METS in Action: Standardization and Interoperability in the Digital Library

  1. 1. Richard Gartner

    Library - Oxford University

  2. 2. Rick Beaubian

    University of California Berkeley

  3. 3. Jerome McDonough

    New York University

  4. 4. Susan Dahl

    University of Alberta

  5. 5. Brian Tingle

    California Digital Library

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The use of SGML/XML for describing collections and
digital objects has been in place since the mid-1990s (for
instance, in the UK's Internet Library of Early Journals (ILEJ)
( <> ) . By the
end of that decade, the EAD ("Encoded Archival Description")
had been developed to give the archivist community an
encoding standard for describing archival collections digitally
and for helping scholars and researchers identify and locate
relevant materials in these collections. However the EAD did
not address the problem of how electronic versions of the
individual items comprising an archival collection could
themselves be described digitally in a standard way.
Such an encoding standard needed to provide a means for
inventorying the individual content files (image files, structured
text files, etc.) comprising an electronic version of an archival
item, applying a structure or structures to these content files,
and associating relevant descriptive and administrative metadata
with both structure and content. Beginning in 1997, a Digital
Library Federation initiative called Making of America II sought
to address this need for a digital object encoding standard, and
out of this initiative came the MOA2.DTD; from these origins,
the current METS ("Metadata Encoding and Transmission
Standard") has developed.
METS is now firmly established within the digital library
community, although the number of projects employing it is still relatively small. It is intended to act as a "MARC standard"
for digital objects, by providing a standardized framework
within which the metadata detailed above may be contained.
This standardization will allow the degree of interoperability
that has prevailed in the cataloguing world to become possible
in the more complex environment of digital objects, and
hopefully facilitate the pooling of digital resources in similar
ways to the union catalogues that MARC has allowed.
This panel session will provide a short introduction to METS
and its history, and show how it is currently implemented,
demonstrating how it offers solutions of wide applicability to
some difficulties presented by the older standards and
techniques. The participants are all members of the METS
Editorial Board, responsible for the maintenance of the standard.
It is intended that each participant will give a short (10-15
minute presentation) and half an hour will be available for
general discussion.
Rick Beaubian, Software Engineer, Digital Library Projects,
University of California, Berkeley, will trace the evolution of
METS from its origins in the Making of America II initiative
to the present, and examine its progress from a relatively narrow
standard primarily targetting archival and traditional library
materials to one that is now also being applied to encoding
audio and video content as well as to archiving websites. It will
also look briefly at METS' position and application relative to
other emerging content packaging standards: IMS-CP/SCORM
and MPEG-21.
Richard Gartner, Pearson New Media Librarian at Oxford
University Library Services, will discuss ways of integrating
METS and TEI: METS is designed to allow easy integration
with any XML-based documents, either by reference or by
direct embedding within the METS file itself. This talk will
demonstrate how TEI documents can be integrated within
METS files and how the two in tandem can overcome some of
the difficulties experienced when using the TEI on its own. In
particular, he will cover how METS and TEI can handle images
in complex objects more simply than in TEI alone, and how
overlapping hierarchies can be handled neatly using multiple
METS structural maps.
Jerome McDonough, Digital Library Team Leader at New
York University, will discuss the application of METS to video,
specifically a series of videos of performances gathered by the
Hemispheric Institute. He will focus on some of the problem
issues in trying to collect descriptive and structural metadata
on a multi-institution project such as this, and how METS may
help alleviate them.
Susan Dahl, Metadata and Cataloguing Librarian at the
University of Alberta, will discuss how METS can be
incorporated in a project that uses OCLC's Olive Software to
digitize textual materials. Using the Peel's Prairie Provinces
Project at the University of Alberta as an example ( <http:
//> ), the presentation
will demonstrate how the XML supplied in Olive's format can
be incorporated into METS documents and the benefits this
offers. Also, it will feature how other descriptive, structural
and administrative metadata is included, to make a complete
METS document.
Brian Tingle, Content Management Designer at the California
Digital Library, will discuss the Local History Digital Resources
Project, which explores a model to support the creation of, and
permanent public access to, standardized digital objects with
associated collection guides through a single point of access.
The project aims in particular to develop requirements for, and
helping to select, a common digital project tool that all
contributors will be required to use.
The METS home page is available at <http://www.loc.
gov/standards/mets> .

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Conference Info

In review


Hosted at University of Victoria

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

June 15, 2005 - June 18, 2005

139 works by 236 authors indexed

Affiliations need to be double checked.

Conference website:

Series: ACH/ICCH (25), ALLC/EADH (32), ACH/ALLC (17)

Organizers: ACH, ALLC

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None