Unlike the majority of the content on the Digitizers’ blog, this post does not involve pretty pictures or interesting nuggets of historical information.  Instead, it will cover a very different aspect of the work performed in the Digital Initiatives unit: Metadata.  To be more specific, descriptive metadata; less glamorous perhaps than the maps and images we typically share in this forum, but without a significant amount of behind-the-scenes metadata work, searching for a particular image in our digital collections would be akin to looking for a needle in an enormous pile of very-similar needles.  While the following procedures will  probably be most interesting to our colleagues in libraries, archives, and other information science disciplines who deal with these kinds of issues on a daily basis, we hope also to shed some light for the average user on both how and why we spend a significant amount of our time developing and implementing useful metadata for our collections.

BC Bibliography Metadata Overview

The BC Bibliography collection is inspired by (and based closely on) a three volume printed bibliography of the same name.  In a sense, these volumes contain only metadata.  That is, the title, author, and descriptive data included in the printed bibliography serves as a guide for locating the texts and documents that it refers to.  

The original print bibliographies.

In much the same way, the metadata we create provides a means for users to locate the digital documents in our collections.  The metadata schema for the BC Bibliography digital collection is designed specifically to supplement full text searches with results for related terms and to provide a faceted browsing experience in which users can select terms from several categorical lists to narrow down their results.

Preparing the metadata from the printed bibliography for use in an online environment is typically accomplished with what is known in information-professional circles as a “crosswalk,” which matches metadata fields from one  ”standard” schema to another.  While the name calls to mind a nice clear path, in the real world things are almost never that simple.  Fields from one schema seldom all match up 1:1 with the fields in the desired schema meaning that somehow data will either need to be split from a single field into multiple fields or visa versa. In practice this is akin to fitting a square peg in a round hole.

The final metadata for the BC Bibliography digital collection involved crosswalking three (or more) separate metadata sources into one.  Because we wanted to provide the most complete metadata possible we decided to include not only the data from the original print bibliographies (which are missing subject data crucial to the desired faceted browsing experience), but also data from the contributing institution’s library catalogue record and the most complete record available through WorldCat (an industry-standard catalogue record aggregator).  As one might imagine, this presented a host of issues including both the basic logistics of how to collect and combine all this data, and how to handle the numerous duplicates and inconsistencies inherent to mashing together so many disparate sets of data.  Furthermore, the Library of Congress subject headings we were able to collect through this method proved unsuitable for the type of faceted browsing planned for the BC Bibliography collection, and needed to be split into constituent phrases (rather than the familiar dash – separated – format).  Ultimately we were able to combine these records, split and reformat the subject fields, normalize the data, and remove all duplicates to end up with a properly formatted tab-seperated text file for batch uploading into our CONTENTdm based collection. If you’d like to know more about how it was all done, read on…

GalleryshowposterEach year, the UBC Photo Society, one of the largest student AMS clubs at UBC organizes an art exhibition featuring photos taken by members. “Click” is an exhibition hosted by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, featuring the photography of students. The purpose and mission of the UBC Photo Society is to develop the photographer while offering the training and facilities of UBC. The society strives to give photography enthusiasts a place to meet, talk, and share ideas about photography while offering facilities and mentoring that assists students in taking their photography to the next level.

From March 1st to March 31st, photos taken by members of the UBC Photo Society will be available for viewing in the IKBLC foyer display cases and in Ike’s Café.

LAW LIBRARY level 3: E99.C88 C38 2013
Nellie Carlson & Kathleen Steinhauer, Disinherited Generations: Our Struggle to Reclaim Treaty Rights for First Nations Women and their Descendants (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2013).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: K230.F682 R47 2013
Ben Golder, ed., Re-reading Foucault: On Law, Power and Rights (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013).
Online access: http://resolve.library.ubc.ca/cgi-bin/catsearch?bid=6416335

LAW LIBRARY level 3: K3611.G46 B53 2013
Amel Alghrani, Rebecca Bennett &Suzanne Ost, eds., Bioethics, Medicine and the Criminal Law: The Criminal Law and Bioethical, Volume 1: Walking the Tightrope (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KD632.H45 H45 2012
Hilary Heilbron, Rose Heilbron: The Story of England’s First Woman Queen’s Counsel and Judge (Oxford: Hart, 2012).

LAW LIBRARY level 3: KD7992 .U47 2012
Jane Ulph & Ian Smith, The Illicit Trade in Art and Antiquities: International Recovery and Criminal and Civil Liability (Oxford: Hart, 2012).

LAW LIBRARY reference room (level 2): KE3206 .M48 2012
Morton Mitchnick & Brian Etherington, Labour Arbitration in Canada (Toronto: Lancaster House, 2012).

schoolFrom News 1130:

“This year’s report card is out, and once again, private and independent institutions dominate the Fraser Institute’s ranking of BC’s elementary schools.

The right-wing policy group puts out the list every year. It is pored over by parents, but should you make a decision based solely on these rankings? That’s where the jury is out.”

Click here to read the full article

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