Although the purpose of the session was to talk about this issue across the GLAM sector as a whole, we used Archives New Zealand’s electronic finding aid Archway as a “test case”.
Following is a list of possible solutions the group came up with, ranging from very manual to more automated:
Capture contact details of researchers and their interests – contact them when new material becomes available
Set up webpage to publicise new material
Create an RSS feed of newly added items
Something similar to the trove news bot – easy to use, it checks for messages from Twitter to create queries in Trove’s newspaper database, tweeting the result – still requires a pull by researchers
Provide ability for researchers to save search criteria
Provide functionality to highlight/identify those search results that have been presented to the researcher previously; ability for researcher to filter out these out of the result set
We also discussed other technologies currently in use, or provided, by various institutions:
British Library’s Mechanical Curator – undirected, haphazard, unplanned publishing of content
Digital NZ’s custom search builder – a tool that allows anyone to create a mini search engine across Digital NZ’s aggregated digital content, also to create an embeddable widget to share the content
Academia.edu – allows registered users to add research interests to their profile, and delivers content (research papers, etc.) that has been shared by other registered users and tagged with the chosen research interest phrase.
Google Scholar and other library search tools – a post THATCamp investigation of Google Scholar revealed that the tool uses “robots” or “crawlers” to fetch files from websites for inclusion in the search results. This is the type of thing I was wondering if researchers could create for themselves.
Discussion was had about the need for not only appropriate tags against each item of material so it can be categorised/classified, but also the need for metadata that will enable capture of when records are added / updated so the researcher can filter out those items they may have already seen.
The group also identified some possible funding/resourcing options:
Create partnerships with open source development organisations
Collaborate with National Library of New Zealand (this option relates specifically to the Archives NZ case)
Apply to Internet NZ for funding
Create a research question for an information studies masters student
Today’s bibliographies from libraries may not match online or physical storage. Stuff can be in stack, lost, moved, destroyed, storage, etc. It may be possible to use cross-catalogue data or cross-media data to track books down (e.g. mentions in Papers Past)
Maybe leave out unpublished data
How do we get institutions to lend the books to digitise? NL won’t lend out valuable material without conservator reporting.
What format, and how do we make it text-searchable?
Agree on something like METS-ALTO and DC, and federate with OAI-PMH and/or use Digital NZ.
NL scanned 300dpi colour TIFF images per page, into PDF with page image + OCR.
e-books in EPUB, which is (more or less) zipped HTML. Kindle uses MobiPocket, another format based on Open eBook.
OPDS is a syndication format – like RSS but for e-books.
Many institutions have a backlog of “items” in their holdings that are not currently discoverable/accessible in their online finding aid(s). Most institutions are actively working on rectifying this, as funding, staffing, etc., allow.
Currently if researchers want to know if more items relating to something they are interested in (e.g., person, place, time period) can now be found via an institution’s finding aid, the researcher has to decide how often to got back to the institution’s finding aid and re-submit their search criteria.
What if, instead, the researcher could submit the search string once and include in that search the request that he/she is automatically advised if anything new results from that search string are returned. A bit like TradeMe searches. Or perhaps the Digital NZ search builder (digitalnz.org.nz/about/custom-search-builder).
What functionality would researches like? Are there existing add-ons that institutions could use? Or are there apps (I’m thinking ‘bots) that researchers could use to achieve this?
A session around the use of FLOSS software and open standards/protocols in digital repositories, and the needs of digital humanities in particular. Discussions could centre around Fedora Commons, DSpace, Fez, Drupal and so on. How do we weigh rigid metadata schemata (MODS, MARC, DC-TERMS etc.) versus relying on full-text indexes, or open access versus access control, flexibility and complexity versus ease of use?
I’d like to talk about audience. How do you use or match your publication/digital platform with the audience you are wanting to access. Is there any data or research undertaken with the NZ public to understand how different demographics are engaging with digital information sources – what platforms and how?