Metadata models for digital cultural heritage resources

One of the most important parts of the studies on the development of integrated digital information systems for cultural heritage resources originating from the MLA institutions are metadata models. According to Haynes (2004), metadata is structured information that is formed to facilitate description, explanation, discovery, and access to information resources. Generally, three main types of metadata are used

  • 2 structural metadata: indicates how compound objects are put together, e.g. how pages are ordered to form chapters
  • 3 administrative metadata: provides information to help manage a resource, e.g. when and how it was created, information on file type and other technical information, and access rights. There are several subsets of administrative metadata - two are sometimes listed as separate metadata types. They are Rights management metadata, which deals with intellectual property rights, and Preservation metadata, which contains information needed to archive and preserve a resource.
  • (Muller, 2010, p. 56 as cited in Kiilcii, 2016, p. 650,

italics in original)

As a metadata model of cultural heritage resource, the Preservation Metadata: Implementation Strategies (PREMIS), launched by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) in 2003, is one of the important examples (PREMIS Editorial Committee, 2008). A PREMIS data dictionary describes long term preservation metadata tags supported by XML schemas. It is expected that PREMIS will be used as a basic standard and automatically assigned by digital systems for documentary content in the near future. PREMIS is supported by the Library of Congress, and the METS Editorial Committee has started to support PREMIS schemas for use with METS schemas (DigCurV, 2013; Higgins, 2007 as cited in Kiilcii, 2016, p. 649).

The International Council on Archives (ICA), as a general council of archival organisations all around the world, has also initiated studies on developing metadata models for cultural resources, for example the ICA Committee on Electronic and Other Records (ICA-CER) studies. The ICA-CER declared that in the process of describing cultural resources not only the catalogue information but also environmental and relational information should be taken into account (Hofman, 2000).

From an archival management perspective, the General International Standard Archival Description (ISAD[G]) and International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families (ISAAR[CPF]) developed by the ICA (2011a, 2011b) provide models for the description of printed resources, whereas EAD has clear metadata tags that include XML schemas and can be used with both digital and printed resources. For current records in the records management area, ISO 23081-1 (International Organization for Standardization, 2017) provides clear metadata description tags, and ISO 15489-1 (International Organization for Standardization, 2016) covers records management system structures (Asproth, 2005; Niu, 2013; Zhang and Mauney, 2013).

In addition, from 1992-1995, the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) Study Group on Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) developed a conceptual model for bibliographic description that covers not only library materials but also some other types of contents from museums or archives. In 1996, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) International Committee for Documentation (CIDOC) began the development of a conceptual model for the description of museum objects. It was the first attempt to describe museum objects. The Conceptual Reference Model (CRM), though initially focused on museums, came to be conceived as a reference model that could serve the broader ambition of enabling integrated access to cultural heritage, thus encompassing MLA access. In this regard, the International Working Group on FRBR-CIDOC-CRM harmonisation was formed in 2003 (Gueguen, da Fonseca, Pitti, &t Grimotiard, 2013; IFLA, 1998 as cited in Kiilcii, 2016, p. 651). The working group has focused on mapping FRBR concepts to CRM concepts and, when necessary, enhancing and refining CRM concepts to facilitate the mapping, thereby making the CRM a single, overarching semantic model. The model was published as an object- oriented FRBR (FRBRoo). The archivists and museum specialists involved in the development of the CRM and the FRBRoo extension have expressed interest in working with the archival community to accommodate archival description and enable the model to fully incorporate the MLA communities. Resource Description and Access (RDA is a library standard based on FRBR and thus, by extension, is related also to FRBRoo and, by further extension, to CRM. The early draft of the Finnish model thus reflects the influence of RDA, FRBR, FRBRoo, and CRM. The ICA Programme Commission formed the Experts Group on Archival Description (EGAD) late in 2012. EGAD is charged with the harmonisation of the four existing ICA standards - ISAD(G), ISAAR(CPF), International Standard for Describing Functions (ISDF), and International Standard for Describing Institutions with Archival biddings (ISDIAH) (ICA, 2011a, 2011b, 2011c, 201 Id) - based on a formal archival description conceptual model. The EGAD’s members are drawn from the international professional community and have demonstrated expertise in archival description and standards.

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