The AAPB team is excited to share our Cataloging Guidelines. For those of you who aren’t versed in librarian speak, cataloging is the process of creating quality metadata for materials, such as those in the AAPB collection, in order to improve searching and discoverability — a process beyond basic inventory level gathering. Information typically captured in cataloging can include titles, dates, subject, descriptions, genre information, creators and contributors, rights statements, etc. This set of guidelines is a working document that is being updated as needed during the course of our cataloging efforts.
The Cataloging Guidelines are based on PBCore, a metadata schema for describing audiovisual collections, and tailored to meet the needs of the AAPB project.
The Guidelines consist of required and recommended elements and attributes, or fields, to be recorded, their definitions, rules for data input, and examples of compliant data. Additionally, there is an appendix with controlled vocabularies, limited to terms being used in the AAPB, for:
Asset Date Type
Genres (describing the format of the content and topic of the content)
These controlled vocabularies, subsets of PBCore and other vocabularies, reflect the types of content that we expect will be included in the collection. As we become more familiar with the actual content, we may expand these vocabularies to better fit the range of our collection.
That said, we may occasionally update this document. Anytime you access the guidelines, be sure to check the date it last was updated, which will be recorded in the title page of the Guidelines.
When the AAPB started, most of the 2.5 million records gathered were inventory level records, mainly created by looking at tape labels of assets. Because playback was difficult, there wasn’t an easy way to look at or listen to content to create detailed records; that is, until the tapes were digitized. Now that we have 40,000 hours of content easily accessible as digital files, cataloging efforts can begin in earnest.
All of this digitized content will soon be available to researchers on location at WGBH and the Library of Congress; however, without cataloging, many of the assets will remain hidden because of the sparse or non-existent descriptive information.
AAPB metadata specialist Sadie Roosa has just started working with a team of library and information science student interns to catalog the digitized content. Because of the size and scope of the collection, we decided to focus on “minimally cataloging” all the content before fully cataloging it. We have defined a minimally cataloged record as one that contains an Asset Type, Title, Short Description, and Genre, as well as Asset Date, Creators, Contributors, and a Rights Statement, if known. Following this method, we’ll be able to minimally catalog all of the digitized assets much more quickly than we’d be able to fully catalog just a portion of them.
In addition to following the Cataloging Guidelines, catalogers have also reviewed the Listening and Viewing Guidelines, which outline our recommended practices for cataloging audio and video without having to listen or view assets all the way through in real time.
In the future we hope to engage volunteers through crowdsource efforts, through which anyone would be able to watch/listen to the content in the archive and add data about it. Crowdsourcing cataloging efforts will help us obtain richer descriptive data to enhance discoverability across the collection. Since there is so much content in the archive, our limited resources prohibit us from being able to tackle it all on our own. We will definitely keep you posted on this opportunity!
If you have any questions about the guidelines or the AAPB cataloging efforts, please feel free to contact Sadie Roosa at sadie_roosa [at] wgbh [dot] org.