8.3 Metadata Aggregation Model


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There is little agreement about whether metadata for images and time-based media should be standardised into a common schema and if so who should do this. It is interesting that a small majority of respondents to the online survey who thought that the collection owner should normalise metadata were users. The experiences of other aggregators suggest that agreeing a schema would be time consuming. Deploying a common schema based on simple Dublin Core may actually lose information and so may not provide sufficiently useful metadata for images and time-based media. Many of the scenarios for using an aggregation of these metadata may not be realisable with such a schema: the key exception being the case where an aggregation takes very basic descriptive metadata (title and keywords, plus thumbnails or clips) and acts as a signpost to the collections themselves, which continue to maintain detailed metadata.
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An aggregator should consider the mixed model to centralise the metadata and provide it to others whenever there is a use case to do so. This would enable the aggregator to retain as much metadata as possible in a form that is as close as possible to the original collection owner’s schema, and to develop expertise in understanding and manipulating the metadata to provide it to others in suitable formats. Use of linked data to create connections between collections could reduce maintenance issues and facilitate inter-linking with other aggregations.
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The aggregator should make the aggregated metadata accessible by providing APIs and supporting standard protocols to support developers, and adding to access mechanisms when needed by keeping a watching brief of technology and emerging developer requirements.

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