Supporting Discovery open metadata principles

What we have achieved so far:

SUNCAT received funding from the JISC Discovery Programme Phase 1, from February 1st to July 31st 2011,  to explore what might be done to extend access to the metadata from the contributing libraries already aggregated by EDINA for the SUNCAT service. This included:

  • establishing use cases
  • exploring metadata licensing issues
  • determining what metadata to make available
  • mechanisms for providing access to the metadata

Much was achieved during the 6 month project to extend access to the catalogue, including holdings’ information. The diagrams below describes the data in the scope of the project.

There was agreement from three libraries to use some of their data for open access during the short lifetime of the project. These were: the British Library, the National Library of Scotland and the Society of Antiquaries.

In the process of working on representing data aggregated by SUNCAT from various libraries across the UK in RDF, we found that existing vocabularies for describing bibliographic data are generally missing constructs for dealing with holding statements. As SUNCAT primarily contains information relating to holdings of journals in the contributing libraries, the primary value of this information is clearly in the holding statements. Since we have chosen a relatively flat model of catalogue records, as is natural in the MARC21 source data and is appropriate with the Bibliographic Ontology, there is no obvious way to express this information which might normally go at the Item level were we to use a more elabrate model like FRBR-RDF.

More on how we defined a Library’s holdings can be found here.

What we are going to do:

We are taking forward some of these in this project to further enhance the SUNCAT service:

  • Continue to increase the number of Contributing Libraries involved in the SUNCAT open metadata initiative
  • Implement a filtering mechanism to cater for different data being included in a particular format
  • Where the Contributing Libraries give agreement for release, implement an ‘on the fly’ filtering mechanism for their data
  • Explore provision of other record formats to support use within other applications (e.g. MODS, a simple DC) where use cases were identified
  • Explore further the status of RDF triples (regarding Copyright and database rights) that have derived from data that were part of a database provided by a third party.

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