This study path asks learners to work with an experienced metadata librarian or cataloger in selecting a thesaurus for describing a cultural collection or sub-collection.
By Susan Barrett, Director of Library Repository Services and Technology, Arizona State University
This study path asks students to work with an experienced metadata librarian or cataloger in selecting a thesaurus for describing a cultural collection or sub-collection. Students will investigate cataloging standards, the challenges of selecting a thesauri, and describe and explain why they would select an existing standard or develop a local ontology.
This is designed for early career, graduate or continuing education contexts that relies on student initiative to locate and utilize resources rather than a list of pre-determined readings, which would be common in an undergraduate course. Consulting with an experienced metadata librarian or cataloger throughout this activity is highly reccomended.
Students will be able to:
- Describe the different applications and uses of cataloging standards.
- Analyze cataloging standards for cultural materials.
- Describe the necessary steps for designing a local thesaurus.
The instructor should have a solid understanding of cataloging, or coordinate with a local or online cataloging group.
- Define a cultural collection. How does the (cataloger’s) institution define cultural collections? Describe if you agree or differ from the institution’s definition.
- Identify one cultural collection and briefly describe the belongings held within the collection.
- Describe three standard thesauri that might be appropriate for the collection.
- Describe the major components and current application of the three thesauri.
- Explain why the three standard thesauri would be appropriate, or not.
- If you decide to create a local ontology, explain the specific needs of the community necessitate creating a local thesaurus.
- A possible component of this might be the use of languages other than English, and languages that use non-Roman characters (including many writing systems developed for indigenous languages).
- What would the technical requirements be, what might the process be to work with the community to develop this?
- Describe the hierarchy, or lack thereof, and the social constructs that are reflected in the ontology.
- Describe the steps for designing a local thesaurus.
Assessment is tied to the resources discovered by students, and less on the resources provided by the instructor. Assessments consist of:
- Written papers describing each of the 6 activities. Each paper must address:
- The question at issue.
- Resources consulted and why.
- Literature review.
- A final reflection essay about working with the metadata librarian or cataloger and the course.