2011 JISC RDTF - The Women's Library (Teresa Doherty)
JISC rdtf Jan-08 I gave a verbal presentation – This ppt is from my notes so it could be shared. Hence some of the type is a bit small – sorry! If anything doesn’t make sense please email me – contact details at the end
Jan-08 The Women’s Library (TWL) is the oldest and most extensive collection of women's history in the Europe. We are a cross-domain cultural resource providing a single point of access to: * Printed collections containing 60,000+ books and pamphlets dating from 1592; 3,500+ periodicals dating from 1745; * Archives 550+ Personal and Organisational archives dating from 1770 * Museum over 11,000 objects dating from 1786
Jan-08 <ul><li>Resource Discovery assumes certain things about the heritage sector: </li></ul><ul><li>1 There is information about our collections </li></ul><ul><li>2 That the information is structured / adheres to basic standards </li></ul><ul><li>3 That the information is in electronic format and online </li></ul><ul><li>This is are incorrect assumptions! </li></ul>
Jan-08 For the heritage sector ‘data’ usually means the catalogue This data, aimed at the public, is usually part of a wider Collections Management System (deposit info, location info, enquiry info, as well as the catalogue)
Jan-08 Libraries mostly h ave their catalogues available online. This causes issues in reusing data with contemporary catalogues which are commercially created. Libraries are also (too?!) well served with cataloguing standards and conventions. Libraries already do a lot of aggregation through union catalogues However as you move into the world of smaller specialist or rare books libraries the number of card catalogues increases substantially. E.g. as well as its online catalogue of holdings, Trade Union Congress Library has a large number of card indices waiting for retro conversion. The Women’s Library has a current project to box- list rare pamphlets (in the archive./museum catalogue) ahead of funding applications for full ‘library’ cataloguing : ‘ http://tinyurl.com/3wtrq4p If cataloguing is not sexy, retro conversion is deeply unsexy to funders.
Jan-08 Archives only came up with their first internationally agreed data / cataloguing standards in the 1990s with the introduction of ISAD(g) and ISAAR(cpf) along with indexing standards such as the NCA rules. The data exchange protocol for ISAD(g) – EAD has been in use in the UK since c.1998, but EAC only became available earlier this year. Aggregation of catalogues through Aim25, Archives Hub and the women’s history resource www.genesis.ac.uk all included high levels of collaboration. – often with larger institutions taking the lead on behalf of smaller ones (A2A esp) The speed at which the aggregates grew in the late 90s/early 2000s show the willingness of the archive sector to skill up – But a lot more skilling up needs to be done. Archives has a high proportion of “one man and his dog” (or woman and cat). @For them new, jargon-led movements is just too much . The day to day work of enquiries, accessioning, cataloguing is more than enough to get on with. Remember, approx 40% of archive catalogues are not available in an e-formats. Of the 60% available a high proportion are not structured catalogue data, but pdfs or simple web pages.
Jan-08 Museums data is rather different. Museums tend to have a lot of exhibition led / interpreted data (exhibition text / online exhibitions). Museum documentation does not have a central data standard to compare to MARC/ISAD. UK SPECTRUM’1 st Edition was in 1977, pre digital data. It is a holistic best practice approach to managing collections – from accessioning to handling, to loans in/out and exhibitions procedures – not a data standard. The lack of convergence by the UK national/large museums has led to a lack of union catalogue. Curators’ methodology and approach often rests on mediated /interpreted data. My 2 curators asked “Why put it [our museum catalogue] online?”
Jan-08 For small specialist collections, staff rarely have the capacity to get their heads around new ‘movements’ – or the time/capacity to bid for funding for specialist projects . (Jisc) Funding rounds are often for projects where the minimum spend is larger than the annual cost of the department applying. This results in self-selection patterns which lead to a non-inclusive data landscape Collaborations where a larger partner takes a lead and provides clear benefits to the smaller partners is much better way to get buy in – it may also be more cost effective. E.g. The peripatetic archivists that worked on Aim25 went on to jobs in the sector with a high skill set – as a sector we are still feeling the benefit 10 years on!
Jan-08 CALM and Google Answer to tweeted question (1/3): The short answer appears to be Persistent URIs ! CALM is a collections management system (relational database) which does not actively expose it's data to Google – A lot of the data we would not want online (e.g. personal depositor data or work in progress). To put the data on the web you use an add on - either DServe or the newly released CALMView. If you set this up with a bit of thought these can create persistent URIs for searches - I've been assured that in moving from DServe to CALMView we keep our URIs The Women's Library was the pilot for the National Register of Archives linking to individual repository databases (rather than aggregators such as AIM25 and the Hub). There are now over 100 repositories linking in this way. NRA has approx 900 links to our catalogue E.g. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/default.asp Search for Personal Name = sheila rowbotham
Jan-08 CALM and Google Answer to tweeted question (2/3): We also link from Wikipedia. For example Sheila Rowbotham (see the ‘Archives Reference’) This has given us another 800 or so links We also link from our Source Notes http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/thewomenslibrary/aboutthecollections/source-notes/sources-liberation.cfm Other people link to us - when they're blogging etc. So with persistent URIs in place since 2006 Google has a lot of links to play with. If you search Google for sheila rowbotham you'll see a result at around No7 from calmarchive.londonmet.ac.uk/ These results appear to be cached results - so consistent with the bookmarks being picked up by Google.
Jan-08 CALM and Google Answer to tweeted question (3/3): We first noticed that Google results about a year after our catalogue went online. This was also around the same time we started linking. So chicken/egg clouds the answer. Wellcome's CALM archive catalogue was having a similar 'life of it's own'. We emailed the CALM email list but nobody had a definitive answer – CALM’s company, Axiell , didn't really know why either - it wasn't something they had set out to do. Other things probably come into play - such as having an ac.uk address. ......but perhaps as the chap said Persistent URIs are the most important thing in a Linked Data world
Jan-08 [email_address] www.genesis.ac.uk a women’s history discovery resource. re-using Archives Hub data via SRU, new in 2011!