9.1 Aggregator Recommendations

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Clearly communicate the benefits of an aggregation with descriptions tailored to each of the different stakeholder types (considering collection owners with different levels of digital readiness separately) in language they understand to encourage participation.
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  • This support and communication should be extended throughout the life of an aggregation, so that the benefit of participating is continuously clear to stakeholders, and particularly collection owners.
  • For large collection owners whose metadata are readily available for harvest and are less likely to need technical support than others, make apparent the benefits of contributing to the aggregation to encourage deposit.
  • As an integral part of any project to develop aggregations of metadata educate potential contributors within HE and FE institutions regarding the role and potential value of commercial service developers to the HE and FE community in this context.
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Make the resources described within an aggregation of metadata accessible at a granular level, i.e. a direct link to the full description of the resource in the host collection owner’s site should be included in the metadata.
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Make it as easy as possible for collection owners to contribute metadata: support multiple different ingest formats and protocols due to the varying levels of digital readiness of collection owners. Gather metadata and updates through both harvest and submission, and provide guidance to those who would like to digitise their metadata but have not yet done so. Work with lawyers to develop a process for legal agreement that minimises effort for metadata contributors.
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Adopt different approaches for collections with different levels of digital readiness, all of which should focus on getting collection owners to describe their own content, and deposit metadata themselves as far as possible, whilst providing guidance when needed. For those who have some technical experience, tools should be provided to enable them to deposit metadata easily, in the best form they can provide.
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Make aggregations of metadata accessible to the collection owners who contribute, and, if possible, to the general public, i.e. do not restrict an aggregation to use for educational purposes only.
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Include in the collection policy or contributor agreement a requirement that contributors grant permission to the aggregator to provide publicly accessible or harvestable thumbnail images for all visual resources (images and moving images), and clips for film and sound resources.
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Provide a simple decision-making tool for collection owners, such as an online decision tree regarding what, if anything, collection owners can do with their collections in relation to the legal rights for metadata. This would be of particular help to smaller collections, and those with mixed provenance.
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Determine the aggregation model that would be most appropriate for an aggregation of metadata for images and time-based media. Initial indications are that the mixed model may be most appropriate; although further work is required to arrive at a conclusive recommendation.
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  • As it is likely to be difficult to agree a common schema, an aggregator should standardise metadata only if there is a clear need from service developers or end-users to do this, and then the aggregator should standardise into a suitable schema (agreed by relevant interested parties) only those fields that will be used. This schema should contain a link back to the full record on the collection owner’s site.
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Develop a collections policy in line with end-user needs, and prioritise inclusion of such collections in an aggregation of metadata.
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  • Determine end-user needs for image and time-based media discovery and create aggregations accordingly, possibly around subject areas or themes, as a precursor to creating a more comprehensive aggregation. The latter would contain metadata about a large number of resources across a broad range of subject areas and those metadata would be structured in such a way as to would facilitate filtering by, among other things, subject, licence type and resource type (i.e. these things should be included in the metadata).
  • Consider prioritising inclusion of collections that use formats favoured by end-users that can be readily used without additional software – and use other formats where they are particularly important for specific disciplines or areas (e.g. performing arts).
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Engage with service providers early on in development of any aggregation and work closely to understand their needs and those of end-users. Produce guidance for service providers to encourage recognition of collection owner brands, particularly alongside search results, and provide a link from search results that takes the user directly to the resource on the collection owner’s site.

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