Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Continuing the collaboration – Our First URM Solution Review Meeting

On September 22nd and 23rd, members of the Ex Libris URM team were joined by over a dozen staff from our [now FOUR!] Collaborative Development Partners for a Solution Review meeting on cataloging and metadata management in the URM [Unified Resource Management]. The three original Partners – Boston College, Princeton University and KU Leuven [Belgium] were recently joined by Purdue University, who signed on as a URM Partner only a few days prior to the scheduled meetings. Welcome Purdue! We held the meetings at the Firestone Library on the campus of Princeton University during two days of Indian summer.

The Solution Review is the first of two major milestone meetings Ex Libris will be having with Partners for each of the major “tracks” we have set up for URM: Cataloging/Metadata Management, Selection/Acquisitions, Fulfillment/Patron Management and Digital Content. The second series of milestone meetings will focus on Design Review for each of the tracks.

The primary goal of the two day meeting was for Ex Libris to review with the Partners our planned cataloging solution for URM, seeking input and feedback throughout. We encouraged and received wide participation by the staff from the Partner libraries as we discussed the functionality of cataloging and metadata management, reviewed early mock-ups and analyzed workflows. The packed agenda had major sessions on:

  • Current metadata practices and workflows
  • Community zone use cases
  • Import – both bulk and individual – of records
  • Searching capabilities
  • Editing of metadata and resource records
  • Authority control and related processing
  • Publishing and dissemination of records to external sources and environments
  • The role of Registries in managing metadata
  • Catalog sharing within the URM.

We kicked off the meetings with a high level review of our goals for metadata management in the URM:

  • Centralize descriptive metadata for all resources libraries manage—print, electronic, and digital
  • Reduce redundant work across many institutions
  • Improve metadata through joint upkeep
  • Streamline time-consuming processes
  • Create a platform for meaningful management of disparate descriptive standards.

To make this more concrete, we reviewed with the Partners what we see as some of the most important questions we need to answer across the board as we develop URM:

  • What are the problems you need to solve?
  • What do you want to be able to do MORE of?
  • What would you like to ELIMINATE?
  • What are the NEW things you want to be able to do NOW and in the FUTURE?

We revisited these questions, and their answers, throughout the course of the discussions, trying our best to stay true to the goals and objectives of the URM even as we discussed quite detailed points of functionality.

Thanks to John Larson, Dana Shavit-Moscovitz and Asaf Kline of Ex Libris for the hard work they did preparing for the meetings. Thanks to the staff at Princeton who made our stay there so pleasant, particularly the hastily arranged tour of the new Lewis Library designed by Frank Gehry. And, heartiest thanks to the staff from Princeton, Boston College, Leuven and Purdue who attended the meeting and contributed so openly.

Susan Stearns
Ex Libris

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