Strategy Survey September 2009

1. Scope

Do you think the activities of MACAR should be limited to the higher education sector, or should it include other sectors such as repositories in public libraries and elsewhere? We currently have one representative from a State Library.

Katie Blake
A digital object is a digital object, and the target audience isn't very different, regardless of sector. I think that other sectors will have similar metadata issues, just as library catalogues are pretty similar. The differences are with specific requirements for satisfying requirements such as HERDC, and these can be dealt with by sub-committees. I am in favour of keeping the focus on core business in the research arena, but ensuring that the work that MACAR does is communicated to other sectors, and that representatives from other sectors can provide input. Susanne Moir from the State Library of NSW says that they are happy to provide input where it can be useful on an ad hoc basis.

Tom Ruthven
I think there are lots of common interests across repositories regardless of their location. State and public libraries need to describe pictures, moving image, manuscripts (if not of conference papers) and have the same issues interpreting and applying the same metadata standards and exchanging metadata as does the higher education sector. Some things maybe unique, e.g. dataset descriptions in higher education and storing literary author’s emails for a state library. However, overall … the more the merrier I think.

Neil Godfrey
The work we are doing is about interoperability and standards and extensibility — and higher ed libraries often have dealings, direct and indirect, with other types of research databases and libraries. So the idea of being open sounds good in principle to me.

2. Coverage

Should MACAR include members and support for New Zealand, Southeast Asia, elsewhere? Or should MACAR only support the Australian repository community?

Katie Blake
Core membership might be limited to the Australian and maybe NZ research communities. I have approached contacts in NZ to see the extent of their interest. Perhaps this question depends on the decision in Question 3.

Tom Ruthven
I do not have any problems with members joining from outside Australia. I “lurk” on lots of groups in the US and Europe and learn to ignore country-specific problems where I don’t have anything to contribute. I also ask questions on non-Australian lists … though it depends on the relevance.

Neil Godfrey
New Zealand sounds a logical choice — compare the new AS subject headings. If Singapore is going to be deeply involved with the same sorts of things as MACAR it also seems reasonable to at least have a channel for keeping up some sort of contact with one another.

3. Membership

MACAR currently has a few active Core members, and a number of Associate Members. Is the split between Core and Associate member still valid? With there is no mailing list per se, and eveyone who wants to be kept informed can use the wiki. If it is a useful split, this might describe the duties of each member status:

The Core Members would undertake to be actively involved in meetings and contributing to discussions, particularly on our wiki site ( Associate members would be kept on a mailing list for meetings, encouraged to participate in wiki discussions, and to make comments as required. Are you willing/interested in continuing your membership, and do you see yourself as an associate or core member?

Now is also the time to suggest people you think might be good as new Core/Associate members.

Katie Blake
I agree with Tom that maintaining different levels of 'membership' is difficult. MACAR should be communicating as widely as possible, keeping everyone informed. An open model is useful.

Tom Ruthven
I think maintaining a split will be difficult. Someone has to be in charge of checking if someone should be a member and what level, and resolving any disputes about membership. I’d prefer a more open model. One model is DCMI’s Communities, (including the DC Scholarly Communications Group mentioned below), where anyone can join, raise issues and help resolve them. Each DCMI Community has a core of self-identified active members. Each Community has a moderator or two, and people volunteer to work on topics as they have time and interest. Though the communities do have the incentive of meeting once a year at the DCMI conference, which is next week. Perhaps we can plan something in Berlin too as an incentive to be active … … certainly any of us could have written this paper “Applying DCMI Elements to Digital Images and Text in the Archimedes Palimpset Program”

4. Relationships

Joan Gray suggested that MACAR form a relationship with the DC Scholarly Communications Group. This Group's charter is available at There are common issues and developments that are of mutual interest and we could benefit from this relationship. Are there other groups you know where a relationship (formal or informal) would be useful?

Katie Blake
Joan is currently at the DCMI conference in Berlin, and will discuss what relationships we might have.
Katie has contacted Helen Galatis at the Carrick Institute. Helen says "Our work with the Carrick Institute has been completed. We were engaged to develop the Carrick Exchange, now known as the ALTC Exchange, which we have done and management of the service is now undertaken by the ALTC (previously known as Carrick institute). I’m happy to be involved and contribute to this group – we are still managing other projects which are largely dependent on metadata and are maintaining our interests and knowledge in this area."

Neil Godfrey
I think maintaining this sort of contact requires someone with support and commitment to be actively involved. Maybe at meetings where issues are raised we could include a discussion of how to share the issue with other groups, and arrange for a scribe to be the active party— perhaps with editing support of others too.

5. Activities:

What are the two most important things you think MACAR can do next year?

Katie Blake
A survey of the community concerning the properties and resource types they are dealing with, and identification of tools the community needs to manage the materials they are dealing with.

Tom Ruthven:
An audit/survey of practice would be interesting to find out who is using DC, MARC, MODS, etc

How well does each repository platform utilise the metadata standards might help us choose the best platform, e.g. can DSpace, Fedora, ARROW, Fez, DigiTool, etc bulk ingest MODS

Datasets are a growing area of interest but I feel there may be too much disparity between metadata standards for different types of data for us to do anything useful yet, e.g. descriptions of astronomical vs membrane technology vs social science survey instruments … and maybe this is an ANDS thing

Neil Godfrey
Ensure repositories are on track with DC standards — esp re the clash with the OAI-PMH protocol over the dc.identifier.

Present repositories managers with clear guidelines of vocabularies, with clear rationales. Also issues such as date formats, language codes, … other controlled vocabularies and data.

Look at schema for different format types — study pros and cons of different ones for different types of images, videos, etc, and make recommendations for specific purposes.

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