Promoting Shareable Metadata
This issue has become more prominent recently due to a rapid uptake of the CONTENTdm "Quickstart" version, which is included with a FirstSearch Base Package subscription. OCLC's adoption of the OAIster database, which contains a variety of metadata formats including DC, also encouraged us to think about ways to publish best practices for representing collections in DC.
Since August 2009, the CONTENTdm Metadata Working Group, facilitated by OCLC but comprising an open membership of CONTENTdm users, have been developing a formal best practices document. The latest current version, "'Best Practices' for CONTENTdm users creating shareable metadata: Draft 1.8" can be found at http://www.contentdm.org/USC/BestPracticesGuide.pdf. The Guide is authored by Geri Ingram of OCLC Digital Collection Services, Myung-Ja "MJ" Han of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Sheila Bair of Western Michigan University. They have received crucial support from Jason Lee, OCLC Fellow, and the members of the Metadata Working Group.
Not content to rest, the Metadata Working Group is acting on a variety of fronts to extend the utility of their guidelines. They have been testing their schemas in the Digital Collections Gateway, a new self-mapping tool. They are also extending the Guide with addenda regarding compound objects in CONTENTdm, crosswalking, and consortial metadata harvesting. In all of their work, they are keeping in mind the important balance between representing collections in ways that are usable for both local users and the global community.