title page:

First published in the United Kingdom in 2012

by Rycroft Sifton & Trent

18–19 Smallway

London, England WC1R 4BW

Text © Mary Rose Moskin 2012

Design and illustrations

© Rycroft Sifton & Trent 2012

ISBN 978 1 36378 724 1

Other relevant information:

  • contains coloured photographs and black and white drawings
  • pages numbered 6 to 160
  • 5 cm high and 22.2 cm wide
  • in the series Rycroft recipes
  • includes index on page 160

Justification for primary access point chosen: 

6.27.1.2 Works Created by One Person, Family, or Corporate Body

If one person, family, or corporate body is responsible for creating the work construct the authorized access point representing the work by combining (in this order):

  1. a) the authorized access point representing that person family, or corporate body as applicable
  2. b) the preferred title for the work
Taken from discussion forum – Leonie Bourke FULL STAFF ACCESS MANAGER
RE: primary access pointsvs authorised access points – I think the primary access point is explained in your learning module. The main purpose is to facilitate shelf arrangement, so that for example the works of a particular author will shelve together.
RDA REF RDA ELEMENT DATA RECORDED
*2.3.2 Title Proper From Market to Home
2.3.4 Other Title Information Making the most of fresh organic produce
*2.4.2 Statement of responsibility relating to title proper Mary Rose Moskin
2.4.2 Statement of responsibility relating to title proper Design and illustrations by Rycroft Sifton and Trent
2.8.2 Place of Publication United Kingdom
2.8.4 Publisher’s name Rycroft Sifton and Trent
2.8.6 Date of publication 2012
2.11 Copyright date ©2012
2.15 Identifier for the manifestation ISBN 978 1 36378 724 1
6.9 Content type Text
3.4 Extent 160 pages
3.5 Dimensions 26.5 x 22.2cm
7.16 Supplementary content Includes index on page 160
7.15 Illustrative Content Photographs
7.17 Colour Content Colour
7.15 Illustrative Content Drawings
7.17 Colour Content Black and white
19.2 Creator Moskin, Mary Rose
18.5 Relationship designator Author
*20.2 Contributor Severson, Taylor
18.5 Relationship designator Photographer
*20.2 Contributor Maas, Judith
18.5 Relationship designator Illustrator
25.1 Related work Rycroft recipes
J2.4 Relationship designator In series (work)

Item (2) Streaming video

Title frame:

ROME: POWER AND CORRUPTION

EPISODE II: A CITY ON THE BRINK

Credits:

Presented by Ramona Wolf

Producer Rosso Bernardi

Music composed by Gian Bruni

Series director Richard Hart

A 360TV Ltd production for the National History Channel

© 360TV Ltd 2014

Supplier’s description:

A City on the Brink – Rome: Power and corruption

Description: The Romans have subjugated their nearest neighbours and are now determined to protect their powerful city state – but will Rome survive a prolonged and ferocious attack by the Gauls?

Rating PG

Duration (mins) 43:33

Other relevant information:

The video is in colour. It includes narration, interviews and background music. Some of the dialogue is in Italian, with English subtitles.

Justification for primary access point chosen: 

6.27.1.3 Moving image works. For motion pictures, videos, video games, etc., construct the authorized access point representing the work by using the preferred title for the work (see 6.2.2).

I would argue these two would be the primary access point due to the fact that it’s the title of the series, and therefore anyone following the series would search for this primarily to find the other episodes – including this one.

RDA REF RDA ELEMENT DATA RECORDED
*2.3.2 Title Proper Rome: Power and Corruption
*2.3.4 Other Title Information Episode II A City on the Brink
2.12.2 Title Proper of Series A City on the Brink
2.4.2 Statement of responsibility relating to title proper Producer Rosso Bernardi
2.4.2 Statement of responsibility relating to title proper Series director Richard Hart
2.8.2 Place of Publication Place of publication not identified
2.8.4 Publisher’s Name A 360TV Ltd production for the National History Channel
2.11 Copyright Date © 2014
3.2 Media Type Computer
6.2.2 Preferred Title for the Work Episode II
6.9 Content Type Two-dimensional moving image
7.7 Intended Audience PG
7.10 Summarising the content The Romans have subjugated their nearest neighbours and are now determined to protect their powerful city state – but will Rome survive a prolonged and ferocious attack by the Gauls?
7.12 Language of the content English. Some of the dialogue is in Italian, with English subtitles.
7.14 Accessibility content English subtitles
7.16 Supplementary Content Includes narration, interviews and background music
7.17 Colour Content Colour
7.18 Sound Content Sound
7.22.1.3 Duration 43:33 minutes
7.23 Performer, narrator, presenter Presented by Ramona Wolf
7.23 Performer, narrator, presenter Music by Gian Bruni
19.3.1 Other person, family, or corporate body associated with a work Bernardi, Rosso
18.5, I.2 Relationship designator Producer
19.3.1 Other person, family, or corporate body associated with a work Hart, Richard
18.5, I.2 Relationship designator Director
20.2 Contributor Wolf, Ramona
18.5, I.3 Relationship designator Presenter
*25.1 Related work A City on the Brink
J.2.4 Relationship designator In series (Work)

 

Item (3) eBook

Title page:

BARINGHUP PARK

the story of an historic home and garden in Victoria’s goldfields

ELIZABETH ELPHINSTONE

with contributions by Henry Chan, Joel Gates, Albert Muckleford and Harlow Reid

TESSELLATED PRESS

Copyright page:

Published in Australia by Tessellated Press

62 Regent Street

Somerton Park SA 5044

Australia

Tessellated Press is an imprint of Tessellated Resources Pty Ltd

ISBN 9781734290654 (eBook edition)

Copyright Goldfields Local History Society 2013

First eBook edition 2013

Table of contents:

Part 1: The colonial era

Part 2: Challenging times

Part 3: Post war prosperity

Part 4: Back to the future

Other relevant information:

  • In the series Australia’s historic homes and gardens
  • Includes endnotes, select bibliography and an index
  • Available in PDF and EPUB formats
  • Contains black and white photographs, portraits, maps and plans
  • The PDF has ten preliminary pages numbered from VII to X (the first six pages are unnumbered), followed by the main sequence of pages numbered from 1 to 350.

Justification for primary access point chosen: 

6.27.1.4 Compilations of Works by Different Persons, Families, or Corporate Bodies

  • If the work is a compilation of works by different persons, families, or corporate bodies, construct the authorized access point representing the work by using the preferred title for the compilation (see 2.2).
RDA REF RDA ELEMENT DATA RECORDED
*2.3.2 Title Proper Baringhup Park
2.3.4 Other Title Information The story of an historic home and garden in Victoria’s goldfields
2.4.2 Statement of responsibility relating to title proper Elizabeth Elphinstone
2.4.2 Statement of responsibility relating to title proper with contributions by Henry Chan, Joel Gates, Albert Muckleford and Harlow Reid
2.5.2 Designation of Edition First eBook edition 2013
2.8.2 Place of Publication Australia
2.8.4 Publisher’s Name Tessellated Press
2.8.6 Date of Publication 2013
2.11 Copyright Date Copyright Goldfields Local History Society ©2013
2.15 Identifier for the Manifestation ISBN 9781734290654 (eBook edition)
2.17 Note on Manifestation Tessellated Press is an imprint of Tessellated Resources Pty Ltd
3.2 Media Type Computer
3.3 Carrier Type Online resource
3.4 Extent 1 online resource, 6 unnumbered pages, VII to X, 350 pages
6.9 Content Type Text
7.16 Supplementary Content Includes endnotes, select bibliography and an index
7.16 Supplementary Content Part 1: The colonial eraPart 2: Challenging timesPart 3: Post war prosperityPart 4: Back to the future
7.15 Illustrative Content Photographs, portraits, maps and plans
7.17 Colour Content Black and white
19.2 Creator Elphinstone, Elizabeth
18.5 Relationship designator Author
20.2 Contributor Chan, Henry
18.5 Relationship designator Author
20.2 Contributor Gates, Joel
18.5 Relationship designator Author
20.2 Contributor Muckleford, Albert
18.5 Relationship designator Author
20.2 Contributor Reid, Harlow
18.5 Relationship designator Author
19.3 Other person, family or corporate body associated with a work Goldfields Local History Society
25.1 Related work Australia’s historic homes and gardens
J2.4 Relationship designator In series (work)

 

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ETL 505 Week 5 Reflection

I am feeling extremely overwhelmed to say the least. I have read through module 1 to 3 twice now and I am still finding the concepts difficult to really get my head around. Yes I am able to write about what I have read – but I feel as though I am not yet completely getting it.

With only 5 days to go until I give birth to my 1st baby – my head is all over the place!

I guess I am finding a lot of what we are learning irrelevant to what TLs do. Yes I know we need an understanding of cataloguing and the process etc but do we really need to go so in depth???

This course is very challenging and I feel like there has been so much info overload!!!!

Now to tackle the RDA part B of the first assignment! How daunting!

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ETL 505 My Understanding: Metadata

Metadata is simply the data that describes an information resource, it is data about data. It describes the nature and content of information and forms the elements that are used to find, locate and obtain it (Tech Terms, 2014).

Tech Terms (2014). Metadata Definition. Techterms.com. Retrieved from http://www.techterms.com/definition/metadata

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ETL 505 My Understanding: RDA

RDA is a process that allows for the creation of metadata which meets users’ needs for data content and also facilitates machine manipulation of that data for searching and display. It utilizes the four user tasks of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) to present information in multiple forms to users in ways that are meaningful (National Library of Australia (NLA), 2014). While the average TL may not need to create metadata following such intricate cataloguing requires it is important that they have an understanding of how the RDA process works. This is of particular importance given the changing nature of information and how users access it.

 

National Library of Australia, (2014). Resource Description and Access. Retrieved from

http://www.nla.gov.au/acoc/resource-description-and-access-rda-in-australia

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ETL 505 Module 3: Metadata Quality and Standards

Some metadata may be more useful than others. Some may be more accurate than others. Some may be clearer. The quality of metadata can make a big difference to the effectiveness of an information retrieval tool.

Chapter 5 – Metadata quality

What are some of the key criteria for good metadata?

“Ultimately, what makes for good metadata is its potential to support effectively information retrieval. Its adherence to certain standards may indicate that professionals were involved in its creation, but this does not in itself make it good metadata” (Hider, 2012, p.86). While it is important metadata reflects the information context, aspects that might be considered when assessing metadata quality include:

  • Functionality – While there are numerous possibilities in terms of elements that could be recorded in the description of an information resource, some are more likely to be useful than others depending on contextual factors such as the needs of the user and the retrieval system being utilised. To improve the functionality of metadata, aspects of the information context may be studied by metadata specialists, however, this is not an exact science and ascertain information about things such as the different information users and their needs can be difficult.
  • Comprehensiveness – some descriptions are fuller than others and this can impact their effectiveness, however, more detailed descriptions often take longer to produce and therefore are often more costly to produce. Given that many of the possible attributes that could be recorded may not be that important, decisions regarding the amount of detail required are not simple. Some users require different levels of description (e.g. a university library may need more detail than a school library for its resources) and different types of resources may require different degrees of comprehensiveness (e.g. an Internet resource might only require minimal description to support discovery but not selection verses a novel which might require more information)
  • Accuracy – Given the minimal information that is often used to find, identify, select or obtain information resources, the accuracy of the information provided is essential. While mistakes can occur it is important that these are rectified as it can impact a users’ confidence in professional resource description or hinder a user in their search for information resources. Misspellings, a misinterpretation of the subject, incorrectly recording a value or not updating an attribute of an information resource that changes (e.g. a website that updates or a serial that continues to add new editions) may all impact the accuracy of metadata used for describing information resources.
  • Clarity – While metadata needs to be accurate, it is also imperative that it is recorded in a way that considers the users of this information. Metadata may be less accessible to users depending on the language used and the degree of familiarity the user has with terms or abbreviations used by metadata creators (e.g. cataloguer jargon) but increasingly metadata specialists are acknowledging the wide user audience. It also needs to be succinct so that more information can be presented to the user (i.e. more elements and descriptions) and to improve the quality of search results (i.e. less terms should allow for more precise matches).
  • Consistency – Consistency encompasses both elements and values and can greatly increase retrieval. The use of standard values can make systems easier for users to use as they are more likely to be able to read and interpret information if it is standardised. Consistency may facilitate semantic interoperability within and across systems. However, the notion of consistency is far from simple as discrepancies might exist in interpretations between indexer and search (e.g. in one context the resource might be considered to be about terrorism while in another about freedom fighters) and between indexers.
  • Vocabulary and authority control – To improve the effectiveness of retrieval systems, those creating metadata often use standardised or controlled vocabularies. Controlled vocabularies are often regulate or standardise subject terms (e.g. influenza rather than flu). Controlled vocabularies may indicate their preferred terms to users which is known as cross-references (e.g. Goal use jail, images use pictures, etc.). This may mean that antonyms (e.g. sickness and health) are also given allocated a single subject term (e.g. health being used for both). Other metadata elements can also be controlled such as author names and titles. This too can be problematic as author’s may share the same name (e.g. Jane Doe) and to disambiguate this element additional information may be given (e.g. Jane Joan Doe verses Jane May Doe) to separate two quite distinct set of resources.

How is metadata quality assurance achieved?

Quality of metadata can impact information retrieval. The quality of metadata might be improved through:

  • Information agencies regularly engaging in a cycle of monitoring (e.g. by supervisors or senior metadata experts overseeing), evaluating (e.g. audits using criteria or utilising automated computer functions that check for such things as spelling errors) and improvement of metadata
  • The development and refinement of best practice standards by professionals
  • Ongoing professional development for information professionals

References

Hider, P. (2012). Chapter 5, Metadata quality (pp.77-91). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet.

Activity: Quiz – The following are examples of abbreviations and jargon which have been routinely used by library cataloguers. Do you understand what is meant by all of them?

For the given abbreviations I was able to guess:

  • t.p. = title page
  • ill. = illustrations
  • ports. = portraits
  • prelim. = preliminaries (although I did not know that this meant in the context of library cataloguing until checking the answers (i.e. Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules defines as the pages before and including the title page and cover)
  • repr.= reprint
  • fl.= flourished (i.e. was living)

Read: The Introduction to Chapter 7 on pp. 103-104 of Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description. London: Facet. Then read the rest of Chapter 7 from pp. 104-144.

What are standards?

“A standard is more than a convention. It represents a practice that is prescribed, not simply what is normal” (Hider, 2012, p.103). Standards are set out in documentation and may be created for use by a single organisation or a group of related organisations, possibly even on a national or international level.

What types of metadata standards have been developed?

  • Values
  • Elements
  • Format
  • Transmission

What are some of the issues with metadata standards?

“Ultimately, there is a trade-off between a desire for consistency and best practice, on the one hand, and the desire to address local needs and economic realities on the other” (Hider, 2012, p.104).

Metadata standards for key information domains:

  • Web publishing – Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Extensible Markup Language (XML), Resource Description Framework (RDF)
  • Libraries – Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR), International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD), Resource Description and Access (RDA), Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD), Machine-Readable Cataloguing (MARC), Z39.50
  • Digital libraries – Dublin Core (DC), Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS), Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS), Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), Open-URL
  • Archives – General International Standard Archival Description (ISAD(G)), Encoded Archival Description (EAD)
  • Museums – Standard Procedures for Collections Recording Used in Museums (SPECTRUM), International Guidelines for Museum Object Information: the CIDOC information categories (CIDOC), Conceptual Reference Model (CRM)

What are the ‘standards’ for libraries?

  • Elements and values

o   Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR).

  • Cataloguing code of 1967
  • covered both heading and descriptions
  • adopted primarily by English-speaking countries
  • AACR2 was published in 1978 in response to the Anglo-American library community wanting AACR to align with ISBD and the need to incorporate rule revisions occurring since the original publication
  • Developed at a time when card catalogues were widely used
  • It was adopted by most libraries in English-speaking countries
  • Revised versions of AACR2 were released in 1988, 1998 and 2002
  • Later versions of AACR2 cover resources such as website but they use terms and concepts that might reflect the 20thcentury
  • It has a lot of rules but also three different levels of description where the at the minimal levels different rules may not apply or be optional or are frequently adapted to address the local contextual needs
  • It is organised in two parts: description (e.g. from general rules related to all resources such as how and what to describe to rules specific to particular types of material) and headings (e.g. choice of access points, headings for persons, geographic names, etc.)
  • AACR2, like ISBD, does not systematically define various elements which can lead to rich resource descriptions but also create records that are less conducive to computer processing

o   International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD)

  • First published in 1971 by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) specifically for books
  • Later versions were created (e.g. ISBD for other material and ISBD(G) for materials in general)
  • Originally developed for catalogue cards but consolidated editions are still being published (e.g. 2011)
  • Prescribes the elements for cataloguers to include in their description of library resources and stipulates how this description is to be presented (e.g. order, punctuation etc.)
  • Descriptions are in human-readable form to facilitate sharing

o   Resource Access Description (RDA)

  • Intended to replace AACR2 as it was decided that a complete overhaul of the system was needed to take advantage of the possibilities technology might afford rather than another releasing another version of AACR2 which would unlikely be able to be computer-friendly given its original inception in the era of card catalogues
  • Released in 2010 and implemented in 2013
  • RDA focuses on content (e.g. elements and their values)
  • It is different from AACR as it does not prescribe the ISBD or any format. It is accommodates ISBD-based descriptions as well as descriptions that might be schematic in nature (e.g. RDF/XML) which makes it more useful in the online world
  • “Its aim is to serve as the basis for the development of all cataloguing codes” so that international sharing of records is facilitated
  • An advantage to those wishing to utilise RDA is that the code can be applied without radical change (which is significant in an era of fiscal constraint)
  • RDA covers more elements and defines them more narrowly that AACR (e.g. different elements would be recognised for a title derived from the resource verses one constructed by the cataloguer when none exists)
  • It is more relevant to a variety of information agencies beyond the library sector as it is not limited to the ISBD elements (more broad)
  • RDA aims to cover all the elements that might be usefully included in authority and bibliographic records (e.g. various attributes of the persons, corporate bodies and other entities)
  • RDA identifies 463 elements and sub-elements for bibliographic records and 59 for authority records (not all will be applicable for every resource but a small number of ‘core’ RDA elements are required if applicable for each resource)
  • RDA’s organisation is based on the theoretical framework of two conceptual models of how an effective catalogue functions (FRBR/FRAD).
  • The 10 sections are divided into chapters and rules are grouped together according to the specific element they cover.
  • Online cataloguing tool (contains hyperlinks that improve navigation)
    • Offers vocabularies, or sets of values for some of its elements; controlled vocabulary for description elements
    • Format

    o   MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloguing)

    • “MARC is a record exchange format used by automated library systems to share and process cataloguing data” (Hider, 2012, p.122)
    • It does not tell the cataloguer what to record but how to record or encode catalogue records so they can be used by computerised systems
    • Many countries developed their own variants of MARC but the USMARC became the standard which was adopted as international catalogue exchange became more common and as many records were already in this format. Later, MARC21 became the prominent variant and is maintained by the Library of Congress
    • MARC commonly used in the library domain and while other formats that make bibliographical data more interoperable exist, the cost in conversion to another format may see considerable data lost
    • Transmission standards

    Transmission standards are required for the sharing of catalogue files as computers need to be able to not only process records such as MARC (which is widely used by libraries) but be able to receive it. Some users of bibliographic records will allow their computer to search for records, which may include searching several different online catalogues. As a result, many library management system have applications designed for this purpose, applying a client-user-protocol. These are often configured by specialists who must consider how to make retrieval effective given the different ways in which databases can be searched and ways in which records can be indexed. Specialised transfer protocols (between the client and the server) for downloading bibliographic records in formats such as MARC include:

    o   Z39.50 – It is widely used for MARC records but can be limited where systems are based on newer formats or structures.

    o   SRU & CQL– Newer and more adaptable than Z39.50 as facilitates Search/Retrieve by URL (SRU) meaning it is not limited to MARC records. It “enables search applications to communicate with systems outside the library domain, such as search engines, as well as online catalogues. It is maintained by the Library of Congress and may end up superseding Z39.50. The protocol is ‘XML focused’ and utilises Contextual Query Language (CQL)” (Hider, 2012, p.126).

    o   OAI-PMH – Stands for Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting and is Dublin Core (DC) equivalent of Z39.50.

    o   OpenURL – Has been widely adapted in many digital libraries. Allows a search to be duplicated, using URL format, on multiple systems via a ‘link resolver’. An example would be a journal article available through multiple databases which a library subscribes to.

What is FRAD?

  • Focuses on the elements needed for authority records, which are often used by cataloguers to control the names of authors etc. rather than end-users
  • Based on FRBR model but focuses on group 2 entities (i.e. person, family, corporate group)
  • Based on a slightly different set of user tasks. “The tasks are: to find an entity associated with a resource; identify that entity; contextualise this entity amongst similar entities; and justify the preferred name for the entity” (Hider, 2012, p.120). Last task = cataloguer rather than end-user.

Reference

Hider, P. (2012). Chapter 7, Metadata standards (pp.103-150). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet

 

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ETL 505 Module 2: Tools and Systems

Read: The first three sections of Chapter 3, ‘Tools and systems’ (pp. 33-39) of Hider, P. (2012), Information resource description. London: Facet.

The arrangement of resources by Dewey Decimal Classification, alphabetical order and on occasion by other attributes such as type of material, level of difficulty, and genre and the use of indexes and databases, such as the library catalogue, are key tools of information retrieval used in school libraries.

  1.  Arranged – Arrangements are designed to help people look for information resources and navigate resource collections. As there are numerous ways in which information resources can be arranged it is imperative for effective access to them that users know how they have been arranged. One way to arrange items is to place them in a particular order based on things such as ‘author’, acquisition order, DDC, genre, type of material etc. Arranging items by numerical and alphabetical order is common but this still has issues or questions that might be addressed such as how to deal with punctuation, word-by-word verses letter-by letter, numeric or alphabetic first, etc.
  2.  Labelled – Labels are a way of arranging information resources. Labels may be utilised to identify individual items and/or group items by categories such as subject matter or by a designated section of the collection (e.g. non-fiction). Symbols such as colour may be utilised on labels to group resources. Labels that indicate the items location within the collection are very useful (e.g. details such as call number, author’s name, Dewey classification, etc. may appear on the spine label of a physical resource). In digital environments, labels are used on hyperlinks in the form of brief descriptions.
  3.  Indexed – Indexes are “essentially arrangements of labels connected conceptually, rather than physically, to their resources” (Hider, 2012, p.35). Indexes are lists that are designed to be looked up, and in the context of library collections are often referred to as catalogues. An advantage of metadata arranged independently of the resource is that it can enable multiple access points to a resource. The likelihood of a user finding a resource are increased as the number of access points are increased (e.g. title, author, subject, etc.). Another advantage in using indexes to locate information resources is that many users find it easier to navigate descriptions of resources as opposed to searching the resources themselves.

In the online world logically arranged website menus and online directories might be regarded as indexes. Google, a search engine, is a form of electronic index. Rather than relying on metadata, these search engines index the content of the resources (e.g. text within the information resource).

What is Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)?

It is an arrangement where notations are filed in numerical and alphabetical order but the arrangement is based primarily on subject. The idea is for resources of a similar subject to be located within close proximity.

How have computer databases impacted the information environment?

As modern computers can search very large files quickly, words entered into a field can be indexed individually. This means that searching for a particular title does not mean the user has to know each word in the title to gain the item they are searching for.

Computer databases are capable of not only storing metadata, but other kinds of data.

Tools of library organisation

  • Bibliographic databases – might provide a general keyword index, containing words found in many of the fields, a title word index, author keyword index, subject keyword index, etc. The library catalogue is an example for a bibliographic database.
  •  Library catalogues – used as a way to ascertain what is in the library collection and as a retrieval tool. Online library catalogues (e.g. OPAC – online public access catalogue) have superseded the old card cataloguing system, although both are similar in their descriptions. The online cataloguing system does have advantages for users trying to find items as they are often able to search with some knowledge about the text they are trying to find, as words within each element can be individually indexed. Online catalogues can provide users with numerous records from which to make their selection. Some even allow for users to input metadata (social metadata) such as tagging, ratings and reviewing items. Additionally OPAC, is integrated with the library system’s circulation module, which means users of the system are not only able to learn about the existence of items within the collection but also an item’s availability. Contemporary versions of OPAC allow users to access the library catalogue anywhere and anytime, accommodates sophisticated searching by users (e.g. Boolean searching), allows users to customise display options, provide images of information resources and may even provide links to such items as ‘shopping carts’. In the future, it is likely that OPAC will enable Google-like searching, may present metadata to users in more interesting ways, include relevance ranking, automatically make recommendations to users who borrow particular resources and include automatic dialogue boxes to support end-user’s queries (e.g. ‘did you mean…?’) (Hider, 2012, pp.42-44). To compete with users’ preferences for information searching through sites such as Google, library catalogues such as OPAC may in the future become integrated into the larger online environment. In library catalogues key access points (e.g. author name, subject, etc.) may be controlled by library cataloguers as a way of standardising information (referred to as authority control). 
  •  Periodical databases – are databases offered by commercial indexing services that can complement library catalogues by providing access to more in-depth information resources. Periodical databases such as EBSCOhost are large examples that aggregate records from multiple sources to create a database that contains a large number of centralised records that contain information such as title, subject, author and abstracts as well as often allowing direct online access to the articles.
  •  Federated search systems – a search facility that enables a single access point for users to the numerous library’s databases such as the library catalogue. This enables the users to simultaneously search across all the databases, which is more time-economical than having to individually access a range of different databases. Creating federated search applications that allow the sharing of metadata between information retrieval systems (interoperability) can be complex as different systems may not be compatible in terms of metadata elements or not support the same functions (Hider, 2012, p.47). While standardisation is needed to address this issue, it is somewhat idealistic given the varying purposes of different databases.
  • Search engines – The most well-known search engines, such as Google, are able to provide users with a large number of ‘hits’ for many of their searches by finding matches in content as opposed to metadata. Most search engines retrieve exclusively based on text, although there has been some experimentation with image and sound retrieval systems. They are popular tool for those looking for information resources as they work on a massive scale, are quick, regularly updated, they simple to use and a free service. Problems with search engines such as Google are users being able to find appropriate resources from the plethora provided, quality (e.g. accuracy, authority, appropriateness, etc.), the relevance ordering of ‘hits’ (i.e. some search engines have sponsored links and this may impact the order in which results appear), the lack of standardisation in terms of vocabulary control which can lead to many irrelevant results and the inconsistencies that can exist in terms of results when using different search engines because of the different algorithms they may be based upon. Searches for information in library catalogues, while unlikely to provide the exhaustive list of results as a search engine such as Google, have the advantage in that the information resources available have been carefully selected for quality, appropriateness and authority by information professionals and the systems used to organise and provide users with information about these resources attempt to standardise this information (e.g. vocabulary control).

References 

Hider, P. (2012). Chapter 3, Tools and systems (pp.33-58).Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata.London: Facet

Activity: SCIS

I searched for The Last Tree using a ANYWHERE search. I was provided with 116 results. The 1st option given was in fact the exact book I was looking for by Mark Wilson.

Information included in the record included:

I really enjoyed reading the summary and the Author notes and I liked being able to see the cover of the version of the book that I was familiar with.

Activity: Primo or TROVE

Do a search on Primo or Trove to see the wide range of sources that are brought together by these federated search engines.

TROVE

  • overall layout much busier
  • Several search options – simple to advance (title, keywords, creator etc.)
  • Main fields include
    • Books
    • Digitised newspaper
    • Pictures, photographs, objects
    • Journals, articles and data sets
    • Music, sound and video
    • Diaries letters and archives
    • People and organisations
    • Lists
    • Maps

 PRIMO

  • Several useful search options – simple to advanced
  • Subject reserve is an interesting one I always like to do at the beginning of a study session
  • Main fields include:
    • Books, journals, DVDs & More
    • Articles
    • CSU Research output.
  • Other options include:
    • Limit search
    • Location in the records
    • Filters can be applied

Federated search engines are a tool that has enhanced the ease to which users are able to search and locate information. Instead of having to access resources through numerous databases, the user can save time by entering their queries in one location and allowing the federated system to simultaneously ‘search’ numerous databases based on the query.

Creating federated search applications that allow the sharing of metadata between information retrieval systems (interoperability) can be complex as different systems may not be compatible in terms of metadata elements or not support the same functions (Hider, 2012, p.47). While standardisation is needed to address this issue, it is somewhat idealistic given the varying purposes of different databases.

Having said that, from a users’ perspective, CSU’s Primo and Trove are such valuable tools for locating and accessing information. If there are, as suggested by Hider, issues in allowing users access to different databases through federated systems, it does not seem to be impacting my experience with data-navigation for these sites. I suspect it is most likely the combined efforts of specialised library staff, technical staff and others who both identify and manage any standardisation issues on an ongoing basis so that there are minimal issues for blissfully ignorant end-users such as myself.

Reference:

Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet.

Digital Libraries

What are digital libraries?

Digital libraries have a collection that is focused on digital objects such as text-based, video, audio and multimedia resources. These items are carefully selected, organised and maintained by professionals to facilitate patron awareness of resources and effective access to these resources (Witten, Bainbridge & Nicols, 2010, p.7).

While the World Wide Web certainly contains an enormous wealth of digital resources, the quality of information has not been vetted or organised by information professionals. A digital library is different to the World Wide Web as it is a digital collection that has been specifically selected, organised and maintained by professionals to meet the needs of library users. A digital library, while not restricted by physical space, is not without limits as it can only be effective if it has boundaries in place that clearly enable it to be created and maintained with its purpose clearly part of the design purpose.

In addition to being carefully designed and maintained, to be effective a digital library must also have digital library support software that supports users to browse and locate digital resources within the collection to meet their needs and also enables librarians to provide appropriate organisation structures for the collection and the ability to maintain them (Witten, Bainbridge & Nicols, 2010, p.7).

References

Witten, I., Bainbridge, D., & Nicols, D. (2010). How to build a digital library. Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann

Activity: TROVE image “minds eye” photos, pictures and objects….

Tree of Knowledge – Barcaldine QLD

This search unmoved 6621 images until I selected Australian Content, which narrowed it down to 380 images. Not all of them were relevant…. Images ranges in age from the late 1800’s to current. Images were clearly described and easily accessed. This would be a good tool for teachers looking form Primary Sources in History or Geography units. It was quick and easy to use. I really liked how it told users where the original image could be found.

Information included in the records examined included:

  • Title
  • Photo number
  • Citation address
  • Date take
  • Place
  • Collection
  • Description
  • Notes

Activity: Search for a song and compare the results.

Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

Mp3.com

  • I found the entry I was after a bit of scrolling
  • Some Biographical details given about the band
  • Links to other websites to provide further details – some pop-ups and ads
  • No date to be found…

Spotify

  • Unsuccessful – I was not keen on signing up for this without being able to “play around’ with it first…

Pandora

  • Love the RADIO Station option based on the Artist searched
  • Images of album covers available
  • Free – sign up is optional
  • I did not find locating specific details about my song simple…

Read ‘Library catalogue records’ (pp. 93-98), of Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description. London: Facet.

Sharing metadata – Chapter 6

Why is the standardisation of metadata important?

The consistency of metadata records enables the metadata to be used in different information retrieval systems, which enables it to be shared by a variety of information institutions. This means:

  • Metadata can be created once = time and economic savings
  • Metadata creation can be assigned to those most qualified for the task and then disseminated
  • That if the same metadata is being used, then there is more chance of it being amended or enhanced

The sharing of metadata is made possible not only through standardisation of content, format and vocabulary but also through standardisation of transmission of this information according to standard protocols (Hider, 2012, p.93).

What are library catalogue records and why is a standard format such as MARC needed?

Library catalogue records (metadata of information resources) were originally distributed in the form of library catalogue cards. Today, computerised systems have revolutionised this system by allowing the distribution of electronic records over the Internet. These files are usually have a standardised format,MARC (Machine Readable Cataloguing). “The MARC format not only allows computer systems to import copies of catalogue records from other systems, it also indicates how the data in the records should be indexed and displayed, in other words, how the record should be processed , or ‘read’, by the computer system” (Hider, 2012, p.97).

What are bibliographic networks?

Bibliographic networks involve libraries being linked together through a central database from which individual libraries can access bibliographical records. With the Internet now allowing fast download globally, many bibliographic networks have been consolidated as there need for smaller bibliographic networks to serve particular areas is diminishing.

Becoming a member of a bibliographic network usually requires the payment of fees and agreeing to adhere to format and content standards. This does not mean that libraries cannot edit records downloaded to their local system to suit system and user requirements but that they cannot make changes to the ‘master’ record in the network database. The bibliographic networks often focus on a particular types of libraries in particular geographical regions (e.g. SCIS for NZ and Australian school libraries) and subscribe to major bibliographical record suppliers on behalf of their members.

Why is metadata increasingly being shared and made available to search engines?

Libraries, museums, archives and other such organisations are not just sharing metadata between themselves but are now also sharing this metadata with internet search companies, such as Google, as a means to make their catalogues more accessible and increase the likelihood of their resources being utilised. There is a recognition that many users prefer search engines such as Google for information searching and many organisations are sharing their metadata and resources in an attempt to reflect the current information environment. For example, a university might see this as a way to promote assets such as research publications authored by university staff. Offering metadata for ‘harvesting’ to search engines also supports the ‘open access’ movement which is making scholarly repositories readily available and changing the nature of traditional publishing.

What is interoperability?

To share metadata requires that it can work in different systems or beinteroperable. Interoperability for metadata requires that it is either standardised or converted. Similar organisations may use standardised retrieval systems but with the increase of different information agencies sharing information, many information retrieval systems can work with a mixture of standards and formats. “The conversion, or mapping of metadata can be carried out at the level of format, element or value” (Hider, 2012, p.100), with the most common mapping required for format and element levels. Mapping from one metadata format to another (e.g. MARC records verses Dublin Core) is sometimes calledcrosswalks and can be required to convert the incoming metadata into data that can be processed by the host computer. Mapping metadata standards can be quite complex as different elements cover different attributes or when they do cover the same attributes they do so in different ways. It is rarely a one-to-one exercise. “Metadata standards are still important even when crosswalks are used. If all of the imported data conforms closely to a particular standard, then a crosswalk may work reasonably well. However, if the metadata is not already standardised, then a great deal of manual editing may be required, which may not be practical” (Hider, 2012, pp.100-101).

Quite honestly, it seems very straight forward and common sense to share metadata – why reinvent the wheel every time? Why not share what someone else has done so that it is easier and not to mention consistent.

References

Hider, P. (2012). Chapter 6, Sharing metadata (pp.93-101). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet

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ETL 505 Module 1: The Need for Information Resource Description

Introduction

Quite simply, an information resource is a resource that contains information. It comes in many forms e.g. DVDs, websites, books, maps etc. And in school libraries it also stretches to the world of literature. Therefore information resource description is the way in which all of these resources are described in order to locate them proficiently.

In school libraries, resources are often described and labelled by the Author. It’s quick and easily accessible when you know the author in which you are looking for. However extra information can also be added such as a blurb, publication information, maybe even a subject description. ‘Indeed, the analysis required to create a thorough and accurate description of information resources is a highly skilled activity. Effective resource descriptions, such as catalogue records, are typically the product of very careful thought and much experience. This subject will introduce you to this field of activity, one which is sometimes known as Information Organisation, or Knowledge Organisation. In the library world, it is traditionally called bibliographic organisation, or bibliographic control. In this subject the term bibliographic organisation is used’ (Charles Sturt University, 2015).

Why is it necessary for information agencies such as school libraries to organise information?

Without organisation it would be absolutely impossible to locate anything when you need it. I for one am big on organisation and it would drive me mad if I could not find something I needed easily. So this question to me just seemed to be common sense really.

Organising information, which includes description of that information (metadata), is most effective when contextual factors are considered. To maximise access to school library collections, requires that the “characteristics of the user, the technology, the information resources and other environmental factors” (Hider, 2012, p.8) are taken into consideration when organising information and making decisions about the four aspects of metadata: elements, values, format and transmission. Hider posits that there can be a difference between the user of the metadata itself and the users of the resources represents (2012, p.16). For example the user of the metadata might be a teacher or parent looking for a resources in the collection that might appropriate and used by a student. In any case, understanding those who are using the metadata and their purposes, can lead to creating metadata that is more effective (Hider, 2012, p.16).

FRBR Activity

When locating the text book needed for this course, it was quite straight forward as we were given all the information that was needed. The link originally failed to work for me, so trying to find the website ‘Book Exchange’ was the original task I had in searching for a specific information resource. Once found, I used FRBR in the following way:

Find: For this, the attribute I used was the ISBN number as I knew this was the most precise way to find the text I needed.

Identify: I then needed to identify that this was in fact the correct text and to do this, I specifically looked at the title of the text and the author.

Select: Once I had realised that this text had all the attributes that made it my specific text (title, author, date etc) I selected it and added it to “my cart”.

Obtain: My last step was to purchase the item which I did via digitally and using a credit card. Within four days the book was then delivered to my doorstep.

Chapter 1 & 2 Notes of Hider Text

What is an information resource?

An information resource is a term that encompasses all those resources that contain/represent data, information, knowledge and/or wisdom.

What is information resource description (metadata)?

Information resource description is essentially providing information about different aspects of the resource, otherwise known as ‘data elements’. Data elements may relate to the nature of the information itself (content – e.g. subject, language etc.) and/or to the carrier or container of this information of this information (e.g. size, format, labelling information such as statements appearing on the title page, etc.) (Hider, 2012, p.4).

Information resource description or data about data is often referred to as ‘metadata’ and is “commonly defined as ‘structured’ data (about data)” (Hider, 2012, p5).

Why is metadata important?

Essentially, metadata is important as it can support effective access to information. This information may support the user to gain an understanding of things such as:

  • What resources exist
  • Deciding whether or not to obtain an item
  • How to obtain a resource

While metadata may be useful for providing information about a single resource, it can also be useful for providing “an overview of a collection of resources by grouping like resources together (otherwise known as collocation), allowing users to navigate it” (Hider, 2012, p.7).

Who writes resource descriptions?

Descriptions of information resources are written by a variety of people, with various agendas and reasons for doing so (e.g. a librarian might wish to improve their patron’s knowledge while publishers may be focused on sales) and this will have an impact on the nature of the description (Hider, 2012, p.3)

What is relevance criteria?

Relevance criteria are the attributes or characteristics used to select resources. These might include:

·         Aboutness·         Accuracy (truth)·         Aesthetic value

·         Authorship

·         Credibility

·         Difficulty

·         Diversity of content

·         Importance

·         Informativeness

·         Interesting content

·         Level of condensation

·         Logical relevance·         Novelty·         Pertinence

·         Publication source

·         Recency

·         Scientific ‘hardness’

·         Specificity/amount of information

·         Style

·         Subject matter

·         Textual attributes

·         Usefulness” (Hider, 2012, pp.27-28)

Who Organises Information?

‘Library catalogues, or OPACs (online public access catalogues), continue to be a key part of the information access provided within school libraries. While the catalogue records themselves are generally drawn from a central supplier, there can be times when the teacher librarian may need to create catalogue records. While cataloguers are creating catalogue records for a greatly increased range of materials, including online resources, metadata specialists are also creating metadata for online resources, particularly those contained in the increasing number of large educational databases created for schools, to provide tailored access to those resources’ (Charles Sturt University, 2015).

If teacher librarians don’t normally create metadata, such as catalogue records, why do you need to have an understanding of information resource description?

Teacher librarians need to know more than how to download such records into a catalogue. An understanding of the principles of information resource description will enable you to appreciate the importance of this area to the provision of access to resources, assist you to gain the understanding needed to assess the effective of the access being provided within a school library through the catalogue and educational databases, and how that access might be best utilised and possibly enhanced.

It is the teacher librarian who not only sets in place the processes that ensure that needed records are obtained and downloaded, but also:

  • ensures that these records are correctly integrated into the catalogue;
  • enhances these records, and access to them, through the intelligent use of other available products and services plus features within the library information system;
  • considers the need for and makes local additions and changes to records to meet particular local needs, where warranted;
  • possibly creating records for resources when a record is not available;
  • provides feedback and input to the cataloguing agency to assist them in creating the most suitable records for our users needs;
  • teaches users how to effectively use the catalogue and sets strategies in place to overcome difficulties they encounter; and
  • maintains the accuracy and integrity of authority files.

The teacher librarian’s input can determine if the catalogue is used and appreciated as an effective and friendly tool for locating needed resources; or if the most noticeable feature about the catalogue is the number of users who bypass it.

Hider puts it simply when he states that in order for information professionals to improve access to information resources requires “first-hand knowledge of the domain in which they work” (2012, p.62).

Resources

Charles Sturt University (CSU). (2015). Module 1: Introduction. ETL505.

Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet.