Appendix C – Metadata Aggregation Models

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During the course of the Scoping Study for Aggregations of Metadata about Images and Time-based Media it became clear that there are many different ways of aggregating metadata. This appendix briefly describes each model and its advantages and disadvantages.
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Two other emerging points are worth noting: further investigation is needed into the challenges associated with aggregations of aggregations. This may all be transitory if linked data can be implemented effectively in source organisations.
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A number of non-technical challenges, related to all of the models, are known to EDINA through its experience of developing the VSM Portal Demonstrator. These include:
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  • Difficulty identifying the appropriate person within the collection owning organisation and the possibility that they have little time or budget to devote to this initiative,
  • Lack of understanding, within the collection owning organisation, of what was being requested by the aggregator,
  • The agenda of the portal did not match the internal agenda of the collection owning organisation so a low priority is given to the portal and the metadata,
  • Resources available within the collection owning organisation are scarce; these include time from people and hardware, e.g. for an OAI server,
  • Legal issues – particularly around rights issues, provenance and licensing.
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Thus, although the initial contact at an organisation expressed interest in sharing metadata with the aggregation, they were not always able to contribute, e.g. if they were unable to determine provenance of items and therefore unable to assign licence information. This may occur, for example, where a professor has retired and left slides at a University without information about provenance. Organisations tended to be less willing to proceed and share their metadata if this required involvement of their legal departments.
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As each collection has a metadata schema that is optimised for describing their resources, their schemas are considered to be different.
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For each of the models it is assumed that there would be some service based on the aggregation of metadata that would benefit a user (which may be an end-user or another service). In general it is considered that for a search service users do not care which model is used, as long as they can discover the resources that they need easily, and through a good, intuitive interface.

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