Keith Jeffery, Rebecca Koskela
A 30-minute special session was organised at RDA Plenary 3 Dublin. The intention was to have representatives of as many as possible Working Groups and Interest Groups to discuss their metadata requirements with MIG acting as an umbrella representing MIG, MSDWG and DICIG. We had a good representation (especially at 08:30!) across WGs and IGs although it would have been nice to have greater participation.
Keith Jeffery introduced the work to date. There was agreement on the uses of metadata:
- discover the dataset(s) of interest;
- evaluate them for suitability for the intended purpose;
- understand them in context (i.e. the dataset related to projects, persons, organisations, facilities equipment, publications…);
- allow interoperation in the sense of a homogenous query over heterogeneous datasets
There was discussion on the MIG diagram (Figure 1) that for research datasets we need metadata at three levels: discovery level (covering (1) above), contextual level (covering (2) and (3) above), detailed level (covering (4) above). There was discussion on exactly where the boundaries are and what kinds of metadata fell into which category. After the discussion there was general agreement on the three levels – it was considered a useful model and the MIG plan to verify with use cases was approved strongly.
Figure 1Three-layer Model (see file attachment)
Semantics were also discussed and it was agreed that we need to be able to handle multiple semantics related to the same dataset and multilinguality. This implies full ontology facilities. Various examples of implemented vocabularies in ontologies were discussed. It was indicated that the semantics need to be at contextual layer so that a user can verify the suitability of a dataset for their purpose.
There was discussion on the stages of the dataset lifecycle with particular reference to digital preservation and provenance recording and that relevant metadata must be collected. The problems of metadata collection were discussed and collecting metadata incrementally at east step was encouraged. There is a clear need to come up with guidelines for researchers and other users concerning best practice in metadata management.
There was encouragement that we should work towards a general architectural framework for metadata in RDA and present the work results more widely. The 3-level model is a starting point but needs verification over a range of domains and requirements.
The outline programme of work of MIG was approved and MIG was encouraged to proceed with their work along the plan presented. It was suggested that metadata might form a focus for a future WG/IG chairs meeting (following on from the recent meeting at Garching) to be organized in the USA.