Sunday, December 11, 2005

User contributions

Several unrelated discussions this week involved the subject of user contributions for digital collections.

The contentdm listserv discussed web 2.0 applications and how we could integrate them into digital content management systems. Interestingly, most librarians were in favor of allowing users to comment on digital objects in appropriate collections. Another comment was that our collections don’t have a critical mass of exposure to be self moderating, and the consensus seemed to be that librarians would need to moderate the user contributions.

The Internet Librarian article by Joseph Janes in the December issue of American Libraries discusses the role librarians can play in helping preserve genealogical information. Janes suggests that we can play a bigger role in helping people document their information, and he mentioned as an example of a grassroots movement to document photographs. This led me to explore flickr and open an account. It’s interesting to explore a site that’s been created without authority control. Users are struggling with singular vs. plural forms of words, and how to enter tags with two words. At the same time, authority control and rules for tags would make this site more technical and less appealing to novice users (and not as much fun). An interesting observation--Flickr is experimenting with creating clusters of similar subjects.

Finally, the Wikipedia story brings up accountability for anonymous contributions. There’s also the deeper issue of correct information for signed contributions. How can this be resolved? We assume that someone supplying missing information knows what they’re talking about. But if we let users supply missing information about digital objects, how do we know that it’s the correct information? To tie this into the contentdm listserv thread, what’s the critical mass needed to properly regulate user contributions? We assume that most people want to help supply missing information, but how can we weed out the few exceptions to the rule? Personally, I think that users should participate in our collection, but I’m not sure how this should be implemented.


Other explorations for the week took me down the path of cascading style sheets. (When I was in school I didn’t think I’d be designing web sites, but one of the exciting things about this career is that I’ll always be learning new stuff.)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Weekly projects

Last week's projects:

  • Troubleshooting streaming video for the project (final result here). I’m not happy with the display of the metadata for the individual items. The user must click on the part that they want information for, and then choose page description from the dropdown list. Why would a normal user associate “page description” with a description of a video clip? I think most users will just view the item without seeing the metadata we’ve created.
  • Learning how to creating structural metadata for books with chapters (example). This was one of my jobs at Harvard, and we used a program by CCS called docWORKS. It performed OCR, automatically created structural metadata (with human assistance), and exported a METS file. This was much quicker and easier than determining how to create the directory structure for ContentDM, and renaming all of the files to coincide with how we want them displayed.
  • Working on my first-year tenure review documentation (due tomorrow!!!).

Other thoughts:

A new wiki for digitization issues was released. This has the potential to be of great use to me as I’m learning all about digitization of various formats.

On a more personal level, I met with the flute professor at ISU this week to discuss how to become more involved with the flute community in the area. With so much invested in my flute background, I’m really hoping to be able to continue performing. Of course, this is even more difficult than learning how to do a new job, and doing both at the same time is overwhelming.

The online edition of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star mentioned my blog several weeks ago. Unfortunately I didn’t find it until they had removed the page (I found it in the Google cache). Following is the review:

“How I metalibrarian ...

Blogging to "help with her own professional development and to organize helpful information" is Amy Jackson, the new Metadata and Digitial Initiatives Librarian (or metalibrarian, as she calls her blog) at Indiana State University.

She is involved with a project the Tribune-Star and recently featured on its unveiling -- the Wabash Valley Visions and Voices digital memory project, a collaborative effort by many groups in the Valley to preserve the region's history and heritage in print, pictures and sound.

She has but a few entries in her metalibrarian blog to date, but data and history buffs could gain some interesting insights into the WV3 project as it continues to develop.”