Ever so often there comes the time when you have to make sure that some of your data is accurate and consistent. The lowest hanging fruit, or the obvious, are making sure codes are correct in your ILS. This is a relatively simple fix typically involved querying the database and then running a global update of some sort. Of course, the terminology and exact procedures of doing this vary from ILS to ILS but the principle is the same. Hopefully, any fixes don’t involve mucking around with the shelf-list that then involve major relabeling and enormous staff time with items being off the shelf for months or years at a time. But what about your digital collections. I know of two: Greenstone and Digital Commons.
The digital library application Greenstone has several important folders for each collection. One of the folders contains what is called the “metadata.xml” file. This file contains all the descriptive metadata for all the digital objects in that collection. To check for accuracy and consistency, open this file in an XML editor or even in Notepad. You can check the entire file, do search and replaces, check spelling and the like. When you’re done with your edits, save the file as “metadata.xml” in the folder where it was when you opened it. As an aside, if you need to batch load items into Greenstone, you create the “metadata.xml” file according the Greenstone DTD and simple save the “metadata.xml” file to the collection folder (note that you have to create the collection in Greenstone beforehand).
In Digital Commons, there is a function called “Batch Revise”. You will need to have Bepress activite this function for you either for all series or for a particular series. You can activate the “xml function” or the “spreadsheet function”; it all depends on your comfort level of working in xml or with excel spreadsheets. When you log in as an administrator, go to the series where you would like to check the metadata. On the left hand sidebar, find “Batch Revise” and click on it. In the new window, click generate. After some time, perhaps a minute or so depending on the number of articles in the series, a file will appear at the bottom of the page in either xml or as an excel spreadsheet. Open this file and take a look at the data. If you do any changes, save the file with a different name anywhere on your computer (as of today you need to save the excel spreadsheets in version 97), go back to the series page. Browse for you file that you just saved and click upload. An email will be sent to you as to whether this was successful or not and then you can update the site.
Don’t forget your maintenance needs either in your ILS or your digital collections. Even UNC is looking into metadata maintenance through a grant that will:
address growing metadata maintenance needs threatening to stem the accelerated growth of NC Health Info (NCHI) and the entire Go Local Initiative. Incorporating automatic techniques into NCHI’s metadata generation/quality control processes will allow NCHI catalogers to direct more time to the metadata challenges requiring human skill and intellect and ultimately assist users who are increasingly using NCHI metadata to help them find health information.
Do you have any maintenance tips you want to share? Leave a comment.