packaging University museum collections information as part of open metadata provision
In line with the Discovery Open Metadata principles, (http://discovery.ac.uk/businesscase/principles/ ) the project takes the approach of advocating for open licensing of metadata and also applying a layered approach wherein appropriate licenses can be applied to different types and formats or instances of metadata.
Within this approach it is also important that rights statements about the ‘resource’ being described are recorded within the metadata, so for item records that would be rights information about the item being described and for collection records rights information about a collection as a whole.
Additionally, the project’s development of records about collections within the Culture Grid (http://www.culturegrid.org.uk/ ) meant that a concise summary of the overall legal status of a collection within the Culture Grid could be made. This further supports appropriate use of resources and metadata by a variety of end users as the full range of rights conditions within an aggregated collection can be easily made transparent.
One of the advantages and main reasons for the project taking this approach is that it is a good fit within a service model that includes different aggregation and discovery points, e.g. where Culture Grid is a metadata provider for Europeana, the European cultural portal (http://europeana.eu/ ). So the rights management process becomes: an institution assigns rights and licence statements about its items and their representations in its item metadata; then makes a more limited format of item-metadata available to Culture Grid for resource discovery under an open licence, such as CCO or Open Government Licence; and Culture Grid in turn reformats that metadata into Europeana’s resource discovery format under the terms of the Europeana Data Exchange Agreement and Usage Guidelines. In this way users at each ‘discovery point’ are made aware of both the legal status of the items and representations of them and the conditions under which sets of metadata may be used.
To support and develop this approach the project gained insight from the related Open Book project (http://jiscopenbook.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/disambiguating-metadata/ ) and included rights management issues within its consultations (https://contextualwrappers2.wordpress.com/category/consultation/). The latter revealed University Museum practitioners to be very positive about the open licensing of resource discovery metadata, once it was made clear that open licenses were only applied to a reduced format of ‘resource discovery’ metadata and that restricted rights remained for use of items, such as contemporary works of art and their representations, with those rights being recorded in the metadata for users to be aware of.
A future development in this area would be for UMG and UMIS to become signatories of the Open Metadata Principles.