Defines the facets of DLESE metadata and collection building.
Metadata definition and purpose
Semantically, DLESE metadata is information (e.g. title, description, audience, geospatial coverage, keywords, etc.) about resources (e.g. classroom activities, curriculum, virtual field trips, websites, services, annotations, collections, images, news and opportunities, etc. ) that is used to promote searching, browsing and use of such resources by the Earth system science community. Technically, DLESE metadata is kept in the form of structured digital records in the eXentisible Markup Language (XML). It is these metadata records that DLESE holds, not the resources themselves.
As such, DLESE metadata encompasses the following facets:
As mentioned above, DLESE provides access to a broad spectrum of resources. These resources range from learning resources, like classroom activities and curriculum, to news and opportunities to annotations and information about different collections and services. To fully describe these different resources, different metadata frameworks, ADN, DLESE collection, annotation, news and opportunities, have evolved to support the unique characteristics of the resources being described. These frameworks are summarized below.
Periodically, DLESE metadata frameworks undergo changes because of policy, vocabulary or cataloging best practice changes. These updates are done using XML's XSLT language and/or a scripting language like Python. Metadata maintenance happens on a fairly regular basis, about every 6-8 weeks. The challenge is to tweak all records (either created at DLESE or by other collections), catalog systems and discovery mechanisms appropriately if they are affected by any of the changes. Metadata maintenance causes interruptions in services like cataloging and discovery as all metadata records generally need a tweak.
DLESE metadata frameworks are really only usable if documentation has been provided or the essence of the framework is wrapped in a tool (e.g. cataloging tool). So framework development requires continual updates of framework documentation that include:
3a: Cataloging best practices
Best practices indicates how different metadata fields should be completed and with what data. For example, a cataloging best practice for completing the title field is: "Use the title displayed on screen to the user, not the title in a browser's title bar."
3b: Controlled vocabularies
Controlled vocabularies are word or phrase descriptors that are used as the only acceptable data to complete certain metadata fields. Controlled vocabularies aid resource discovery by providing coherent and consistent search mechanisms (words).
If resources are to be discoverable by a certain vocabulary, there first must be metadata records with the vocabulary which means the vocabulary must be in a cataloging tool which means the vocabulary must be in the appropriate DLESE metadata framework. All this takes time. For comparison, the timeline and process for putting the geography and science content standards into the item-level metadata framework about 2 years as described below:
3c: Framework informaion
In order to make the DLESE metadata frameworks usable, the following documentation is provided for each field (e.g. title or description) in a framework:
Unfornately, There is some documentation for the news and opps metadata framework, but none for the ADN item-level, collection or annotation metadata frameworks.
As mentioned above, collections management means working with collections developers to get their metadata records into DLESE and other digital libraries. As such, collections management functions can be divided into two spheres: managing incoming collections to the DPC and managing outgoing collections from the DPC.
4a: Managing incoming collections to the DPC
To support incoming collections, help is provided to assist collection builders in getting their item-level metadata records into a metadata format usable to the DPC. Each incoming collection must meet the requirements of the DLESE Interim Collections Accession Policy. Besides a usable metadata record format, this entails, creating a collection-level metadata record, using a metadata harvesting protocol such as OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative-Protocol for Metadata Harvesting), and providing a collection scope statement detailing the collection description, item selection, quality control, contacts and persistence.
While the above paragraph describes managing a single collection, managing several collections at once involves a few more activities like:
All items in incoming collections will immediately be part of the DLESE Broad collection. Collection builders may choose to have certain items or their entire collection become part of the DLESE Reviewed Collection, if the appropriate requirements are met.
4b: Managing outgoing collections from the DPC
To support outgoing collections, item-level and collection-level metadata records are transformed into appropriate formats for other digital libraries. This first means creating a semantic mapping (requires intellectual knowledge of the framework being mapped from and to). Then an XSLT and/or programmatic solution can be written to change metadata formats. It is expected that all incoming collections can be (unless the collection builder indicates otherwise) outgoing collections.
The DLESE metadata group is involved in several user support activities, from cataloging to collection support. A brief summary of these activities is as follows:
Last updated: 7-11-03