8.2 Metadata Contributors

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The metadata gathered in the aggregation will likely be more useful for applications and hence users if it is ingested in the highest standard and most appropriate format that a collection owner can provide. This will also make management of an aggregation project easier. Ideally collection owners should describe their own content, and self-deposit as much as possible.
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The level of support required from the aggregator by different metadata contributors may vary according to their level of digital readiness. Those contributors who have limited IT capability would benefit from support for example through provision of a range of standard tools to help with metadata extraction and manipulation which thus help to standardise metadata with a common schema. Contributors with some IT capability could benefit from technical guidance and support with some requirements, for example if using HTTP and XML to transfer metadata as resource is needed from both aggregator and content provider to agree and understand the schema. For those with strong IT capability it would be necessary to engage them to provide metadata that could be regularly harvested.
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Sufficient numbers of collections of different types of content, probably around a theme, would be required to gain significant benefit. To support gathering of a useful body of content, the aggregator should evaluate the collections described in collection-level aggregations, such as in IESR, to determine whether the content is suitable for an aggregation of metadata about images and time-based media about individual digital resources. Clearly, this should be based on the aggregator’s collection policy.
Manually created and imported metadata are not sustainable for an aggregation in the long-term, so (dependant on the aggregation model implemented) guidance should be given to collection owners to develop their systems in such a way that their metadata and updates can be gathered automatically on a regular basis. The agreement with metadata contributors must acknowledge and agree on onward sharing of aggregated metadata to other aggregators.
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Collection owners have different views on use of metadata with reference to definitions of ‘commercial’ and ‘educational’, which affects their willingness to contribute to an aggregation. Further work on this would be useful to determine whether collection owners’ perceptions of commercial services that charge for their services differ from their perceptions of services that are provided free of charge but display adverts, and whether this is different for images, films and sounds than for text-based resources.

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