This week we had a lecture on metadata interoperability. Interoperability is a major theme of Gary Simons work on OLAC. It was the keyword or concept that he used to push the social behavior requirements related to the activities around, in, and at language archives.
I think that across the history of OLAC there have been various understandings on the kinds of metadata needed to describe language resources. That is, discovery is the architectural goal of OLAC, but other requirements also exist. In the beginning of OLAC many of the participants were looking at OLAC for a complete solution to the kinds of metadata they should be collecting and using. The other requirements upon resource stewards have always meant additional fields in diverse institutional contexts. The freedom to explore these other requirements has not always been explored or embraced by stewards. Some have seen OLAC as an all or nothing involvement. Maybe the fear has been that there will be divergence from a communal norm.
However, my perspective is that it is quite normal for each institution to have its own metadata schema or application profile some portion of which gets shared with OLAC.
With this as background then, with the assumption that different management practices will produce different metadata schemes it seems reasonable that each institution should update their schema from time to time. This implies that metadata quality in terms of coverage or "encoding" is a moving target. Another implication then, is that even in fields which are shared with the OLAC aggregator and are defined in the OLAC metadata application profile, that those fields may have different internal syntax at different providers or at different time depths of the records creation.
The ISO639-3 field is one evidence of evolutionary change. This standard has fields which split and merge from time to time. Associating a records time of creation with a version of an institutions metadata schema is a useful dynamic when evaluating a record's quality.
The question is how should a record and the version of its applicable metadata profile be associated in the OLAC context? How should this information be communicated to record viewers?
The answer is rather straightforward, but requires two parts. The first part requires a modification to the archive profile to have two information bits:
- The name of the native application profile at the data provider
- A link to the native metadata application profile documentation
The documentation should be in a publicly accessible place so that the provided metadata makes sense. There are several ways this could be accomplished one way is to create a manifestation record for each iteration of the application profile. These could be related into a collection or they could have a single relation.
which in the listSet
The OLAC OAI record should have in its source in the first harvest the name and version of the native metadata schema used for the generation of the record. The link to the native version of the providers metadata schema's documentation should be provided in the archive section of the OAI describer.
Some utilities in OAI can modify data, some can be servers only, some havesters only, some harvesters and servers.
Some OAI providers are
Using record sets:
OLAC could allow end-users to dynamically create sets of records for export using the setSpec part of OAI. Playing with this and audience interest might create some social interest.