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Friday, June 24, 2011

TRAC: B5.2: Descriptive metadata and the AIP

B5.2 Repository captures or creates minimum descriptive metadata and ensures that it is associated with the archived object (i.e., AIP).

The repository has to show how it gets its required metadata. Does it require the producers to provide it (refusing a deposit that lacks it) or does it supply some metadata itself during ingest?

Associating the metadata with the object is important, though it does not require a one-to-one correspondence, and metadata need not necessarily be stored with the AIP. Hierarchical schemes of description allow some descriptive elements to be associated with many items. The association should be unbreakable—it must never be lost even if other associations are created.

Evidence: Descriptive metadata; persistent identifier/locator associated with AIP; system documentation and technical architecture; depositor agreements; metadata policy documentation, incorporating details of metadata requirements and a statement describing where responsibility for its procurement falls; process workflow documentation.

ICPSR requires very little metadata from producers.  We do need the essentials:  What does this two digit number in columns 44 and 45 mean?  But we do not require producers to provide other types of metadata that might be useful for building finding aids.  The production and review of metadata is a primary output of our workflow.

Metadata tends to reside in two different places.  Some of it is co-located with the data it documents, and people would find it in the codebook or in a DDI XML description of the study or dataset.  In other cases the metadata resides in a different location, a relational database (to support dissemination) or in DDI XML files (to support archival storage).

ICPSR has many (maybe even all of) the items listed in the evidence section above.  We have depositor agreements.  We have (lots of) process workflow documentation.  We have descriptive metadata.

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