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Archives, museums and libraries: breaking the metadata silos

Citation: Gartner, Richard and Mouren, Raphaele (2019) Archives, museums and libraries: breaking the metadata silos. In: 85th IFLA General Conference and Assembly, 24-30 August 2019, Athens. (In Press)


Creative Commons: Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

To overcome impediments to access for the rich collections held in cultural heritage institutions, some alignment of metadata standards and a consequent enhancement of interoperability are essential. The three sectors in which much of our cultural heritage is to be found, libraries, archives and museums, each employ different approaches to metadata which make interoperability between them, and consequently between the constituencies and communities within which they were defined, difficult to achieve. This paper introduces a metadata strategy devised for the Photographic Collection of the Warburg Institute, London, which aims to break down some of the barriers between these approaches. This strategy employs established XML-based metadata schemas from the digital library community as the basis for establishing interoperable metadata. It uses CIDOC-CRM (the core standard from the museum sector) as a conceptual backbone for metadata structures but then serializes the data model produced into standards from the library sector such as MODS for descriptive metadata and METS for packaging. The resulting metadata can also interoperate to some extent with EAD, the established standard in the archives sector, by utilising existing crosswalks. This strategy allows the metadata requirements of all three sectors to be accommodated in interoperable, easily-managed schemes. It should allow an important step to be taken towards moving metadata practices within archives, museums and libraries in the same direction.

Creators: Gartner, Richard (0000-0003-1422-4067) and Mouren, Raphaele and
Subjects: Digital Humanities
Keywords: Metadata, interoperability, XML CIDOC-CRM, METS, EAD, museums, libraries, archives.
Divisions: Warburg Institute
Collections: Legal Biography
  • 15 April 2019 (accepted)
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