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ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee -- Midwinter Minutes

Metadata Standards Committee


Committee attendance: Denise Bennett, Kevin Clair (notes), Janet Lee-Smeltzer, Jon Solomon, Jenn Riley (co-chair), Eva Bolkovac (co-chair), Bonnie Parks, Erik Mitchell


1. Minutes for three meetings were reviewed and approved: the ALA Annual meeting, and those from the committee's two conference calls from August 2013 and January 2014.


2. Planning for program about schema.org at ALA Annual. The committee developed a list of people to ask about speaking at the committee's program, including Jason Ronallo at NCSU, Dan Scott and/or Richard Wallis from the schema.org bibliographic extensions group, and librarians at Stanford who are or may be using schema.org at their institution (such as Greg Miller in the business library). Bonnie also noted that Regina Reynolds talked about schema.org initiatives at the CONSER meeting this morning, and is another possibility. Duke is also active in this area, and Will Sexton's name was mentioned as another possibility.


ALCTS Program Committee has a 5 Febr. deadline for submitting changes to programs, so it would be good to get a finalized (or nearly-finalized depending on funding considerations) list of speakers by then. We have also already finalized a program description which will appear in ALA Connect when the scheduler for Annual is up.


3. Issues arising from the BIBFRAME forum at Midwinter that the committee might be able to tackle. Jenn mentioned a discussion she had about getting technical folks involved in developing BIBFRAME vocabularies and getting those voices heard alongside those of the cataloging community that they're focusing more on. Is there a role that MSC could play to engage both sides in metadata initiatives?


CaMMS CE committee representative wants to work in conjunction with us to develop a non-LC-driven wide view of how BIBFRAME fits into what we're trying to do and what some of the underlying concepts are. their forums and sessions are still largely driven by what LC brings to the table, and there's interest in bringing different viewpoints to the table. Some ideas: trying to put together a "background conversation" to communicate better what the underpinnings of BIBFRAME are.


Another possibility would be to engage the LITA metadata interest group, who are also working on similar issues.


CaMMS CE is very interested in getting more librarians to engage more actively with the BIBFRAME development effort, so that they're conversant in the ideas that are driving it and are able to transform their MARC data and MARC-based cataloging processes to any new environment that might develop. no FUD, no heavily technical talk, trying to ground it in what BIBFRAME in production might actually look like. LC's forums are starting to look like that--Eric Miller presented the BIBFRAME editor at today's--but the idea behind this collaboration would be to get non-LC voices in the conversation. in addition to ALA Forums, another idea would be to devote an issue of ISQ to publishing some use cases and articles in this area


Many visitors to the meeting expressed a need to improve the conversations between BIBFRAME developers and working catalogers. "Translating BIBFRAME: how its foundations can be mutually intelligible to catalogers and coders"


finding points of weakness in the BIBFRAME model based on real library use cases where BIBFRAME misses the mark, and hopefully finding solutions based on engaging as many different user communities as possible.


Making this work: identifying potential speakers, use cases, perspectives. the goal is to help people understand how and why BIBFRAME is built the way it is, how it reflects the past and prepares us for the future. giving people "some warm blankets," something to grab onto so they have a better, less abstract understanding of how BIBFRAME operates. Janet agreed to be the MSC representative to this planning effort. Next step is to take this program idea to the CaMMS Forum for approval.


Any other ideas from other sessions?

Diane Hillman's talk at MIG this morning on automated metadata creation/cleanup processes and provenance metadata; possible groups to follow there within ALA and the W3C and other groups ALISE Data Curation group


4. Statement on PCC report on internal MARC field punctuation. We decided to issue a joint statement with PCC about internal MARC field punctuation, which PCC argued was worded too strongly for what they wanted to do. (more about this in the 1/17/2014 minutes). Jenn forwarded our statement on this (that we're not changing the wording) to the PCC for review, and they indicated that they would be in touch about this, but haven't heard anything more yet.


5. Planning for community-curated metadata news/awareness site. Jenn's to-dos from the last call had to do with understanding more about how the dh+lib service works, which is serving as our model for how we want to construct this site. Zach Coble helps coordinate some of dh+lib's work and indicated that ALA hosts their content, and they do no marketing other than syndicating a Twitter feed that cross-posts new content they post. their views per post vary depending on topic (sometimes 100, sometimes 1000), but averages 200-300.


the way dh+lib works is that they engage volunteer editors who are engaged in the digital humanities community, who spend a week curating content and commentary for the site. CaMMS CE indicated that there would be volunteering interest from their group.


using the site as a companion piece to the BIBFRAME forum w/ CaMMS we discussed earlier.


possible categories? time periods that we want to focus on a single topic? dh+lib's categories are Posts, Resources, Jobs, CFPs. we could focus less on some of those things (e.g. jobs) and more on curated presentations of interest, events (particularly those outside librarianship)


need for volunteers to set up the technical side, find volunteer editors, plan content (dh+lib has an editors' guide that they send to editors), etc. would like to start on this as quickly as we can.


Erik volunteered to write up a draft scope/content statement Kevin volunteered to look into the technical side of setting this up Bonnie volunteered to work on design of the site Jenn will ask about hosting options Eva will set up the next committee conference call, where we'll talk about this (some time in February)


6. Discussion of further projects that we should undertake Request from CaMMS CE committee for this committee to provide ideas for their group, as it's undergoing re-charging. they need ideas by March. looking for a very active charge for the group: monitor that, do this, etc. definitely an area for collaboration as "education" isn't one of the items listed in the MSC charge.


"unclaimed competencies"-- project management, brokering. also balancing complex cataloging rules and standards, now and in the future (RDA, BIBFRAME, whatever else).


infographics that might frame and explain some of the issues we're concerned with, like relationships between organizations, relationships between standards and markup languages expressing those standards, explaining the differences between descriptive frameworks and serializations of descriptive frameworks, etc. something like the DCAM, but more modernized (and less abstract...) something with a high-level view which also contains a lot of depth. the IU infographic of metadata standards from a while back is a good example.


guiding principles of the committee's work. we don't need a committee to e.g. determine that BIBFRAME is a good idea which should be adopted, but we can serve as a guidance for standards and best practices. are we the committee that serves as an independent arbiter of which vocabularies should be used? are we in a position to do that? we shouldn't try to be authoritative, but we can serve as a resource for the metadata standards and vocabularies that are out there and guide libraries to the ones that are best suited to their needs.


OLAC as an example: because they deal with a specific use case (audiovisual cataloging) that is a little more advanced, they run into weird problems that LC might not necessarily encounter as they develop standards. they've developed a role as developers of best practices and guidance based on a track record of work doing that over time, which is something this group could also do as it moves forward.


guiding principles: "you should pay attention to this standard because..." "the metadata landscape in libraries should look like this because..." being proactive in making statements about the evolution and emergence of standards.