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Middle East Digital Library Workshop Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 15-17 January 2006 OAI-PMH in Practice: Lessons Learned from the IMLS Digital Collections & Content Project. Timothy W. Cole ( )

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Middle East Digital Library WorkshopBibliotheca Alexandrina, 15-17 January 2006OAI-PMH in Practice:Lessons Learned from theIMLS Digital Collections & Content Project

Timothy W. Cole (

Grainger Engineering Library Information Center University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

imls digital collections content project
IMLS Digital Collections & Content Project

A collection registry & item-level metadata repositoryhosted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Test assumptions of the IMLS/NISO Framework of Guidance For Building Good Digital Collections
  • Enhance visibility & utility of digital collections & content funded by IMLS
  • Research & experiment with interoperability, OAI-PMH
    • Collection identity, metadata normalization & enrichment for specific audiences, portal interface & functional design
  • Collaborative effort of UIUC Library & Library School
  • Period of Performance: Oct. 2002 – Sept. 2007

University of Illinois at UC

imls dcc collection registry
IMLS-DCC Collection Registry
  • 108 NLG primary collection records
    • Includes additional 40 records for sub-collections
    • Also 29 associated / 61 physical collections
  • 158 IMLS NLG projects represented
  • Objects represented in registered collections
    • Images: prints, posters, photographs
    • Text: books, archival finding aids, newspapers
    • Digital surrogates of physical objects: artifacts, specimens, textiles
    • Sound: oral histories, sound files, wax cylinders
    • Interactive resources
    • Moving image
    • Datasets

University of Illinois at UC

imls dcc metadata repository
IMLS DCC Metadata Repository
  • 30 collections represented
    • 35 OAI-PMH repositories harvested
    • ~250,000 item-level metadata records indexed
  • Harvest in Simple Dublin Core & MARC 21 XML
    • Testing with Qualified Dublin Core
  • Issues being explored:
    • How metadata best practices are being adopted
    • Local context versus global context
    • Intentional creation & development of digital collections
    • Ways to customize aggregation interface to audience

University of Illinois at UC

sample of metadata statistics
Sample of Metadata Statistics

University of Illinois at UC

plans for next 2 years
Plans for next 2 years
  • IMLS has extended grant through 2007
  • Will add a sample of LSTA-funded projects
  • Other themes for extension phase
    • Integration of item-level & collection-level services
    • Metadata normalization, transformation, and enrichment
    • Interface & metadata design for targeted audiences (GEM)
    • Collection identity & metadata granularity
    • Knowledge diffusion of metadata best practices

University of Illinois at UC

oai pmh lessons learned
OAI-PMH: Lessons Learned
  • OAI-PMH approach can be useful
    • Data provider & service provider partnership critical
    • Extensions help make OAI-PMH even more ‘lightweight’
  • Metadata quality & consistency still essential
    • Shareable metadata must be assessed differently: issues of context, descriptive granularity & repurposing magnified
    • Responsibility for metadata effectiveness shared

  • Need added agreements & structure to make OAI-PMH useful – metadata schemas, authority registries, …

University of Illinois at UC

need 1 collection identity descriptive granularity
Need 1: Collection Identity / Descriptive Granularity

Better understand implications of descriptive granularity, collection identity, & how to exploit collection-item relationships

  • Pre-defined, virtual, & dynamic collections can support
    • Resource co-location for grouping, browsing, filtering
    • User selection of more relevant search results
    • Context supporting user interpretation of item description
    • Optimum search granularity varies with information need:Search at collection-level, item-level, or search item and collection descriptions in combination

University of Illinois at UC

need 2 dissemination of resource objects
Need 2: Dissemination of Resource Objects

Develop agreements on how to label, request, & disseminate standard views of resource objects

  • Metadata sharing only a starting point; other goals are resource sharing, tools that act on resources, …
    • What are standard views of canonical object types?
    • How can service providers request desired views?
    • How can service providers know available views?
    • How can service providers add views of an object?

University of Illinois at UC

need 3 shared understanding of dl function services
Need 3: Shared Understanding of DL Function & Services

User needs must drive design; we need explicit agreement as to functions & services that define the Digital Library we want to build

  • Optimization for function will drive:
    • Metadata authoring
    • Metadata normalization & enrichment
    • Requirements for schema & authority registries
    • Requirements for content dissemination registries
    • Development of ancillary tools & services
  • Different functional requirements can be in tension

University of Illinois at UC

imls dcc project accomplishments to date
IMLS DCC Project Accomplishments to Date
  • Collection registry & item-level repository publicly accessible:

  • Research Publications to Date (selected):

Shreeves, S.L. & Cole, T.W. 2003. Developing a Collection Registry for IMLS NLG Digital Collections [Poster Abstract]. In DC-2003: Proceedings of the International DCMI Metadata Conference and Workshop p. 241-242.

Cole, T.W. & Shreeves, S.L. 2004. Search and discovery across collections: The IMLS Digital Collections and Content Project. Library Hi Tech 22(3): 307-322

Palmer, Carole L. and Ellen M. Knutson. 2004. Metadata practices and implications for federated collections. In Proceedings of the 67th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science and Technology , Edited by Linda Schamber & Carol L. Barry. Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc: 456-462.

Shreeves, S.L., Knutson, E.M., Stvilia, B., Palmer, C.L., Twidale, M.B., & Cole, T.W. (2005). Is ‘quality' metadata ‘shareable' metadata? The implications of local metadata practice on federated collections. In H.A. Thompson (Ed.) Proceedings of the Twelfth National Conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries, April 7-10 2005, Minneapolis, MN . Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries.

University of Illinois at UC

imls dcc project contact information
IMLS DCC project contact information

Tim Cole, PI

University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign

Jenny Benevento, Project Coordinator


University of Illinois at UC