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MODS and RDA - ALA MidWinter 2007
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MODS and RDA - ALA MidWinter 2007


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    • 1. Thoughts on Shareable Metadata, MODS, and RDA Sarah L. Shreeves University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Electronic Resources Interest Group (ERIG), ALCTS ALA Midwinter, Seattle WA January 20, 2007
    • 2. Where I’m coming from
      • Worked with the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting since 2001
      • Concerns about metadata interoperability (see also Bitter Harvest (Tennant), NSDL work (Hillmann, Dushay, Lagoze, and others)
      • Led the Best Practices for OAI Data Provider Implementations and Shareable Metadata ( http://oai- )
      • Led development of guidelines for ‘shareable’ MODS records within the Digital Library Federation Aquifer Initiative
      • Primarily concerned with the shareability or interoperability of metadata
    • 3. What is shareable metadata?
      • Is quality metadata (see Bruce and Hillmann)
      • Promotes search interoperability
        • “ the ability to perform a search over diverse sets of metadata records and obtain meaningful results.” (Priscilla Caplan)
      • Is human understandable outside of its local context
      • Is useful outside of its local context
      • Is machine processable
    • 4. Metadata is a view of a resource
      • No monolithic one-size-fits-all metadata record
      • The view might be different depending on use and audience as well as format, content, and context
      • Content standard is a view
      • Metadata standard is a view
      • Vocabulary used is a view
    • 5. What is MODS?
      • Metadata Object Description Standard
        • Simplified version of MARC with language based tags instead of numeric codes
        • Maintained by the Library of Congress:
        • “ schema for a bibliographic element set that may be used for a variety of purposes, and particularly for library applications”
        • Example
    • 6. Why use MODS?
      • Not MARC
      • Is MARC
      • Easier entry point
        • No codes
        • Uses XML
      • Not simple Dublin Core
      • Perhaps a useful middle ground between MARC and simple Dublin Core
    • 7. Use in the DLF Aquifer Initiative
      • “ to promote effective use of distributed digital library content for teaching, learning, and research in the area of American culture and life”
      • Use of MODS mandatory for participation
        • Frustration with DC in OAI environment
        • Can utilize MODS to build in specific services (asset actions)
      • Metadata Working Group provided guidelines for ‘shareable’ MODS records
    • 8. So where does RDA fit in?
      • RDA is a content standard
      • MODS is a metadata standard
      • RDA is closely aligned with MARC and MODS
      • Useful to have a RDA – MODS examples particularly as MODS is shifting away from MARC
    • 9. DLF Aquifer Guidelines
      • Does NOT recommend any one content standard over another
      • “ Choice and format of titles should be governed by a content standard such as the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd edition (AACR2), Cataloguing Cultural Objects (CCO), or Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS). Details such as capitalization, choosing among the forms of titles presented on an item, and use of abbreviations should be determined based on the rules in a content standard. One standard should be chosen and used consistently for all records in an OAI set.”
    • 10. Other thoughts
      • RDA should not try to be all things to all communities nor all metadata standards
        • OAI and DLF work has shown that communities of practice important and valuable
        • Some standards are better suited to some communities than others (CCO, DACS)
      • BUT consensus on overarching model and alignment with other content standards essential for interoperability
        • Harmonization efforts between FRBR and CIDOC CRM instructive example?
      • Engagement beyond the Dublin Core and IEEE LOM communities important
    • 11. References
      • Bruce, T.R. and D.I. Hillmann. (2004) “The continuum of metadata quality: defining, expressing, exploiting,” in Metadata in Practice, Ed. by Diane Hillmann and Elaine Westbrooks. Chicago: ALA Editions.
      • Coyle, K. and D.I. Hillmann. (2007) “Resource Description and Access (RDA): Cataloging Rules for the 20 th Century.” D-Lib Magazine. 13, no.1/2.
      • Dushay, N. and D. I. Hillmann. (2003) “Analyzing metadata for effective use and re-use.” In DC-2003: Proceedings of the International DCMI Metadata Conference and Workshop. [United States]: DCMI. .
      • Tennant, R. (2004) “Metadata’s bitter harvest,” Library Journal 129, no.12.
    • 12. Contact Information
      • Sarah Shreeves
      • [email_address]
      • 217.244.3877
      • This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 License. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.