« Welcome! | Main | Ballooning update »

RLG Ballooning

Sharyn Wang has begun the process of populating a spreadsheet describing images scanned from historical works on ballooning.

This work is part of a Research Libraries Group (RLG)Cultural Materials Initiative (CMI) grant. This money was given to Special Collections and Rare Books within Archives and Special Collections (ASC) at the University Libraries in order to scan and describe two bodies of material. The first is a collection of photographs depicting balloon launches by the University's Department of Physics in the 1950's; the second is images from historical works on ballooning from University collections.

Sharyn's work is focused on improving the descriptive metadata for the second group of images. Originally, Tim Johnson of Special Collections & Rare Books was filling out a spreadsheet organized via the University Libraries Metadata Core (a.k.a. the IMAGES metadata core). This proved an imperfect fit for much of the data, however, because the core does not have the capacity to denote surrogates or "children" of a record. Thus, records for individual scanned images were sagging under the weight of also carrying information about the parent book.

Through consultation with Stephen Hearn, who had solid knowledge of the new Descriptive Metadata Guidelines for RLG Cultural Materials, I decided that the best approach was to populate the data first in the new RLG style, and do the conversion back into IMAGES-friendly metadata later. This has two advantages:


  1. The RLG guidelines allow for "work-surrogate" relationships, giving us more flexibility; and
  2. The conversion of data from one format into another is done on our time, rather than RLG's - important as this project is past due.

The strategy will be to populate "work" records (individual books) with creator(s) [including author, publisher, artist if applicable], title, subjects, pub date, pub city, and notes. Surrogate records will consist solely of an image and its caption (consisting of page number, as well as illustration number and title if available).

Sharyn's great work on the War Posters project, also a part of RLG/CMI, bodes well for the success of this project. This represents the first official project under an arrangement in which Sharyn will be working in the metadata arena for approximately 50% of her time.

-John