Metadata and Project Hydra
In April 2015, a working group of Project Hydra partners and implementers was formed to provide metadata recommendations to increase interoperability among current users and help new Hydra implementers. The Hydra Metadata Working Group, under the direction of Karen Estlund, quickly established subgroups and initial deliverables to be presented at the Hydra Connect 2015 Conference. The subgroups address a wide-range of metadata types and issues, such as implementing Linked Data Fragments, mapping MODS to RDF, and writing FITS recommendations. The subgroups include the Applied Linked Data Subgroup, the Descriptive Metadata Subgroup, the Rights Metadata Subgroup, the Structural Metadata Subgroup, and the Technical Metadata Subgroup. Since transparency is an important component of Project Hydra’s mission, meeting notes are freely available and comments are welcome.
I serve on the Hydra Metadata Working Group and also facilitate the Descriptive Metadata Subgroup. Descriptive metadata is a somewhat controversial issue in Hydra because of the diversity of Hydra partners and implementers. Members include various types of libraries and institutions, including academic, corporate, museum and special collections, and aggregators. As a result, the subgroup must work to create metadata recommendations that balance specific institutional needs with system constraints and interoperability. This challenging work is a later deliverable to be completed as part of the group’s second phase.
The Descriptive Metadata Subgroup is currently working on the first phase of its charge, which is to conduct a survey of descriptive metadata used by Hydra implementers. To my knowledge, this is the first attempt to perform an environmental scan on descriptive metadata within the Hydra community; it represents an important opportunity to discover current practice as well as the roadblocks that are preventing institutions from doing all that they wish to in their repositories. Questions about current practice include topics such as encoding standards, descriptive metadata schemas, local metadata fields, domain specific metadata, controlled vocabularies, sources of metadata, workflows for metadata creation, export formats, and more. Survey results will be presented at Hydra Connect 2015 in September.
Additionally, the Descriptive Metadata Subgroup has a new sub-subgroup, the MODS and RDF Descriptive Metadata Subgroup. This group’s charge is currently being formed and will address how to handle “MODS XML in a linked data / RDF world.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Project Hydra or connecting with metadata group members, visit the Hydra Metadata Working Group website.