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  1. Feedback • Lectures • More practical examples • Like guest lecturers • Generally helpful in understanding concepts • Readings • Too much and too dense sometimes, not clear what applies specifically • Those in weekly reading group find it helps • Group Work/Exercises • Helps clarify concepts, but not enough time in class • Other • Still not clear on assignment • Want more management focus IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  2. Recap • Descriptive metadata elements can be used for access or selection • Users don’t know what’s in your information system unless you make it explicit • Cutter’s Objects of the Catalog (modernized) • To enable a person to find an item where some information about it is known • To show what the system has by a given entity on a given subject in a given type of category • To assist in the choice of an item by specific characteristics IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  3. Module 5a: Authority Control and Encoding Schemes IMT530: Organization of Information Resources Winter 2008 Michael Crandall

  4. Module 5a Outline • Metadata can be used in many ways • Why authority control? • Controlled vs. uncontrolled values • Principles of authority control • Examples of authority control in libraries • How does it work? • Why do it? • Some issues in authority control • Alternatives IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  5. Metadata can be Used Many Ways • It should be obvious by now that metadata may be constructed for a particular purpose, but used in many ways • Descriptive metadata can be used for access • Administrative metadata can be used for description • Structural metadata may be used for administration • All may be used for management or control • Users may need access through unexpected pathways • Underscores importance of providing ways to manage creation of metadata for consistency IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  6. Why Authority Control? • In the library world, authority control is used to ensure that Cutter’s Objects are satisfied- all items can be brought together while enabling known items to be found • It solves problems of inconsistency and variation of forms of names, titles, etc. found on physical manifestations of items • But it also provides access to variant names through cross-references • It establishes a uniform heading to group related items (collocation) • It guarantees that entities, like authors, will have unique names so that the user can distinguish between those that share a common name IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  7. A Broader Definition • In non-library settings, Cutter’s Objects can be seen to include many other means of access • May want to group items of a particular file type, in a particular language, from a specific organization • So, to generalize, any set of controlled values or rules governing the use of a metadata element could be considered authority control or an encoding scheme • Thinking of it this way helps to provide the means to translate the principles into the metadata world, and links back to database modeling • One lack in many database systems is a set of clear rules for determining values in fields • Ends up with the well-known dirty data problem, which eats up lots of admin time in cleanup activities IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  8. Controlled vs. Uncontrolled Values • Values for uncontrolled metadata elements are either copied from the information object directly or applied without rules • Examples are the title of a web page, or the number of pages in a book • Values for controlled metadata elements are defined by rules • We saw some examples of this last week in the Dublin Core encoding schemes used for defining allowed values in some of the elements • Control may be simple or complex • Rules defining a specific format (e.g., date) or a pre-defined selection of values (e.g., language codes or format types) for a value can be applied easily • More complex control may be needed where relationships between different values are important (forms of a person’s name, subject hierarchies, etc.) IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  9. Process of Name Authority Control • Select a single and unique form of a name and enter (use that form as a value in) all records under that uniform name or heading • Provide cross-references from the names not selected as preferred headings to the preferred name • In library catalogs, authority control provided for names of persons, corporate bodies, etc., but not consistently for works. IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  10. Cross-References • Equivalence relationships to control for variant names (seereferences) • Examples : Sears, M.E., search under Sears, Minnie Earl. • United States Library of Congress search under Library of Congress • Associative relationships for establishing relationships among different entities (see alsoreferences) • Examples : Day Lewis, C. search also under Nicholas Blake • Hierarchicalrelationships are also possible, but we will focus more on these in the subject part of the course IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  11. Sample Authority Record IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  12. See Reference Example see reference field code in MARC Authorized name field code in MARC IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  13. See Also Reference Example IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  14. How Does it Work? • To manage authority control, a storage mechanism must be created to hold the values and their associations (database, XML schema) • Usually in an authority control file • Holds the records for each authorized entry, its associations and relationships, and change history • At time of use, content items are associated with authority records through metadata • Result is a display that satisfies Cutter’s Objects by bringing items with the same heading together and provide direct access to known items IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  15. How It Works Vocabulary and Schema Database Input query Search DLL XML Search results Site Server indexes XML Modified string IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  16. Problems with Authority Control • Ayres’ article points out some issues with authority control • These are no different than common data maintenance issues in any large system • The difficulty here is that they defeat the purpose of the control in the first place • Again, points out the need to make sure you have good processes and authority rules in place, and make the use of your control as easy as possible at the point of data entry • You may decide that authority control is not appropriate if you can’t provide resources IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  17. Why Would You Do This? • If you’re not in a library, is this kind of control worth your time, or possible? • You’ll usually use legacy data for names • HR database is a primary source • Often have an LDAP server as well • Rarely is rigid authority control used in these systems, and downstream users pay for it • In intranet applications, integrating user identities can be a huge problem because authority control has not been used IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  18. Sweet Spots • Corporate names • Essential in managing customer relationship data • Often can be purchased from outside vendors (Dow Jones, Reuters) who maintain for their own purposes • Organization names • Often one of the most important access points for users in an intranet • Rarely have access outside your own group • Cross-company exposure can be very valuable • People names • But make sure you work with HR and IT organizations to build on their activity IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  19. Other Elements • Any metadata element you’re using can benefit from authority control or an encoding scheme (in the broad sense we explored earlier in the class) • Even if you don’t need anything more than a rule, make it explicit and if possible build it into your data entry system (e.g., date formats) • If you have choices for term entry, define the values and restrict users to those alone (e.g., language codes, mime types, etc.) • Where possible, use standards for your reference to avoid in-house maintenance IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  20. Alternatives to Authority Control • Automatic indexing attempts to replicate many of the results of authority control • There are many methods for this, some very time consuming, some processing intensive • Research applications are gradually being incorporated into products • Decision on when to use remains the same • What are your requirements for accuracy? • What are your business objectives? • What do your users need? • Often a combination is the best solution • Use each where it makes the best business sense IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  21. Examples • AGLS • • Dublin Core • IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  22. Assignment Part 2: Authority Control for Your Metadata Elements • Due at beginning of class Week 6 • 20% of final grade • Spend some time examining the resources you draw your elements from so that you can provide control • Think about the people actually describing the content, and how they will know how to populate your elements with consistent values • Don’t work on subject elements, those are for your final assignment IMT530- Organization of Information Resources

  23. Questions? • If not, take a break!!! IMT530- Organization of Information Resources