Community:Collections and Metadata/VocabWorkshop

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NSDL Vocabulary Workshop

The goal of of the NSDL Vocabulary Workshop, scheduled for June 10-11, 2004 at Greenberg House, Washington, DC, is to begin to make recommendations for controlled vocabularies for NSDL. In the first year of NSDL, at the initial organizational meeting, recommendations for metadata formats were made. Since the release of in December 2002, it has become clear that:

  • (1) NSDL collections are looking for guidance on use of standard controlled vocabularies for topical representation of their materials;
  • (2) Diversity of approaches to controlled vocabulary terms for <format> and <type> have hindered discovery of NSDL resources;
  • (3) NSDL projects and collections could benefit from a strategy for managing community developed vocabulary schemes in a supportable manner;
  • (4) A strategy for managing vocabulary change and integration of new technologies and techniques for vocabulary management will require the NSDL to update its guidelines and policies to accommodate future needs.

The envisioned outcomes of this workshop include:

  • General and specific recommendations for use of standard vocabularies by NSDL projects, including:
  • Identification and specification of a standardized vocabulary for Audience within the NSDL
  • Initial exploration of the feasibility of determining an educational Type term list for use within the NSDL
  • Guidelines for managing and updating vocabulary values in for NSDL vocabulary terms
  • Recommendations for management and exposure of local vocabularies by NSDL projects
  • Strategies for encouraging use and appropriate management of vocabularies within NSDL

The workshop is intended to bring together experts in educational vocabularies and controlled vocabulary management within the NSDL and to emerge with recommendations and strategic directions for the short and long term. Attendees, all invited, will examine the work of the NSDL so far, particularly its policies, experience and guidelines on controlled vocabulary use within metadata, and propose a direction for future work.

Clearly, enabling and encouraging more widespread use of controlled vocabularies (primarily for Subject, Format, Type and Audience) would significantly enhance the value and usability of NSDL metadata. Several developments in the larger metadata world move us closer to a standard method to accomplish this goal in the short term, as well as the longer term in the context of automated metadata generation.

Simple Dublin Core, the base format required by the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), does not support the expression of controlled vocabularies, but Qualified Dublin Core does. Making the point to collections that it is worth their while to go the extra distance to expose Qualified DC would be a necessary first step. Other metadata formats also support expression of controlled vocabularies, and the NSDL Metadata Repository is currently planning to enable harvesting of formats other than DC in early 2004.

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) has discussed the release of an open registry allowing registration of vocabularies and encoding schemes (at first, registration would be limited to subject vocabularies registered by their owning or maintenance agency). The registry would allow the assignment of standard

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