June 20, 2019

The British Library Releases New Collection Metadata Strategy

From the BL’s Digital Scholarship Blog:

The British Library formally acknowledged metadata’s importance in 2015 with the publication of its first collection metadata strategy. Unlocking the Value” described the foundational principles required to manage metadata as an asset in its own right rather than as a by-product of other activities. This concept proved influential for other national and state libraries with several developing similar strategies. The first strategy period saw great progress in centralising management and support of metadata policy and best practice but also included other notable achievements, including creation of:

  • Automated workflows to upgrade publisher eBook metadata to library standards with minimal intervention
  • Software tools to convert print catalogues to contemporary metadata formats and to automatically enhance over 1 million older catalogue records
  • Open metadata services used by over 2150 institutions in 127 countries

“Foundations for the Future”will build on such achievements to ensure collection metadata becomes even more accessible, relevant and useful by addressing key challenges and new opportunities including:

Increasing Volume and Complexity –Traditional methods of metadata generation, management and dissemination are not scalable or appropriate to an era of rapid digital change, rising expectations and diminishing resources.

New Metadata Creation Options The changing information landscape presents many new opportunities. Open web resources, automated metadata generation from full text and crowdsourcing offer interesting possibilities requiring exploration.

Improving Visibility – If collection metadata is unavailable, the resources described are effectively invisible. A programme of metadata creation is required to improve visibility of any ‘hidden’ content and enable use.

Rights Management – To manage increasingly diverse and dynamic options for hybrid print/digital and local/remote access to content, we must create an equally sophisticated rights metadata infrastructure.

Preservation Metadata – The long-term future of digital collections can only be secured by good preservation metadata. Only by accurately recording key content properties to recognised metadata standards will it be possible to offer current digital content to future users.

Unifying Infrastructure – Collection metadata’s potential is constrained by the requirement to address contemporary challenges with outdated systems, standards and practices. The new strategy proposes the creation of an integrated standards and systems infrastructure capable of unifying and presenting collection metadata in a way unachievable since the British Library’s foundation.

summary roadmap has been created to show the steps planned to address these challenges and ensure that by 2023:

  • The complexity of the British Library’s collection metadata infrastructure will be reduced by convergence on an agreed set of supported standards and systems
  • The unified collection metadata infrastructure will offer new access and processing options enabling improved user services
  • Efficient, sustainable collection metadata workflows will match the increasing scale and complexity of collection content via implementation of new techniques for record creation and exploitation of external data sources

Resources

Direct to Full Text Blog Post (Includes 6 Figures)

Direct to Full Text: “Foundations for the Future: The British Library’s Collection Metadata Strategy 2019-2023”
8 pages; PDF.

Direct to Summary Roadmap
1 page; PDF.

Direct to 2015 Strategy Document “Unlocking the Value”
8 pages; PDF.

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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