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68
resolved.The author's informal survey of nine Web-based emblem collections indicates that at
least four types of metadata schemes are being employed across the nine institutions that were
included in this review. It would not be possible to implement a cross-collection search without
taking some intermediary step that would involve normalizing by means of a standard metadata
interchange format. All institutions would need to agree to expose either their native metadata
or some common form of their metadata so that it could be reviewed, or harvested, to produce
a registry of title-level information about each digital emblem book.
The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH)
3
presents a stan-
dard solution for providing item-level access to the digitized books in emblem collections, since
most, although not all, emblem collections present metadata that treats the book as the unit of
description and those who do not can derive a title-level record for each book. Koetter, in her
article in this same volume, provides a detailed description of the implementation of the OAI
protocol to harvest item-level metadata from the University of Illinois' Digital Emblematica col-
lection.Another very helpful primer on OAI is the OAI FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Web
page.
4
Institutions who implement OAI must expose their metadata in the standard Dublin Core
simple format, which involves the mapping of metadata from the native format (e.g.,TEI, MARC,
etc.) into Dublin Core. Once the native metadata is mapped into Dublin Core format, the item-
level records can be harvested and aggregated with records from other collections into one search-
able repository. The beauty of OAI lies in the simplicity of the protocol. Although there are
tradeoffs in terms of the depth and richness of metadata represented in the OAI repository for an
item, it is relatively simple to implement an OAI repository and provide searching across multi-
ple collections within a short time period.
5
C o l l e c t i o n - L eve l I n f o r m a t i o n
The availability of the cataloging record for an individual book or title-level information for
a work that is represented by a particular encoding scheme (TEI, Dublin Core) does not provide
any indication of an institution's aggregate holdings or the depth of the collection. Further, the
availability of the full texts and images of each of the books, although it will be a very rich
resource, does not indicate the scope and depth of a collection.These approaches to access do not
resolve the need for providing information about the properties and strengths of a particular col-
lection of emblem books that would enable a scholar to determine to what extent a library's col-
lection of emblem books, print or digital, could meet his or her research needs.
6
One might conclude that since a number of the institutions who hold major emblem collec-
tions are engaged in digitizing their holdings that this would obviate the need to provide collec-
tion-level information, since all the titles would eventually be available as distinct and searchable
entities.The author would like to suggest that as we plan for cross-collection access to emblem
collections, we carefully consider the role that collection-level information can play in enhanc-
ing the research and discovery process.
Ongoing work by a number of collaborative initiatives to build collection-level description
schema provides a firm foundation for envisioning how collection-level description can enable
the discovery of resources across groups of institutions.The initial work in this area was pioneered
by the UK Office of Library and Information Networking's (UKOLN) Research Support
Libraries Program (RSLP).An early study undertaken by Michael Heaney outlines both the prac-
tical reasons for developing collection-level metadata schema and the theoretical basis from which
the schema can be developed.
7
In this publication Heaney develops the analogy of the informa-
tion landscape as a contour map, on which specialized, significant collections might appear as
sharp peaks or "high points," (depending on the perspective of the user vis--vis the particular
3
http://www.openarchives.org.
4
http://www.openarchives.org/
documents/FAQ.html.
5
See, for example, the OAI-harvest-
ed metadata from the Emblem Pro-
ject Utrecht at the OpenEmblem
portal: http://media.library.uiuc.
edu/projects/oebp/.
6
See, for example, a start in this
direction by the Digital Emblematica
Project at UIUC: http://images.
library.uiuc.edu/projects/emblems/.
7
Michael Heaney, An Analytical
Model of Collections and their Cata-
logues, http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/
metadata/rslp/model/. UK Office
for Library and Information Net-
working (UKOLN); third issue,
revised; January 14, 2000, Oxford,
UK.
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