Some great conversation happening in the comments of my writeup of the Search session at MW2008, and it made me remember something I wanted to bring up at the conference but forgot. Namely, the concept of “master metadata”, or the idea that there’s one authoritative version of the metadata describing an object.
This came up for me in the session the MFA and MIT did on sharing their data for a new subsite: they mentioned the data was being “augmented” on the final site, and that someday they’d be interested in getting this extra information back into their main repository.
The problem’s immediately obvious: with all of the proposed sharing and opening up of our data, presumably to allow others to weigh in on it and add their voice, there are often situations where institutions would like to have some of this new data. For instance, we’re building a new version of ArtsConnectEd and intend to allow museum educators to variously tag, comment on, and draw relationships between objects. This will almost certainly be “good data”, stuff that would be valuable to integrate in our internal collection database.
The question is, how? Once your data is available for sharing, and someone actually builds something good with it and enhances it, is there a way to get that new data back into the source? Is there / should there be a way to tag metadata as “original source” or “augmented”? Should we be asking anyone harvesting our data to push back their changes for us to audit and possibly include?
Anyone solved this? Seb, are you getting info back from Flickr Commons you can then add to your internal database? Phil / Jenna, any thoughts on how to get that extra data back?
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