23:3 (2008:09) 23rd Conference (2008): Preconference: Metadata in a Digital Age: New Models of Creation, Discovery and Use

August 18, 2008 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Preconferences | Leave a comment


Metadata in a Digital Age: New Models of Creation, Discovery, and Use
Todd Carpenter, NISO; Renee Register, OCLC; Kevin Cohn, Atypon; Steven C. Shadle, University of Washington; Regina Reynolds, US ISSN Center; Les Hawkins, Library of Congress; Helen Henderson, Ringgold; Sri Rajan, Swets
Reported by Valerie Bross

… And the verdict is: a clear win for NASIG. While six hours are far too short to cover the topic of metadata standards completely, this preconference delivered the kind of punch and substance that keeps us coming back to NASIG annual conferences.

First to the podium was Todd Carpenter. He set the scene for the other presenters with a brief history of NISO, beginning with Z39.1.

Second on the roster was Renee Register, who introduced attendees to the “Next Generation” Cataloging Service that OCLC is developing. The service takes ONIX metadata supplied by publishers, mines OCLC for related records and builds a hybrid MARC record that includes ONIX data and cataloger data. For libraries, the benefit is richer, more complete records; for publishers, increased sales through more accurate metadata.

Kevin Cohn presented the perspective of a publishing platform supplier, Atypon. Atypon receives feeds from publishers and transforms the data to formats needed by consumers—including booksellers, Crossref, libraries, and end users. Kevin described a trend from proprietary formats to the NLM DTD (National Library of Medicine XML document type definition). One of Kevin Cohn’s contributions to the preconference was the term “path dependence,” of which continuing use of the QWERTY keyboard is one example.

Following Kevin’s intriguing peek into the life of a platform, Steve Shadle presented a reprise of a session he had given at the UK Serials Group to publishers: “Library Cataloging Metadata, Basics for Publishers.” He introduced publishers to the environment through which libraries provide access to publishers’ materials (A-Z lists, OpenURL resolvers, library catalogs, syndication through Google); to essential serials metadata (title, ISSN) and to service problems (major changes of the citation title with no change of ISSN).

Regina Reynolds’s presentation on the ISSN was a natural follow-up to the discussion begun by Steve Shadle. Regina discussed the history of the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN); approval of SSN-2006; and implementation of the recently-approved ISSN-L, or linking ISSN. The ISSN organization is in the process of reviewing all records in the ISSN portal to retrospectively assign medium-neutral ISSNs called linking ISSNs or ISSN-Ls. These ISSN-Ls can be used to cluster serial content across variant carriers (e.g., online v. print). A few of the potential benefits of ISSN-Ls include: use in ONIX for Serials; assistance to programmers developing FRBR-ized displays; improved retrieval in OpenURL link resolvers.

Having heard about a specific data element in a serial bibliographic record, attention turned to changes overall in library descriptive metadata for serials. Les Hawkins, the CONSER coordinator, described the development process leading to the one-year-old CONSER Standard Record (CSR). A year after implementation, the CSR Monitor Task Group has reported generally positive reception to the CSR.

Of course, the world of metadata standards is much broader than descriptive metadata for serial bibliographic records. The day ended with two thought-provoking new initiatives. First, Helen Henderson described the brand-new NISO Working Group on Institutional Identifiers. The working group will be appointed by June 10, 2008; and hopes to complete a working draft by March/October 2009.

Finally, speaking for William Hoffman, Sri Rajan discussed interoperability, with a specific focus on ONIX-PL (ONIX-for publications licenses). This draft standard defines core data elements for licensing such as purchase order number, price, and fund code. Rajan concluded that though implementation of standards can be difficult, and may require organizational change, standards-based tools can be powerful.


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