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Tuesday, March 23 • 1:00pm - 1:45pm
Re-imagining digital collections metadata: improving workflows and supporting user experience

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Rachel Jaffe & Jess Waggoner, "Building User-focused Digital Collections" Upon review of images in our legacy campus photographs collection into UCSC’s new Samvera-based DAMS, we had a breakthrough moment.  Many of the individual photographs we had ingested clearly belonged to the same event, and most shared identical metadata records. However, the duplicated metadata was not always accurate to a specific image. In examining a set of 21 images of a faculty member and his students, all the images shared the title “Professor X and students.”  However, Professor X doesn’t appear in all the images. As a user, unaware of a photograph of a young woman’s relationship to the whole, I might be very confused. This and other observations led us to consider: How could we better package or present these photos without having to go back and provide unique title and metadata records? What if we bundled these groups of like images together as an “event” set associated with a single parent metadata record? What if we could improve user experience by changing the structure of our digital objects and collections? While these questions arose from a metadata perspective, they dovetailed cleanly with the findings of our undergraduate user testing. This new strategy, designing for optimal usability, not only represents a radical shift in how we are thinking about our objects and their metadata, it enables us to better meet the needs of our undergraduate students by providing desired greater context, reducing cognitive overload, and aiding them in distinguishing the “best” or most representative images.

Devon Murphy, "Critical Metadata: Re-examining Data Transformation " Data transformation tools such as Open Refine and Tableau are increasingly being used by GLAM professionals to process metadata relating to visual collections. However, critical analysis of their usage is limited, especially in relation to critical cataloging or non-Western information protocols. This paper and related demonstration of an Open Refine workflow aims to examine how GLAM professionals can employ critical cataloging practices alongside these tools, as well as their limits. This paper will first introduce the highlighted data transformation tool, Open Refine, and its applications to cataloging/metadata work, then move to a discussion of current critical cataloging best practices. The paper will then culminate in a demonstration of a workflow combining critical cataloging best practices within data transformation, prepping it for use in a catalog, finding aid, or controlled vocabulary. (Examples can include but are not limited to LGBTQ+ artists, Native American artists and art terms).

avatar for Rachel Jaffe

Rachel Jaffe

Digital Content & Metadata Librarian, University of California, Santa Cruz
avatar for Jess Waggoner

Jess Waggoner

User Experience & Web Services Librarian, University of California, Santa Cruz
avatar for Devon Murphy

Devon Murphy

TARO Metadata Analyst, University of Texas at Austin
Researcher and artist focused on critical cataloging; Indigenous knowledge organization systems/GLAMs; art information, including Native American art information; metadata scripting and transformation; information/metadata ethics; the study of collecting, cataloging, and description... Read More →

Tuesday March 23, 2021 1:00pm - 1:45pm CDT