Sep 26 2013
As teaching and learning becomes an increasingly digital activity, it is important to consider how future scholars will access, comment on, and even reuse the original scholarship produced by students and other researchers in this medium. One way to ensure longevity of the end product, as well as future interoperability, is to use metadata librarians and their specific knowledge of how different metadata standards work in the online environment. This is important because the tools of digital scholarship are always evolving, and the way our digital world looks and feels now, may not be the way it functions in 20 years.
Two years ago I was promoted to Metadata Services Librarian and have sought to ensure that the digital projects undertaken at Tisch Library conform to metadata best practices, with an eye towards long term sustainability of the end-product.
I would like to focus on two projects which highlight the necessary skills, creativity and teaching ability necessary for success in the online, linked data environment.
In 2011, students in a Medieval Latin course began working with a digital collection that I originally marked-up in Dublin Core metadata, and transformed for presentation on the web through EXtensible Stylesheet Language (XSLT). Known as the Miscellany Collection, this digital exhibit highlights 32 manuscripts and printed leaves. By associating the images with descriptive elements from the Dublin Core metadata standard, the students were able to visually verify information about the leaves, as well as produce their own translations. While the Miscellany was a beta project, designed to encourage discussion within the library about supporting digital humanities, Dublin Core is an established standard used by most libraries. This means that the scholarly work now associated with the digital objects will be preserved for future use. That is, while the front facing web presence might change, the resulting intellectual product will be preserved by a backend system designed to maintain digital content for the long-term.
In 2012, I provided assistance with a Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) project pursued by a Master’s candidate in the Classics. TEI is a robust metadata markup language used in the digital humanities, which libraries are just beginning to support. Working closely with Corri Russo, I taught him the principles of TEI, and assisted him through-out the project. Because of my work with him, I was brought in as the third reader for his defense. I also wrote the XSLT that would present his scholarship on the web in a professional manner. Corri Ruso’s Interpres intepretum is now a highlight at the Classics Department, and is cited as an example of the sort of work students can pursue.
In 2013 I was asked to provide support for the Persieds project, and will become embedded later this year with Bridget Almas and Alison Babeu as they seek to create an online annotation tool for student translations of special collection materials. I was asked specifically because of my work on both the Miscellany and Corri Russo’s TEI project, as well as my commitment to using library metadata standards in the online environment to ensure the sustainability of the end product.
Other categories in relation to specific examples from the Librarians’ Guide:
Ability to effectively manage and/or devise innovative methods for information, materials, serials acquisitions or cataloging activities
- In 2011 I began working with Patrick Florence and Natalie Susman in establishing a GIS metadata quality assurance workflow and metadata best practices for use of library standards in the GIS GeoData site
- In 2013 I was asked by Marc McGee from Harvard to actively participate on the OpenGeoPortal metadata management group
- In 2012/2013 I have assisted in the creation of Hydra Administrative tool that will allow Technical Services staff to ingest Dublin Core Metadata and an associated Digital Object into the Fedora Repository. An important part of this is the creation of a Data Dictionary in collaboration with DCA, ULTS and Digital Curation Experts.
Continuing education, e.g., either further formal study or self education in librarianship and information science, in new developments in the field, in languages, or in other areas of subject specialization
- I took Rare Book Cataloging at Rare Book School in 2011–an intensive week long course focused on the principles of cataloging special collections materials
- I took XML in Action at Rare Book School in 2012–an intensive week long course focused on the best practices for creating and working with TEI
- I took Advanced XML course at ARL in 2013–an intensive 3 day course focused on the principles of crosswalking metadata using XSLT 2.0 and Regular Expressions
- I attend regular conferences held by regional and national Technical Services organizations such as NELA.
Teaching ability, as demonstrated by database searching, course-related instruction and library instruction, curricula support and instruction of colleagues
- I taught a master’s candidate the principles of XML, and then TEI for his project and participated as the third reader for his defence
- I have taught library metadata standards to an undergraduate attempting to create database based on the Dublin Core metadata standard to help track papers from the Tufts Institute of the Environment; I also assisted with general database design questions
- I have assisted a librarian setting up her blog as part of her promotion packet
- I have shared my knowledge with Technical Services staff as we seek to implement new procedures and workflows
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