In 2009 JISC and RLUK convened a group of Higher Education library, museum and archive experts to think about what national services were required for supporting online discovery and reuse of collection metadata. This group was called the resource discovery taskforce (RDTF) and it met four times throughout 2009. The taskforce produced a vision and an implementation plan focused on making metadata about collections openly available therefore supporting the development of flexible and innovative services for end users. You can read summaries of the RDTF meetings and the vision and implementation plan on the RDTF blog http://rdtf.jiscinvolve.org. This blog will also be used to post news about progress.
The RDTF vision sets targets to meet by the end of 2012. JISC will be funding a range of projects, communication and support activities designed to meet those targets. This work will fall into four rough categories: institutional level, aggregation level, service level and support. JISC has begun to fund a range of work in these categories:
● A guide to Open bibliographic data for librarians: http://rdtf.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2010/08/05/update-on-current-work/ This is due to be delivered in November and will be useful to successful bidders.
● The projects funded under this call will begin to address the issues of what needs to be done at an institutional level to realise the RDTF vision.
● There are 3 projects funded under the JISCexpo call http://code.google.com/p/jiscexpo/ that will produce metadata and knowledge that will be relevant to the RDTF vision:
○ Linking University Content for Education and Research Online: http://lucero-project.info/lb/2010/07/hello-world-2/
● A study investigating the issues with aggregation of metadata about images and time based media: http://rdtf.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2010/08/05/update-on-current-work/
● Projects will be funded at Edina and Mimas to enhance existing aggregations like Suncat http://www.suncat.ac.uk/ and Copac http://copac.ac.uk/ in line with the RDTF vision. Projects are expected to start in December.
● Work on this level will be funded later in the process, but JISC will be working with stakeholders in this area to define requirements, communicate possibilities and identify opportunities.
● JISC has issued an invitation to tender (ITT) for a management framework for the RDTF. This project will involve setting up a central website for engaging with RDTF work and analysing and providing advice and guidance on key issues such as sustainability, licensing, standards and technology. All projects will be expected to dedicate time to engaging with the management framework. The framework project is expected to start in November.
● JISC will be issuing an open ITT for a support role dedicated to managing the relationships with the many stakeholders listed in the implementation plan and communicating effectively with those stakeholders. This project is expected to start in December.
Institutional projects funded under this call are part of this larger programme and have been purposefully designed to be short to permit future projects to build on the successful approaches developed by the projects and to allow the metadata produced to be reused by subsequent projects.
Libraries, museums and archives throughout Europe are engaging in work on open bibliographic or open metadata projects that are relevant to JISC work on the RDTF vision. Projects and developments are too numerous to mention in this briefing paper but here are some particularly useful links:
● Announcement of OKFN working group on open bibliographic data: http://blog.okfn.org/2010/03/03/new-working-group-on-open-bibliographic-data/
● The OKFN mailing list is a useful tool for keeping up to date on open bibliographic data matters: http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/open-bibliography
● Karen Coyle’s blog post is a useful summary of developments with open bibliographic data in Europe: http://www.opencontentalliance.org/2010/03/17/going-open/
● During the RDTF, Rightscom produced a useful report which investigated relevant activity happening elsewhere in the world. The report is available from the RDTF blog http://rdtf.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2009/09/11/information-gathering-report/
● The British Library has made some of their bibliographic datasets available for research purposes: http://www.bl.uk/bibliographic/datafree.html
● The Technology Strategy Board has released a competition focused on metadata: http://www.innovateuk.org/content/competition/metadata-increasing-the-value-of-digital-content-m.ashx and http://www.innovateuk.org/content/competition/metadata-increasing-the-value-of-digital-content-f.ashx
● The Collections trust have produced the Culture Grid, a service that aggregates content from public museums, libraries and archives: http://www.culturegrid.org.uk/
The methodology described in this call was shaped by a meeting that UKOLN organised to discuss technical approaches for the RDTF vision. Bidders are encouraged to read the summaries of the meeting:
The management framework will build upon the advice from this meeting and will establish a technical group to provide advice and guidance throughout the RDTF vision implementation.
This call encourages projects that engage with Linked Data. The following links may be helpful to bidders wishing to explore Linked Data for their project:
● When thinking about how to publish the uri sets developed during projects, bidders should take account of the Cabinet Office guidelines: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/301253/puiblic_sector_uri.pdf
● The W3C has set up a group on Linked Data and libraries and there is a useful wiki that accompanies this group: http://www.w3.org/2005/Incubator/lld/wiki/Main_Page
● Bidders are encouraged to look at the relevant JISC Linked Data projects listed above when preparing their submission and if possible, talk to those involved.
These projects are being funded to allow exploration of making library archive and museum metadata openly available on the web. This exploration will support the discovery of approaches that will work for other Higher Education institutions. It will also permit the exploration of the major issues involved in making metadata available under an open licence, issues such as licensing, schema, provenance, authority and technical issues. Projects will be required to discuss these issues on their project blogs and JISC and relevant RDTF projects will collect these lessons and process them into appropriate formats so that the sector as a whole benefits from the projects. Successful bidders will need to pay close attention to the JISCexpo strand of projects mentioned above (http://code.google.com/p/jiscexpo/) as these projects will be investigating a similar set of issues.
For these projects JISC’s stance on licensing is that the ODC-PDDL licence is the preferred option for releasing the data. You can read more about the ODC-PDDL licence http://www.opendatacommons.org/licenses/pddl/1-0/. This is a recommendation, not a requirement. However, projects choosing a different approach must discuss the reasons for this on their project blog so that JISC can collect and distribute the lessons. Projects will be supported in addressing licensing issues by the RDTF management framework project. This will be the topic of a meeting in late January or early February 2011 for successful projects.
As stated above the purpose of these projects is to identify approaches that work. Therefore JISC does not require bidders to have answers for every technical issue at the bid stage. There will be room for projects to develop their approach as they work and JISC will be supporting projects on technical issues through programme meetings and contact with the RDTF management framework project. This will also be a topic at the meeting in late January or early February 2011 for successful projects.