The process of creating a digital collection—along with selection and curation, digitization, interface design, and database design—includes setting guidelines for metadata creation. Chapter 10 in Metadata for Digital Collections by Steven J. Miller offers a guide to creating metadata application specifications.
Analyze context and content.
Decide on functional requirements.
This initial step is referred to as the “triad of context, content, and users” in information architecture.
Consider the context of the institution or organization the digital collection resides in. What are the priorities and needs? Also take into account the broader context of areas of study or communities.
Consider the content of the digital resources. What is the focus? Is it the subject matter or the artist?
Identify the potential users of the digital collection. The purpose of creating a digital collection is to provide these resources to users. What are user needs and information seeking behavior? What are the attributes of the digital objects users will need for locating and identifying?
Functional requirements define what functions the interface and database will need to perform for resource retrieval. How will users search and browse the digital collection to find what they need? These functions are key to developing a metadata element set.
Select the element set.
The element set, the left side fields, can be made up of an established element set such as Dublin Core, can be a local homegrown element set, or a combination. The element set needs to enable functionality of the collection.
Considerations in determining the element set:
- which elements, subelements, qualifiers, attributes to use
- which elements are required, recommended, optional
- which elements are repeatable
- specifications for controlled vocabularies and encoding schemes
- content guidelines for element values
- ability to add local elements
- local system software scheme support
- base metadata element set of institution
- issues of interoperability and reuse
- local needs
- future viability
Establish metadata element specifications including:
- Required, optional, and recommended
- Data value specification with controlled vocabularies, encoding schemes
- Size of field designation
- Searchability or hyperlinking
- Visibility on user interface
Establish controlled vocabularies such as AAT, ULAN, LCTGM and encoding schemes.
Develop Content Guidelines such as Cataloging Cultural Objects (CCO).
Document the Scheme
Documenting the guidelines is important because it keeps a record of practices and decisions for the metadata schema, serves as a set of guidelines for metadata creators, and may be useful to other institutions.
This post is a rough outline of the process described in the text book. The numbered steps are my addition. This helped me think through in greater detail how we will create our indexing guidelines and what to consider when deciding on the elements.