Some years ago, scholars were debating the definition of collection. In an archival sense, and the more traditional sense, a collection refers to a direct or accumulating set of resources. In a library sense a collection may wax and wane depending on the Curation of the collection. So what is a digital collection? Especially in an aggregator of metadata?
To this question I have given some thought. The DCMIType “collection” is ambiguous on this point. Aggregations seem not to be the same as “collection” in that they are continuously updating, and may be different for different viewers! However, essentially this is the same definition that is used in libraries.
After about a year and a half of thinking about this traveling point how to do it I think I have a solution. Aggregations such as those through OAI or RSS, are not collections at all. Rather, aggregations are a view through a dynamic access point. RDA and IFLA – LRM are two models that use the concept of access points. Aggregations, in this sense of access point, our temporary applications of an access point to a resource. In RDA and IFLA – LRM these access points are hard coded on the record. This need not be the case all the time in an information retrieval system. Information retrial system can have there own coded access points independent of the data they are operation on. In this way the information retrieval system might mitigate the possible limits in the information structure of the information being retrieved. It validates the autonomy of the information retrieval system from the information.
This sort of solution preserves the definition of collection bringing sanity to the concept of collection.