Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) : Enhancing Metadata & Creating C o ntext What is Metadata ? In order for an item in a digital library to be findable and usable, the item should be described with information ab out the item. For a book in a library, this is often done with a catalog record. For an item in a digital library, the item information is also known as a record or more accurately as metadata. Metadata is data about data or defined information about a p articular thing Library and museum metadata may look something like this: Format: Greek Vase Date: 470 460 BC Height: 35 centimeters Title: [Greek Vase of O dysseus and Eumaiosthe Swineherd] Notes: Many items in dLOC have metadata that is created from existing resources, like catalog records for library items and finding guides for archival materials. For other items, the metadata is created for the first time with the digital i tem. Whether from existing records or newly created, there are often opportunities for scholars and student scholars t o cont ribute their expertise and enhance the existing metadata with information that requires scholarly expertise.
Page 2 of 3 Creating C o ntext In addition to providing basic citation type information with title, author, and publisher, m etadata can and should p lace a particular item in context with other materials. For instance, subject terms help to link relevant materials with each other. Abstracts and notes help to inform readers an d users of other possible links across materials, but also pr ovide greater context for the contents within a single item Ideally, context should be created and supported through metadata and through additional scholarly writing. For instance, t he dLOC Teacher Guides & Materials Collection ( http://www.dloc.com/ teach ) includes teaching guides, lesson plans, background information, and other materials that help to frame and provide context for t he primary resources in dLOC. Other types of teaching and scholarly resources that could be created to provide context include author biographies, additional bibliographies, annotated bibliographies, and other familiar scholarly forms. Example: Creating Context for Herbert G. de Lisser Herbert G. de Lisser wa s an important author A number of his novels a nd his serial publication Planters Punch are in dLOC Scholars have n oted that he was ethnically Jewish and that this informs scholarly research of his work. However, t h ere is no way for a patron or user to know this from the materials T his is not included in the metadata a nd dLOC does not yet include scholarly materials that p rovide this context Fort unately de Lisser does have a Wikipedia page that exists and is more than a stub. T his is very fortunate given that this is not the case for many important Caribbean author s However, even in this fortunate situation, the information is still brief and this information is not available. For this particular example, review the recommended minimum metadata list example records in dLOC and at least two items in the dLOC Teacher Guides & Materials Collection ( http://www.dloc.com/ teach ) to become familiar with how metadata and scholarly contextual materials could provide c ontext for de Lisser. Recommended Minimum M etadata for A ll Items For all items, the recommended minimum metadata fields to be completed are: 1. Title 2. Other titles (as applicable) 3. Type 4. Physical description 5. Language 6. Identifier (as applicable; e.g ., Library of Congress number, number as listed in an authoritative bibliography, etc.) 7. Holding location 8. Source institution 9. Creator 10. Publis her 11. Place of publication
Page 3 of 3 12. Date of publication 13. Subject 14. Spatial subject (as applicable) 15. Coordinates (as applica ble) 16. Abstract 17. Note (as applicable) For more on these fields, see the dLOC Metadata Guide : http://www.dloc.com/AA00002864/00001/pdf E nhancing M etadata & Creating Context After reviewing the materials, consider the following questions for the Herbert G. de Lisser example and for other examples for which you have scholarly expertise that can be shared : C onsider i ng h ow metadata can be used is there an appropriate place to include this context ual information in the metadata for an y of the de Lisser item s a set of items or all of the items ? Given that metadata is not the only place to add context would it be useful and appropriate to add this context to the metadata for any, some, or all of the items? It would be useful and appropriate to c reate a new scholarly w ork that provides context on de Lisser Some examples of scholarly work forms have already been noted : biographies, bibliographies, and annotated bibliographies. W hat other scholarly for ms could b e useful and appropriate for providing context o n de Lisser? A re there existing scholarly works that are available as Open Access ? If so, would it be useful and appropriate to referencing these i n a bibliography or an annotated bibliography ? After considering the questions above f or your area of expertise if you would like to contribute your expertise to dLOC p lease contact us: dLOC Program Director : Brooke Wooldridge, firstname.lastname@example.org dLO C Technical Director : Laurie Taylor, Laurien@ufl.edu