• The plurality of risks (30%) is associated with concerns about an uncertain library value proposition.
• The second largest class, and second priority in terms of medium to high risks, is related to staffing and human resources.
• Risks associated with legacy technology are all high.
• The high risks are chiefly operational in nature and the results of general organizational weaknesses.
• The high risks represent circumstances that require continuous monitoring and are mostly controllable-that is, either the occurrence or the impact can be managed. This confirmed for us that there is an opportunity to collectively consider these risks so that research libraries can appropriately calibrate local and group responses.
• We expected to see serious concerns emerge about the custody of intellectual property (peer-reviewed literature, locally created content) that supports the research enterprise. Interestingly enough they did not. Libraries do not seem to perceive an immediate threat to core operations or services from this."
"This report presents the evidence gathered and analyzed by an RLG Partnership working group about MARC tag usage to inform library metadata practices, with a focus on machine applications. The working group offers a set of factors to consider when making decisions about local MARC metadata practices. The report includes recommendations for enhanced library data mining. The working group also offers its views on MARC's future."
Problem statement: Special collections materials are of increasing interest and importance. As materials from the general stacks become more ubiquitous (through "mass" digitization projects and as institutions move towards joint ownership of books and journals), special collections may become what defines a library collection. With the shift in importance, it's a good time for an examination of the end-to-end process that results in archival and special collections materials being delivered to interested users. The overarching goal is to achieve economies and efficiencies that permit these materials to be effectively described, properly disclosed, successfully discovered and appropriately delivered.
"The fifteen members of the RLG Partners Neworking Names Advisory Group have articulated the problem space that the research community needs to address and the necessary components for a “Cooperative Identities Hub” that would have the most impact across different target audiences. The group developed fourteen use case scenarios around academic libraries and scholars, archivists and archival users, and institutional repositories that provide the context in which different communities would benefit from aggregating information about persons and organizations, corporate and government bodies, and families, and making it available on a network level.
The just published Networking Names report summarizes the group’s recommendations on the functions and attributes needed to support the use case scenarios. We look forward to hearing your reactions and comments!"
"RLG Partners participating in discussions about renovating descriptive practices have identified network-level integrating and sharing of metadata contributions as an area that would benefit from collective action. These contributions could come from curators, subject librarians, experts, users, etc., both locally and globally, that can enrich the descriptive metadata created by libraries, archives and museums. To be truly effective, we need to share and aggregate contributions added by users in many diverse environments."
"New Project: Missing Materials Beta Procedure
The loss of materials held in libraries and archives worldwide is a concern not only for owning institutions, but also for the international antiquarian book trade and global law enforcement. Centralized, highly visible exposure of "missing materials" is needed to help identify stolen materials and to deter future crimes.
OCLC Research, the RLG Partnership and the RBMS Security Committee and members of the cultural heritage collecting community are developing 'proof-of-concept' policies and procedures to experiment using network effects of WorldCat.org to broadcast centralized information about missing and stolen unique and rare materials."
Problem statement: Cultural heritage, bibliographic and archival communities use different controlled vocabularies for the resources that they manage. These controlled vocabularies may not be recognized by very diverse user communities, and ignored by large commercial information hubs and Internet search engines. Metadata needs to flow among diverse environments and reach users wherever they are. The semantic, hierarchical, and granular relationships in controlled vocabularies are often lost when retrieved outside the environment in which they were created.
Problem statement: Creating metadata that suits local needs, readily aggregates across communities, and is easily exposed to Internet search engines remains a costly enterprise. Metadata created by libraries, archives and museums is generally not available to the user communities that look first to Internet search engines. Although mapping data structures has become a commonplace solution to integrate descriptions, real interoperability across the libraries, archives and museums communities cannot be achieved without addressing differences of description at the data-content level.
Objective: Engage the RLG partnership in adapting descriptive practice to economic realities, user expectations, and the requirements of network-level services. Set new expectations for investing in metadata creation and maintenance, model attendant workflows, and facilitate the discovery of research institutions' resources by users wherever they are.
We conducted this survey in July and August 2007 among 18 RLG partners in the United States and the United Kingdom, selected because they had "multiple metadata creation centers" on campus that included libraries, archives, and museums and had some interaction among them. (Ten of these partners are also represented on this focus group.) Our objective was to gain a baseline understanding of current descriptive metadata practices and dependencies, the first project in our program to change metadata creation processes."