RDA’s Controlled Vocabulary

Lynne LeGrow recently posted a piece on the controlled vocabulary that RDA uses for carrier type on her blog Cataloging Aids. It can seem daunting when one finds out the number of options involved with RDA.

Some options for controlled vocabularies are:

The best place that I have found thus far to get a list of all these different types is at the Metadata Registry from the National Science Digital Library.

From their webpage, NSDL explains that:

The NSDL Metadata Registry is a fundamental piece of technical infrastructure for the Semantic Web. While originally built to support the National Science Digital Library (NSDL), the Registry is available openly and to all who wish to use its services.

The Registry provides a means for to identify, declare and publish through registration their metadata schemas (element/property sets), schemes (controlled vocabularies) and Application Profiles (APs). In addition to supporting registration of schemes, schemas and APs for consumption and use by human and machine agents, the NSDL Registry will support the machine mapping of relationships among terms and concepts in those schemes (semantic mappings) and schemas (crosswalks). Thus, the Registry will support the key goals of metadata discovery, reuse, standardization and interoperability locally and globally.

The Registry used as its inspiration the open-source Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) Registry. The Registry extended the original DCMI goals to support: (1) the automated creation and maintenance of schemas and application profiles; and (2) the submission of schemas and schemes to a registry workflow for review and publication. All of the development work leverages the latest knowledge and standards for networked knowledge organization systems, schema and application profile declaration, and registry development.

The NSDL Metadata Registry project was funded by the National Science Foundation for its first three years. It is currently managed by Metadata Management Associates, a consulting partnership committed to maintaining the Registry as an open system.

This project goes beyond just providing lists. You have the option of subscribing to new changes and additions to the Registry by adding it to your preferred feed reader. Some of the latest changes all deal with RDA. Each list has the namespace, the list of controlled vocabulary and their URI’s, the history and who maintains the list. Also, the Registry offers views of the list, in RDF, or in a XML schema. Here’s the example of the schema for media type:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding = "UTF-8"?><xs:schema

        <xs:documentation xml:lang="en">
            RDA Media Type XML Schema
            XML Schema for http://RDVocab.info/termLIst/RDAMediaType namespace
            Date created: 2008-05-25 06:35:45
            Date of last update: 2008-05-25 06:35:45
            Based on RDA Media Type table 3.1 in the final draft of RDA dated Oct. 31, 2008.
            Further information about this Vocabulary is available at http://RDVocab.info/termLIst/RDAMediaType.html

    <xs:simpleType name="DCMIType">
        <xs:restriction base="xs:string">
            <xs:enumeration value="Audio"/><xs:enumeration value="Computer"/><xs:enumeration value="Microform"/><xs:enumeration value="Microscopic"/><xs:enumeration value="Projected"/><xs:enumeration value="Stereoscopic"/><xs:enumeration value="Unmediated"/><xs:enumeration value="Video"/>        </xs:restriction>


Even though there are what seem to be an overwhelming amount of RDA lists, take a look anyway. This is a powerful tool and has loads of useful information about RDA controlled vocabulary.


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