Contextual Wrappers 2

packaging University museum collections information as part of open metadata provision

Collection-records of collections of collections of collection-records – the sometimes convoluted world of aggregation

The project has been active in several areas, following a team meeting at end of Feb, which saw the project further align with the Open Book project, (

Activities include dissemination of the consultation findings through different stakeholder channels and further engaging with University Museums to confirm focus groups sessions in May and June to review the prototype search services that the project will develop over March/April.

The first of the focus-groups should be in late April at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, combining with the engagement activities for Open Book.  Another is confirmed for 14th May at The Egypt Centre, University of Swansea, ( ) in conjunction with ACCES, the Subject Specialist Network for museum curators looking after archaeological collections from Egypt and Sudan ( ).  Other focus groups are being confirmed with UCL, through join-up with the OBL4HE project ( ; The University of Aberdeen and  Queens University Belfast.

A major activity prior to next aggregator-system & interface developments is producing an application-profile for ‘Grid-collections’ i.e. for the collections of resource-discovery records that the Culture Grid aggregates.  These are required to support consumers of data from Culture Grid – to easily understand the scope and usage-terms of the ‘collections’ that Culture Grid  provides; developers to potentially build interfaces based on the relationships inherent in these records; and for service-management purposes, such as reporting etc.

Producing this application-profile is proving to be something of a brain-twister, as Culture Grid as an aggregation-service ingests and holds collections of item-records; collections of collection-records; and collections of institution-records, all of which potentially have poly-hierarchical relationships and associations with one-another, so the situation could arise where a collection record of collections of collections of collection-records would be required!

The aim is to try to reduce this potential complexity to something fairly simple to implement and the approach taken to try to achieve this is to test the RSLP-based application-profile that was developed for the first Wrappers project as a basis for the Grid-collection records, by doing some sample cataloguing of the different kinds of ‘collections’ within Culture Grid, to see which elements should be mandatory, which controlled or constrained, and any extra elements to include etc.

This exercise also includes looking at the use of the JACS vocabulary for subject-terms to potentially allow subject-browsing for HE audiences at the level of ‘Grid-collections’.  (JACS has been incorporated into the Culture Grid Terminology Bank, ( for this purpose.)  The profile-investigations have also included a revisit of the RSLP schema ( and the DC collection-application-profile  (  The results of these explorations should be known shortly to inform second iteration developments.

A similar exercise testing the CW1 profile, is also to be undertaken by The Fitzwilliam with regard to other University of Cambridge collections; and the ACCES SSN are looking at applying it for their records of archaeological collections from Egypt and Sudan in the UK, particularly with regard to adding basic excavation information as part of their collection records and controlling temporal and spatial terms by appropriate authority-lists.

Phill Purdy,
Culture Grid Manager, Collections Trust


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