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Columbia Project Team

  • Amber Billey (Metadata Librarian)
  • Roberto Ferrari (Curator of Art Properties)
  • Kate Harcourt (Director, Original and Special Materials Cataloging)
  • Erin Petrella (Metadata Assistant; 2015-2016)
  • Robert Rendall (Principal Serials Cataloger)
  • Margaret Smithglass (Registrar and Digital Content Librarian, Avery Library)
  • Project Coordinator: Melanie Wacker (Metadata Coordinator)

Background

Over the years, the museum and library communities have developed separate descriptive cataloging practices even though many museums hold library objects and many library collections contain museum objects. Libraries have frequently used their ILS system and the MARC 21/AACR2 cataloging tradition to describe these art objects along with the traditional library materials. Now the library community is moving beyond the MARC record into the realm of linked open data.

The Library of Congress began to develop the Bibliographic Framework Initiative (BIBFRAME) in 2012 and a first version of the BIBFRAME model and vocabulary was made available for testing. Much of the testing to date, both planned and already under way, has focused on traditional library formats, even though the paper "Bibliographic Framework as a Web of Data" (released in November 2012) by the Library of Congress stated that:

The goal of the Bibliographic Framework Initiative is to develop a model to which various content models can be mapped. This recognizes that different communities may have different views of their resources and thus different needs for resource descriptions. This is especially pronounced as one leaves the book/text media and considers images (still and moving), cartographic resources, archival collections, and ultimately cultural artifact and museum collections. Many content models define hierarchical relationships that need to be restated in RDF graph terms and then simplified to the BIBFRAME model. (p. 15)
 

Domain Project: Art Objects

This sub-project will focus on testing the BIBFRAME schema's suitability for the description of art objects, both two-dimensional (e.g. paintings, photographs) and three-dimensional (e.g. sculptures, ceramics). In addition, the Columbia group will evaluate other existing linked data ontologies (primarily from the art domain) not only to see how BIBFRAME compares to these specialized domain ontologies, but also as potential extensions to BIBFRAME where gaps have been identified. The test may result in the implementation of BIBFRAME as is, the implementation of BIBFRAME with extensions from other ontologies, or, potentially, the implementation of a different ontology (such as CIDOC CRM) if the test would show that BIBFRAME is not suitable at all for the art domain. The lessons learned would be shared with the community. Assuming that a suitable BIBFRAME art profile can be developed, the Columbia team is aiming to document the relationships, such as equivalent classes and properties, from BIBFRAME to CIDOC CRM. The project will utilize metadata descriptions created for Columbia University’s art objects, which are overseen by Art Properties at the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. The collection in total numbers about 10,000 objects, including public outdoor sculpture, paintings, photography, works on paper and decorative works. At present, data describing the art objects is captured in a spreadsheet according to locally developed guidelines following conventions developed by the art community and using both Library of Congress and Getty vocabularies.

The group’s deliverables will include: a BIBFRAME profile for art objects, both for data transformation and native data creation; transformation and conversion of a representable selection of art object descriptions cataloged according to the Art Properties collection's local schema to the profile; and an evaluation of the project and publication of the group’s findings. 

The Columbia BIBFRAME test is comprised of staff from Columbia University Libraries/Information Services and utilizes works from Columbia University's Art Properties collection at the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, and will therefore focus testing on the BIBFRAME schema's suitability for the description of art objects.

Objectives

  • Evaluate the suitability of the BIBFRAME model and vocabulary for describing art objects, both two-dimensional (e.g. paintings, photographs) and three-dimensional (e.g. sculptures, ceramics).
  • Identify and document any descriptive needs of art objects that are currently not covered by BIBFRAME.
  • Evaluate other linked data ontologies and initiatives in the art domain.
  • Develop a profile for the description of art objects.
  • Convert a selection of art resources cataloged according to the Art Properties collection's local schema to the profile.
  • Engage with related projects in the museum/art library domain, including the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Participate in data exchange with other partners.
  • Develop workflow to connect public facing linked data to MARC circulation and other inventory data in spreadsheets or other sources.
  • Evaluate the project and share recommendations.

Community

  • Columbia’s LD4P team (consisting of librarians from Columbia University Library’s Original & Special Materials Cataloging Division, the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, and the curator of the Art Properties collection)
  • Colleagues from the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division
  • LD4P partner institution members
  • Interested members of the art and art library community

Deliverables

  • Develop a profile for the description of art objects.
  • Representative selection of BIBFRAME descriptions of art objects
  • Workflow to connect public facing linked data to MARC circulation and other inventory data in spreadsheets or other sources
  • Evaluation and publication of project findings


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