University Libraries & Learning Sciences Faculty and Staff Publications

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Collection-level metadata has the potential to provide important information about the features and purpose of individual collections. This paper reports on a content analysis of collection records in an aggregation of cultural heritage collections. The findings show that the free-text Description field often provides more accurate and complete representation of subjects and object types than the specified fields. Properties such as importance, uniqueness, comprehensiveness, provenance, and creator are articulated, as well as other vital contextual information about the intentions of a collector and the value of a collection, as a whole, for scholarly users. The results demonstrate that the semantically rich free-text Description field is essential to understanding the context of collections in large aggregations and can serve as a source of data for enhancing and customizing controlled vocabularies.

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Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications

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IMLS NLG Research and Demonstration grant LG-06-07-0020-07


descriptive metadata, collection-level metadata, Dublin Core Application Profile, federated digital collections, collection properties, IMLS digital collections and content project