Harvard Depository | Harvard University Archives | Library Digital Initiative | Office for Information Systems
Office for Scholarly Communication | Open Collections Program | Records Management Office | Weissman Preservation Center | Staff Resources
Harvard University Library Notes / January 2007 / No. 1335
ULC's Task Group on Discovery and Metadata Takes Flight
The University Library Council's (ULC) ad hoc Task Group on Discovery and Metadata began its work during the fall of 2006. The need for the Task Group reflects rapidly evolving realities for research libraries in general and for the Harvard Libraries specifically.
A summary of recent developments in discovery and metadata that led to the Task Group, together with the Task Group's charge, are provided below. The Task Group hopes to complete its work by the end of the 2006-2007 academic year. In the course of its work, the Task Group plans to bring in speakers with valuable perspectives on these issues to meet with the committee and to make public presentations to the Harvard library community.
We are surrounded by dramatic developments in how users discover scholarly resources, including:
These have led to a much more aware user population, with new expectations and new habits of searching, browsing, and navigating information spaces.
At the same time, the library community is in upheaval over metadata issues, including:
These two domains are of course closely related: much of the library community's investment in metadata is intended to support discovery.
Several libraries have recently conducted studies in the domains of discovery and metadata that have received a fair amount of attention in the field:
These developments and issues are of enormous importance to the Harvard libraries. Hundreds of Harvard library staff members are engaged in the creation and maintenance of metadata of various sorts. A large part of our technology effort is related to the various catalogs (Aleph, VIA, OASIS, HGL); metadata creation and maintenance systems (Aleph, OLIVIA, HGL); and discovery tools (the portal, MetaLib, SFX). The libraries spend significant dollars to license abstracting and indexing databases (Web of Science, EBSCO, etc.); full-text databases (LexisNexis, Proquest, etc.); and metadata services (OCLC, SFX Knowledge Base, MarcIt, sets of records for electronic collections). Given our level of investment, and the importance of discovery services to Harvard library users, it is critical that library administration be informed about environmental changes, current trends, new thinking, and leading-edge developments in this domain.
The Task Group on Discovery and Metadata will conduct a study of developments and trends in the discovery and metadata domains in order to:
The key deliverables for the Task Group will be:
Members of the Task Group on Discovery and Metadata