September 29, 2011

Is there a place for a metadata advisory group for Australian repositories?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil Godfrey @ 4:10 pm

I posted this in the CAIRSS mailing list and hope I get some useful feedback.

Where do we stand regarding support and advice for metadata issues, awareness, standards, developments for our repositories? Is there a place for revitalizing MACAR? Since I have returned to Australia my impression is that a number of repositories have been propelled into action through ERA requirements and not all have had the support they might have appreciated for making the most of metadata potentials for both discovery and preservation.

We used to have MACAR — the Metadata Advisory Committee for Australian Repositories — and its 2009 strategy plan ( contains the statement that that “MACAR may have done as much as it needs to do”.

At the same time it listed options for the future:

* Keeping up to date with international metadata trends

* Ensuring an understanding of metadata/vocabulary requirements across all Australian repositories

* Providing a point of contact for members of the repository community seeking advice and recommendations on metadata/vocabularies

* Providing a point of contact with the relevant government authorities to ensure that there is consistency in the use of metadata for both descriptive and HERDC/other requirements

* Providing a point of contact with the National Library of Australia to ensure that that there is consistency in description for harvesting from repositories

* Providing a point of contact with ADT to ensure that theses are described consistently [[Applicable to TROVE/NLA?]]

* Ensuring that recommendations are open and easily available to the communities and authorities who need them.

There is also a vision statement:

. . . . . A body such as MACAR can ensure that the community develops in a way which takes advantage of the latest developments in metadata.

* MACAR undertook a survey of repository managers to gauge the use of the vocabulary. The survey resulted in positive feedback confirming the use of the vocabularies. The number and scope of those vocabularies should increase.

* The structure of objects in repositories is directly determined by different metadata schemas and by developments such as ORE. MACAR can continue to advise on appropriate object and content models.

* Seek to maximise consistency in metadata across all repository platforms to support interoperability and ensure the community is aware of relevant international standards.

* MACAR has a strong role to play in providing expert advice on metadata and vocabularies to support the Australian Research Council and its implementation of ERA.

* There is a continuing need for consistency in vocabulary for harvesting purposes.

* Education role in distilling and informing the community

* Work with ANDS to develop metadata standards for datasets and new content types. [[Since I’ve returned to Australia I have had the impression that there is some concern in the repository community that  RIF-CS was introduced without community input. Is that an issue? Is there a need for strategies for making the most of everyone’s interests?]]

Where do Australian university and other institutional repositories stand?