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Vermont Catalogers Visit the CDI

Published: June 02, 2010 by Birdie MacLennan

Vermont Catalogers Roundtable Spring Meeting, May 20, 2010:
Focus on Center for Digital Initiatives Collections and Metadata Applications

More than thirty library colleagues from around the state of Vermont gathered in the Bailey/Howe Library on Thursday, May 20, 2010 to attend the spring meeting of the Vermont Catalogers’ Roundtable, which featured four presentations from CDI colleagues and collaborators, highlighting the UVM Libraries Center for Digital Initiatives collections and the metadata applications used to support them.

Robin Katz, CDI Outreach Librarian, opened the meeting with an overview of CDI, its mission to make unique digital collections available to researchers at UVM and beyond, its goal to serve an engaged and participative user community, its selection processes and collection development policy, and digitization methodologies and standards. Robin demonstrated CDI’s website and gave a synopsis of the collections, including the Maple Research Collection photographs and Agricultural Extension Bulletins, the Long Trail photographs, the Fletcher Family Letters, Vermont Hay Harvesting videos, and the Louis L. McAllister photographs of Burlington. Robin also discussed outreach strategies for raising awareness of CDI activities and collections, and promoting their use. She pointed the audience to a recent broadcast of “Live at 5:25” on CCTV – Burlington, which features Robin, Mary Van Buren-Swasey and Dan DeSanto discussing CDI’s Local History Resources Online.

Sibyl Schaefer, CDI Metadata Librarian, presented an overview of Metadata Applications in the description and presentation of digital collections in CDI and beyond, including METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard), MODS (Metadata Object Description Standard), MADS (Metadata Authority Description Standard), Dublin Core standards, and TEI (Text Encoding Initiative), which are all in use in CDI. Sibyl also discussed techniques for cross-walking and linking metadata between systems, for example by linking geographical locations in the Long Trail collection of photographs to mapping coordinates in Google – so that users of the Long Trail photographs can pinpoint exact (or near-exact!) locations on related maps. VCRT participants thought that was really cool! Sibyl also discussed how CDI has done some “repurposing” of MARC records into MODS metadata for the description of fulltext digitized versions of the Maple Research Collection’s Technical Reports. Sibyl demonstrated the robust versatility of metadata applications in CDI, and also in general, and how they related to the semantic web.

Mary VanBuren-Swasey, a member of the Resource Description and Analysis’ Cataloging Group, is collaborating closely with CDI and Special Collections to apply descriptive and subject-based metadata to the Louis L. McAllister Collection of digital photographs of Burlington (c. 1920-1960). Mary discussed the research tools that she uses in Special Collections, and the contacts she has made in the Burlington community, to identify people, places and events in the photographs, and to promote the CDI collections in the community.

Wichada Sukantarat, Cataloging/Authorities/Metadata Librarian presented an overview her role in performing Authority work to add controlled name, geographic, and subject headings for CDI collections. Wichada creates MADS XML (Metadata Authority Description Schema) authority records that are compatible with the CDI database for unique Vermont headings or – where headings are already present in OCLC authority files – she downloads a MARC heading and converts it to MADS records that are compatible with CDI collections. Wichada provided an overview of MARCEdit and the Oxygen XML Editor, editing tools that she uses to complete her work in contributing controlled headings and associated cross-references for consistent vocabulary in the CDI indexes.

The meeting concluded with a tour of CDI offices and equipment.

Photograph: VCRT participants in CDI scanning room, with book scanner.
From left to right: Helen Linda (Godard), Leslie Rowell, Kate Schlueter (Vermont State Colleges), Lorraine Lanius (Vermont Dept. of Libraries), Arabella Holpatzfel (Middlebury College), Michael Warner (Middlebury College).

CDI Librarian Publishes Article on Open Source Archival Software

Published: March 22, 2010 by Robin M. Katz

Today, the peer-reviewed journal Code4Lib publishes an article by Digital Initiatives Metadata Librarian Sibyl Schaefer. The article, entitled "Challenges in Sustainable Open Source: A Case Study," discusses Schaefer's work on The Archivist's Toolkit.

Article abstract:

The Archivists’ Toolkit is a successful open source software package for archivists, originally developed with grant funding. The author, who formerly worked on the project at a participating institution, examines some of the challenges in making an open source project self-sustaining past grant funding. A consulting group hired by the project recommended that — like many successful open source projects — they rely on a collaborative volunteer community of users and developers. However, the project has had limited success fostering such a community. The author offers specific recommendations for the project going forward to gain market share and develop a collaborative user and development community, with more open governance.

Librarians Present the CDI to New England Archivists

Published: March 21, 2010 by Robin M. Katz

The Spring 2010 Meeting of the New England Archivists was held this past Saturday at UMass Amherst. The conference theme was "The Open Archives: From Doors to Data."

CDI librarians Sibyl Schaefer and Robin Katz co-presented a poster session describing the CDI's curation of digital collections. View the poster.

Professor Schaefer also chaired a session entitled "Repurposing Metadata" which featured Mike Rush (Yale Beinecke Library), Anne Sauer (Tufts University), and Mark Mentienzo (Yale Manuscripts and Archives).