Visual Arts, Museums and Cultural Heritage Metadata Workshop 1997 Report
VADS * ADAM * MDA * SCRAN * AHDS * UKOLN
A report of the results of the metadata workshop organised by the Visual Arts Data Service in Edinburgh, March 1997 and the resulting process of review and consultation
Last updated: 6th August 1997
The Visual Arts Data Service, in partnership with the Art, Design, Architecture and Media Information Gateway, the Museum Documentation Association and the Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network, held a workshop to examine the descriptive information needed to enable the discovery of visual arts, museums and cultural heritage resources on the Internet, particularly in the form of digital images.
Metadata, the term used for descriptive information about electronic information resources, is now generally acknowledged as being vital to enable the effective retrieval of information in our increasingly-complex digital networked information environment. However, the development of standards for the creation of effective metadata has in the past been hampered by the conflicting needs of diverse disciplines. The Dublin Core initiative attempts to address this difficulty by bringing together people from diverse disciplines, in an attempt to discover "a simple set of common description elements that authors (or content managers) could embed in their documents to promote their discovery — something like a catalogue card for a network resource. The term 'Dublin Core' applies to this simple core of descriptive elements."
The workshop sought to discover the main concepts required for resource description and discovery within the visual arts, museums and cultural heritage disciplines in order to:
This workshop was part of a series of five discipline-specific metadata workshops, organised by the Arts and Humanities Data Service and the UK Office for Library Networking with funding from the Joint Information Systems Committee of the Higher Education Funding Councils.
A wider context of resource discovery issues for this domain was provided in the following document which was produced in advance of the workshop. Visual Arts, Museums and Cultural Heritage Information Standards: a domain specific review of relevant standards for networked information discovery. Tony Gill, Catherine Grout and Louise Smith. This document, produced jointly by VADS and MDA personnel, helped to ensure that all participants shared a common understanding of the relevant domain-specific standards already developed.
For a list of workshop participants, a full list of briefing papers, and a summary of workshop events see 6.
In the two months which followed the workshop a detailed report was produced. The first sections included a description of the workshop program, a list of attendees and a review of the events of the workshop. The second section contained the Edinburgh Recommendations for visual arts, cultural heritage and museums metadata which were a direct response to the issues and problems raised at the workshop.
The draft report was circulated widely for comment and discussion. It was also subject to a rigorous process of review by an editorial group elected at the workshop, see 3.
This report, which is intended to represent the current position, but also to point towards issues which still need to be resolved, aims to fulfil the following requirements:
While this report represents the current position, as there are many unresolved issues (for a summary, see 3.5), we would like to continue to invite comment on the contents of this report and its recommendations particularly from members of the visual arts, museum and cultural heritage communities.
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