Metadata here, metadata there, metadata metadata everywhere!

I have been struck this week by the number of places we hold metadata about the same organisation / entity. OK, they may be used for different reasons and contain different information but as far as I am aware, there is absolutely no way of linking all of this information together.

For example, the UK federation holds metadata about Service Providers – often publishers. It is for a very specific purpose. It is openly available, as an xml file, but I’m not sure if that would qualify properly as ‘open data’ πŸ™‚ A typical example is below (angle brackets stripped as it upset my blog) – prepare to be thrilled:

!–
ScienceDirect Service provider.

βˆ’
Extensions
ukfedlabel:UKFederationMember/
/Extensions
βˆ’
SPSSODescriptor protocolSupportEnumeration=”urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:protocol”
βˆ’
KeyDescriptor
βˆ’
ds:KeyInfo
ds:KeyName>sdauth.sciencedirect.com</ds:KeyName
βˆ’
ds:X509Data
βˆ’
ds:X509Certificate
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/ds:X509Certificate
/ds:X509Data
/ds:KeyInfo
/KeyDescriptor
NameIDFormaturn:mace:shibboleth:1.0:nameIdentifier/NameIDFormat
AssertionConsumerService Binding="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.0:profiles:browser-post" Location="https://sdauth.sciencedirect.com/SHIRE/SAML/POST" index="1"/
AssertionConsumerService Binding="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.0:profiles:browser-post" Location="https://cdc315-sdauth.sciencedirect.com/SHIRE/SAML/POST" index="2"/
/SPSSODescriptor
βˆ’
Organization
OrganizationName xml:lang="en"Elsevier B.V.</OrganizationName
OrganizationDisplayName xml:lang="en"Elsevier: ScienceDirect</OrganizationDisplayName
OrganizationURL xml:lang="en"http://www.info.sciverse.com/sciencedirect/</OrganizationURL
/Organization
βˆ’
ContactPerson contactType="support"
GivenNameElsevier Shibboleth Support/GivenName
EmailAddressmailto:shibbolethsupport@elsevier.com/EmailAddress
/ContactPerson
βˆ’
ContactPerson contactType="technical"
GivenNameElsevier Shibboleth Support/GivenName
EmailAddressmailto:shibbolethsupport@elsevier.com/EmailAddress
/ContactPerson
/EntityDescriptor

So where else can I find metadata about ScienceDirect? Well separate from the metadata, the UK federation has ‘metadata’ about the service in a service description on its website.

Well there is some information on the JISC Collections website here – but unfortunately you have to login in to get most of the useful information. I’m guessing ’66’ is some kind of unique identifier for ScienceDirect within the JISC Collection catalogue in the same way that the EntityID is some kind of unique identifier for the federation. I’m also guessing that there will be metadata about ScienceDirect in the Elcat service that is up and coming. Another JISC Collections Service – JUSP – will also hold metadata about ScienceDirect.

There is more metadata here on the IESR. I’m not sure if this is used by anyone as a metadata source. Their IESR identifier is 1242129353-10949.

Getting on to the institutions, I’m guessing metadata about ScienceDirect is held in lots of places – in a catalogue, in services such as MetaLib and other link management solutions, in portals etc. etc. etc.

Then there are national level catalogues – SUNCAT, OCLC etc. etc.

Now I’m only really interested in a personal capacity in the federation metadata but I can’t help wondering if it would be useful to join all of this up a bit more to provide a coherent view of a resource? The clearly lacking piece of information here is anyway of uniquely identifying ScienceDirect that could be used by all of these sources.

Questions perhaps for the SCONUL ERM Project?? So for example the Wolverhampton case study might wish to pull information from Elcat, from the JISC Collections website and from the UK federation service description to answer the ‘conditions of access’. The University of the Creative Arts ‘usage data’ proposition might look to pull information from RAPTOR, an OpenAthens admin interface, JUSP and publisher websites. Looking at the case studies for this metadata aggregation has to start improving the picture.

For me, I will continue to monitor curiously, think about the benefits of Collection Level Identifiers (which never seem to have taken off) and wonder how we might take advantage of such developments to improve metadata management within federations.

3 thoughts on “Metadata here, metadata there, metadata metadata everywhere!

  1. Scott Wilson

    All education organisations in the UK have a UK Provider Reference Number (UKPRN) used across the various agencies and gov depts, and which are maintained here:

    http://www.ukrlp.co.uk/

    So thats a handy way to tie together any records about the same education provider (HE, FE, schools, private training etc).

  2. Nicole Harris

    Hmmm, but just using my example…ScienceDirect isn’t in there. The only Elsevier product mentioned is “Reed Elsevier Lexis Nexis”. Seems to be more about resources that are used by government departments than by educational institutions??

  3. Scott Wilson

    Its actually the register of companies, not their products and services.

    Its more of use for mapping institutions – e.g University of Bolton is always UKPRN: 10006841 (despite three name changes in the past decade).

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