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Catherine Owen Describing Performing Arts Data in the Digital Environment Performing Arts Data Service University of Glasgow. Performing arts data service. The PADS is based at the Gilmorehill Centre for Theatre, Film and Television at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
Catherine Owen Describing Performing Arts Data in the Digital Environment Performing Arts Data Service University of Glasgow Performing Arts Data Service
Performing arts data service The PADS is based at the Gilmorehill Centre for Theatre, Film and Television at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. The PADS is one of five service providers of the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) Other Services include: • History • Archaeology • Visual Arts • Textual Studies Tower and cloisters, Glasgow University, architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, 1868 Performing Arts Data Service
What we do • dance • theatre • music • film • broadcast arts The PADS works with performance practitioners, archives, academics, and the performance industries and their representatives… the PADS collects, documents, preserves and promotes the use of digital resources in teaching, learning and research. Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Production of ‘Hamlet’, 1925 Courtesy Sir Barry Jackson Trust/Birmingham Central Library The PADS collects resources relating to music, dance, theatre, film and the broadcast arts... Performing Arts Data Service
Some key questions • What am I describing? • How does cataloguing change when I’m describing digital objects? • What concepts do I need to pin down? • How will users access my resources? • How will my resources interoperate with others? Performing Arts Data Service
How does cataloguing change when I’m describing digital objects? This simple model seems to work well for discovery of simple digital objects, but… Performing Arts Data Service
What are we actually cataloguing? • Cataloguing a ‘simple’ data resource... • 1. A discrete digital object • 2. A discrete digital object which acts as a surrogate for a physical object • 3. A discrete digital object which acts as a surrogate for a physical object and which is one amongst a number of closely-related objects • 4. A discrete digital object which acts as a exemplar for a collection of physical objects and which is embedded in a bibliographic data resource • Decisions about cataloguing are almost always locally-driven, must respond to the needs of a perceived user group or groups and must reflect the resources available… these resources may include personal skills, information sources, available technology and time. Performing Arts Data Service
Standards • These activities should be defined by standards: Describing the resource: For resource discovery For resource management For preservation Structuring the data: Field names Field types Relationships Each record should be a conflation of different standards and working practices… Performing Arts Data Service
Problems with standards: There are too many competing standards Standards do different jobs for different user communities and different data types A successful data resource must make use of a variety of different standards for both structuring the data and describing the resource Creators are often tempted to use standards in an inappropriate way for ease A successful data resource may: Include field types from a variety of standards (e.g. Dublin Core, ISAD) as well as local fields Populate the fields using AACR2 ISO etc. as well as specialised cataloguing practice for e.g. music Use standard terminology, controlled vocabularies, name thesauri, classification schemes Which standards? Performing Arts Data Service
The Dublin Core • Most creators of electronic resources are now encouraged to use the Dublin Core set of fields to describe their resources • The Dublin Core should be used to facilitate: • Resource discovery • High-level interoperability • It is not intended to: • Contain information specifically for management or preservation of the resource • Replace accepted cataloguing practice • Support granular, sophisticated interoperability between disparate resources Performing Arts Data Service
‘Format’ Non-standard media (e.g. video, audio, music score, play script, choreographic notation etc.) Complicated or ill-defined rules for cataloguing media types Lack of guidelines for dealing with multiple parts, excerpts etc. Multiplicity of local solutions ‘Subject’ Lack of cohesive community identity Complicated or ill-defined rules for describing subjects, events and concepts Poor or ill-defined classification schemes, controlled vocabularies and thesauri Multiplicity of local solutions Some key problems And... Tendency to confuse or conflate ‘format’ with ‘subject’ Tendency to conflate multiple instances of the object Performing Arts Data Service
Performing arts documentation • Always the same old problems… • Who? Lack of standard names, international names... • Chaykovsky or Tchaikovsky • Bernard Shaw or George Bernard Shaw or Shaw, G.B. • Where? Same place, different name... • Theatre Royal Bristol or Bristol Old Vic or Bristol New Vic... • What? Same work, many identites... • Eroica or Symphony no.3 Eb op.55 Performing Arts Data Service
What do users want? An academic may seek... Russian chamber music of the early 19th century A performer may want... Music for violin, cello, bassoon, horn and harp A teacher may want... Advanced grade pieces between 1750 and 1900 A producer may be looking for... 19th century salon music They will all be happy with… Glinka’s Serenade on themes from Donizetti’s ‘Anna Bolena’ - but how can we make sure that they find it? Performing Arts Data Service
What information? Which classification scheme? Dewey (including Reeves/McColvin revised Dewey)? UDC? LC? Specialist subject-specific identifiers? (opus numbers, scholarly works, in-house schema) Which name authority list? New Grove Dictionaries, AllMedia Guides, IMDB Which naming convention? AACR2? Performing Arts Data Service
Performing arts classification Classification schemes are not enough… Are we describing the ‘medium’ or the ‘intellectual content’? What is the ‘subject’ of this work? What do users need to find? Score or sound recording or music literature? ‘Autumn Moon’ courtesy Edward McGuire Performing Arts Data Service
What is a collection? • A database? A selection of images? A digital text? • Is ‘the collection’ a static or dynamic concept? Who defines what fits together? • Does ‘collection’ mean physical location? Is this meaningful when your archive is virtual? • How should we control the levels at which documentation is applied? All images courtesy Donald Cooper/Photostage Performing Arts Data Service
Describing the performance • Is ‘the performance’ the obvious ‘collection-level’? • - performing arts essentially people, activity and event-related • - many collections are of performance-related ephemera • - can offer useful parallels for other subject areas e.g. archaeology • What are the drawbacks? • - not all performance data is specifically event-related • - existing standards not designed to describe temporal concepts • - multiple creators, dates, publishers • - defining location complex Performing Arts Data Service
Resources for performing arts cataloguers • Grove Music Dictionaries • http://www.grovemusic.com/ • Internet Movie Database • http://www.imdb.com/ • Internet Theatre Database • http://www.theatredb.com/ • Authority tools for audio-visual cataloguing • http://ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/units/cts/olac/capc/authtools.html • Information Sources in Music • http://rylibweb.man.ac.uk/data1/ad/guides/intrmus.html • IASA Cataloguing Rules • http://www.llgc.org.uk/iasa/icat/ • creation of restricted area on PADS servers for data assembly • creation of dedicated theatre-specific metadata and display templates • documentation training for project research staff • data input by PADS staff on secondment • conversion of additional data sources for data entry Michael Gambon, King Lear’ RSC 1983 Courtesy Donald Cooper / Photostage Performing Arts Data Service