[OAI-implementers] Sets in and subjects in OAI-PMH

Caroline Arms caar@loc.gov
Wed, 22 Oct 2003 14:02:06 -0400 (EDT)


I'm not sure if it was clear from my message, that the white paper I
pointed to was a discussion paper written 2 years ago to begin discussions
on the degree to which version 2 of the protocol should formalize or guide
the use of sets.  The issues at the bottom were discussed and what you see
in the current protocol is what came out of those discussion.  What was
implemented in version 2 was the ability to use any XML Schema for set
description.  This would allow communities to establish their own
practices.  And XML Schemas developed for one community might be adopted
in others.

I can see reason for wanting branding at the set level, but I have been
more interested in getting rich set descriptions out there to see if
harvesters found them useful [the answer from the harvesters I care about
has been "yes"].  I used Dublin Core because it was there.  If someone
else wanted to create a schema that added a branding element, I would use
it.  It's not clear to me that my repository branding icon is actually
being used anywhere, and so this hasn't been top of my priority list.

 Caroline Arms                                       caar@loc.gov
 Library of Congress


On Wed, 22 Oct 2003, Steve Sarapata wrote:

> ENC uses sets. After reviewing the white paper below I think expanding
> ListSets may solve quite a few problems. One issue I need to deal with
> is recognition of partners and funding agencies through a logo, or icon.
> I assign a <setSpec> value in the header which the NSDL folks in turn
> look up and display. For my purposes a tag in ListSets such as <setLogo>
> or <setBrand> may provide more standardization, flexibility and utility
> across the OAI community.
> Steve
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Caroline Arms [mailto:caar@loc.gov] 
> Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2003 9:53 AM
> To: Hussein Suleman
> Cc: oai-implementers@oaisrv.nsdl.cornell.edu
> Subject: Re: [OAI-implementers] Sets in and subjects in OAI-PMH
> On Tue, 21 Oct 2003, Hussein Suleman wrote:
> > 
> > p.s. is LCSH international? is it used in South Africa? Ethiopia?
> > 
> No. LCSH is not international.  It is used in many places, but the
> policies and practices do not include an attempt to serve international
> needs (to judge from discussions of the problem issues that required
> policy decisions, when I had a detail to the part of LC that maintains
> LCSH).  LCSH is also enormous.  I remember an analysis in the fairly
> early
> days of OAI by Old Dominion that implied that LC didn't use controlled
> vocabulary in its subject terms in OAI records, because of the number of
> distinct terms in our records.
> Back to sets in OAI.
> I agree that discussion about what is useful for harvesters is valuable.
> If there is good evidence that certain practices for sets work for
> certain categories of service providers, data providers who care
> about whether or how their stuff appears in those particular services
> may take steps to use sets that aren't related to internal processes or
> organization.  Absent any such evidence, you can hardly blame them for
> doing what is easy.  And for many, there are no resources to do
> anything more than a simple technical transformation from internal
> records.
> For what it's worth, the issue of how early implementer were using sets
> was looked at in the technical discussions that led to the development
> of
> version 2 of OAI-PMH.  
> "Out of 49 repositories, 39 are using sets. Of these 13 appear to
> partition their collection by subject area, 13 by genre, and 9 by source
> of records."
> See the table at the end of 
> http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/distributed-systems/oai/collection-description/wh
> itepaper.html
> for more detail.  [Thanks to Andy Powell for being a pack-rat and still
> having the file at the URL I found by mining my e-mail!]
> It's not clear that anyone was using sets to provide fine-grained
> subject
> breakdowns (which some repositories now are).  There may be communities
> of
> interest where that is useful and feasible, but in the cultural heritage
> area (personal papers, digitized, manuscripts, photographs, museum
> artifacts, etc.) there is plenty of evidence that agreement on "topical"
> terminology and rules for application across heterogeneous domains is
> neither feasible, nor indeed helpful.
> For the content in the LCOA1 repository, LC has more interest in
> creating
> sets that are useful for Kat Hagedorn (OAIster) and Sara Shreeves (UIUC)
> and other service providers that focus on building services that are
> likely to serve people to whom our digitized historical content is of
> interest.  My sense is that a set breakdown that suits those service
> -providers (and this sort of content) would be very different from a
> breakdown that is useful for current scientific scholarly communication.
> Perhaps providers of production services can indicate if this list
> is a useful forum for discussing what practices in relation to sets make
> sense to them.  They may be having discussions within a community
> through
> other lists or meetings.
>    Caroline Arms                                      caar@loc.gov
>    Library of Congress
>    Office of Strategic Initiatives
> **** All views expressed are personal *********
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