|Metadata Aggregator for Campus Digital Collections|
NEWS UPDATE (June 30, 2002) :
What Is IMAGES ?
Since April 2000, the IMAGES (Images Metadata AGgregator for Enhanced Searching) initiative has addressed a deficiency in the information-seeking landscape at the University of Minnesota. Though rich and diverse digital resources exist across campus, these online digital collections often are unknown to a wider audience. Such resources are inconsistent from site to site in terms of content quality and retrieval precision, utilize divergent and frequently undocumented descriptive standards, and often have only a slim chance of long-term persistence.
Furthermore, those campus departments considering building a digital collection often are deterred by rapidly changing technology, prohibitive entry costs and a lack of sufficient skill sets for all the required processes and tasks. No guarantees of success are available, and the University of Minnesota has few proven mechanisms for the publicity and widespread discovery of new digital collections. With so many obstacles to success, and little guarantee of sustainability once implemented, many potential digital resources remain unavailable.
IMAGES has provided a mixture of technology, tools, standards, and partnerships to 1) more fully exploit the expertise available on campus; 2) provide greater, more thorough access to existing and potential digital collections across the University; and 3) promote the consensus and cooperation that must undergird a strong Digital Library in support of the University's mission. IMAGES has not been forced upon the University community in pursuit of these goals. Instead, it thus far is based upon voluntary participation. IMAGES demonstrates that some centralization and coordination of effort is beneficial to all, and that much greater cooperation need not cost any loss of control over digital content.
IMAGES was conceived as a solution that:
IMAGES: A Campus-Wide Core Metadata Standard
Some digital collections fall within subject or content domains and will mandate descriptive elements that are not part of any other standard. Generally speaking, however, a large percentage of the digital collections produced at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus could share a core group of attributes, that would be conceptually equivalent across databases. Voluntary adoption of a common core of descriptive elements by campus departments and units will assist greatly in constructing a central search gateway for digital content across campus, and undoubtedly will increase the discovery and use of electronic resources being generated in projects at the University.
The University Libraries currently are constructing such a central search gateway. The IMAGES (Image Metadata AGgregation for Enhanced Searching) site is the prototype of this mechanism. The gateway is designed to utilize the images.dtd XML-based descriptive scheme. This standard for description is a synthesis of many of the standards listed above, and combines ease of use with compatibility with major international metadata schemes. IMAGES will permit online users around the world to search the entire campus of the University of Minnesota for digital images in a single query, rather than having to discover multiple project web sites and then search each one. The IMAGES interface also includes "hot links" to take users to individual unit web sites if they wish to limit queries by project, site, or department.
At the present time, the Libraries are working to identify campus units with existing and potential digital image collections, for participation in the IMAGES initiative. IMAGES was deliberately designed to accommodate distributed content, so that individual units will maintain full control over the storage, description and access to their electronic image assets.
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Last Revised: June 7, 2002