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Weekly update (3)

Another week has flown by (more than one in fact).  We’ve been doing a lot of background work on our technical set-up and workflows recently so this blog has been slightly neglected.

One of the fundamental issues we need to resolve is the use of facets in CONTENTdm.  CONTENTdm provides the functionality to have five facets which are fields that will be cross-searchable across all collections.  They are used as limits for narrowing down search results.  We are proposing the following five:

 Collection        – e.g. Media Archive of Central England (MACE)

 Type                    –  e.g. Audio; Still Image; Video; Document; etc

 Subject               – e.g. Ghost signs

 Date                     – e.g. 1936

 Location            – e.g. United Kingdom – England – Leicestershire – Leicester

 There are several factors to consider with these fields.  A key consideration is that all of the data entered should be in the same format across all collections.  Additionally work needs to be done so that items about similar subjects from each existing collection can be searched for and found with a single search.  Therefore we need to develop a single controlled vocabulary from those already being used.  This concern also applies to the location field.

Consider each facet in turn:

Collection will be a new field added to all items within MLDA and can be controlled internally (it is simply a list of all the collection names).

Type will be a new field which we will add to records whether or not they already have a similar description.  The field will indicate the type of file attached to the record and will again be drawn from a standard list.  However we feel that the DCMI Type Vocabulary is too wide reaching to be used for this purpose as we really want to make the facets work for browsing and discovery of items in the collection.  Hence we are proposing a home grown list.

Subject will be an amalgamation of already existing data in metadata fields.  For example EMOHA have an in-house controlled vocabulary, MACE uses the UNESCO thesaurus and Special Collections use LCSH.  The easiest solution would seem to be to use a controlled vocabulary as a basis for classifying new items, and to map the EMOHA & MACE collections to this list of preferred terms.  We have decided to map to LCSH.  This is the obvious choice particularly as the records will eventually be included in Worldcat.

Date should be recorded in the same format in all collections.  What this date means is also critical in defining how the facet will be used.  Logically this date should be the year of creation or recording.  For example if we have a digital video of VE day celebrations the date should be 1945, not 2003 when the film was digitised.

Location is a subject field specifically for describing the relevance of the item to certain places.  We will use the following notation style and the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN) which is available within CONTENTdm. 

United Kingdom – England – Leicestershire or,

United Kingdom – England – Leicestershire – Leicester – Beaconsfield Road

We plan to convert any existing place information to this format.

So after that whistle stop tour of facets we should probably discuss file types but I think that will have to wait for another post!

Finally it’s worth noting that we now have a project e-mail address: mlda@le.ac.uk which can be used for contacting the project team.