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Introduction to METS

Wednesday, 24 Jun 2009 | by Mark Tucker

The Challenges

One of the challenges that need to be solved for online source citation is the ability to give structure to digital assets. Think of an online book that consists of a hundred images each representing a page. There are other images for the cover, title page, etc. There might even be text documents, audio files, or video associated with it. How do we keep track of all those individual files and relate them as a single digital entity? That is part of the problem that METS is trying to solve. In online citations, we also have the issue of source provenance. Where did the digital image file for the census come from? It came from a microfilm copy of the original census. Is it possible that METS can help keep track of this provenance? What about complex sources that are part of a collection in a series part of a record group at an archive? Can MET be used to keep track of this hierarchal information?

Let’s explore the basics of METS to see if we can find some answers.

Metadata Encoding & Transmission Standard – METS

Basically a METS document consists of 7 major sections:

1. METS Header
2. Descriptive Metadata
3. Administrative Metadata
4. File Section
5. Structual Map
6. Structual Links
7. Behavior

METS is usually used to manage digital assets where there is at least one digital file, but it doesn’t have to. The sections that are interesting for our discussion are Descriptive Metadata, Administrative Metadata, and Structual Map.

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Better Online Citations – Details Part 5 (MODS)

Monday, 22 Jun 2009 | by Mark Tucker

MODS

In this post, we continue our exploration through existing bibliographic standards to see how they might work as a format for online sites to easily share citation information.  To see the journey we have made so far, visit the page, A Better Way to Cite Online Sources.

From the Library of Congress standards page for MODS, we see the following description:

Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS) is a schema for a bibliographic element set that may be used for a variety of purposes, and particularly for library applications.

On the MODS overview page, we get more details:

As an XML schema it is intended to be able to carry selected data from existing MARC 21 records as well as to enable the creation of original resource description records. It includes a subset of MARC fields and uses language-based tags rather than numeric ones, in some cases regrouping elements from the MARC 21 bibliographic format. This schema is currently in draft status…
…the schema does not target round-tripability with MARC 21. In other words, an original MARC 21 record converted to MODS may not convert back to MARC 21 in its entirety without some loss of specificity in tagging or loss of data. In some cases if reconverted into MARC 21, the data may not be placed in exactly the same field that it started in because a MARC field may have been mapped to a more general one in MODS.

Compared to MARC, MODS is simplier and uses word tags (like name, titleInfo, and originInfo) instead of numeric tags (100, 245, 260).  There is not a 1 to 1 mapping between MARC and MODS, so conversion between the two might introduce some challenges.

Let’s look at the book example used in the analysis of the other standards:

Geary, Edward A. A History of Emery County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1996.

The Library of Congress represents this book in MODS here.

The three key pieces of information (author, title, and publication) are represented in MODS as follows:

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Better Online Citations – Details Part 4 (MARC XML)

Saturday, 20 Jun 2009 | by Mark Tucker

MARC XML

Previous posts have explored a better way to cite online sources (Part 1), how citation information can be stored as a file using GEDCOM format (Part 2) and MARC format (Part 3). This post takes the next logical step and discusses MARC XML.

MARC was created as a machine-readable format many decades ago. In the last decade, eXtensible Markup Language (XML) has been developed as a standard format to allow validation, processing, and transformation of data. MARC XML takes the MARC format and represents it as XML. This is done in a lossless way so that conversions between MARC and MARC XML will not lose any data.

A book represented as a Source List Entry in Evidence Explained looks like this:

Geary, Edward A. A History of Emery County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1996.

That same book listed with the Library of Congress is shown here as MARC XML.

Let’s quickly compare the MARC entries for author, title, and publication with the corresponding representation in MARC XML.

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Better Online Citations – Details Part 3 (MARC)

Saturday, 20 Jun 2009 | by Mark Tucker

marc21h2

Over the past few months, I have shared an idea about how to make citing online sources easier.  You can find out more about this on the page, A Better Way to Cite Online Sources.  Some of the suggestions that came from the survey and posts Details Part 1 and Details Part 2 (GEDCOM) was why not use an existing standard. 

One of the suggestions was using Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS).  MODS is a “schema for a bibliographic element set that may be used for a variety of purposes, and particularly for library applications.” and is maintained by the Library of Congress.1

 Now I suspect I will talk more about MODS in a future post, but the reason I bring it up now is because immediately in researching MODS I came across another acronymn, MARC. MARC stands for MAchine-Readable Cataloging and the MARC formats are “standards for the representation and communication of bibliographic and related information in machine-readable form.”2 Most of the discussion I came across dealt with MARC 21 which (according to Understanding MARC Bibliographic: Machine-Readable Cataloging) is “the standard used by most library computer programs.”

 Now let’s return to the specific case identified in the video, “A Better Way to Cite Online Sources.”  We have a website that identifies a book source.  One of the three representations of a citation found in Evidence Explained is a Source List Entry or in other words a bibliographic entry:

 Evidence Explained - Book Basic Format - Source List Entry

So the book, A History of Emery County would look like this:

Geary, Edward A. A History of Emery County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1996.

 The main parts (or fields) of the entry are:

  1. Author
  2. Title (main & sub)
  3. Publication (place, publisher, year)

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My Great Grandfather Cartoonized

Friday, 12 Jun 2009 | by Mark Tucker

Two days ago I discussed my new cartoon profile picture and talked about my interest in making a cartoon version of one of my ancestors.  One of my favorite ancestors is my great grandfather, Worth Tucker.  I have few pictures of him and what I do have is the result of too much photocopying.  The picture is grainy.

For this cartoon, I decided to do it all myself without the middle step of the Cartoon Me website.

Here are both the original photo and the cartoon version:

Worth Tucker Cartoon

 

What do you think?

The New Me (as a Cartoon)

Wednesday, 10 Jun 2009 | by Mark Tucker

I have received some positive feedback on my new profile picture. Others have asked where I got it. So here is the story.

Last week I was traveling around the internet and came across the website for Cartoon Me. They provide a service where you can upload a photo and within 72 hours an artist will digitally render that image as a cartoon. The cost is €3.50 EUR which turns out to be $5.09 USD. So I powered up my PayPal account, uploaded a photo and hoped for the best. The process for submitting a photo is easy.

Two days later I received an e-mail containing a GIF image that closely matched the photo I uploaded:

Cartoon Me

The look was good, but not quite what I had in mind.

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