Metadata Mapping

The process of metadata mappings in CARARE supports subsequent critical activities:

  • migrating from content providers' native schemas (whether standard or local) to the CARARE schema,
  • harvesting or aggregating metadata records that were created using shared community standard or different metadata standards and,
  • transforming records from CARARE schema to another, particularly Europeana Semantic Elements and Europeana Data Model.

Metadata, literally “data about data”, provide a wide variety of information describing a resource, such as the subject matter and its creators, technical information to store and access the resource, legal rights, etc. Metadata records are critical to the documentation and maintenance of interrelationships between information resources and are being used to find, gather, and maintain resources over long periods of time. The consistent application of a descriptive metadata standard improves the user's search experience and makes information retrieval within a single collection or across multiple collections more reliable. Administrative, technical, and preservation metadata contribute to the management of information resources and help to ensure their intellectual integrity both now and in the future.

In parallel with other domains, many researchers in the digital cultural heritage community recognize the need to lower the barriers for the management and aggregation of digital resources, by implementing some measure of interoperability among metadata standards and then with proprietary data structures. There is a wide range of proposed solutions, including crosswalks, translation algorithms, metadata registries, and specialized data dictionaries. One definition of interoperability is “the ability of different types of computers, networks, operating systems, and applications to work together effectively, without prior communication, in order to exchange information in a useful and meaningful manner. Interoperability can be seen as having three aspects: semantic, structural and syntactic. Semantic mapping is the process of analyzing the definitions of the elements or fields to determine whether they have the same or similar meanings. Structural interoperability refers to the presence of data models or wrappers that specify the semantic schema being used. Syntactic interoperability, also called technical interoperability, refers to the ability to communicate, transport, store, and represent metadata and other types of information between and among different systems and schemas.

A crosswalk provides a mapping of metadata elements from one metadata standard to another. The prerequisite to a meaningful mapping requires a clear and precise definition of the elements in each standard. The primary difficulty is to identify the common elements in different metadata schemas and put this information to use in systems that resolve differences between incompatible records. Crosswalks are typically presented as tables of equivalent elements in two standards and, even though the equivalences may be inexact, they represent an expert's judgment that the conceptual differences are immaterial to the successful operation of a software process that involves records encoded in the two standards. A crosswalk supports the ability of a retrieval mechanism to query fields with the same or similar content in different data sources; in other words, it supports semantic interoperability. Crosswalks are not only important for supporting the demand for single point of access or cross-domain searching; they are also instrumental for converting data from one format to another. However, aggregating metadata records from different repositories may create confusing display results, especially if some of the metadata are automatically generated or created without following best practices or using standard thesauri and controlled vocabularies. Mapping metadata elements from different schemas is only one level of crosswalking. At another level of semantic interoperability are the data content standards for formulating the data values that populate the metadata elements, for example, rules for recording personal names or encoding standards for dates.

Mapping Guidelines

This document provides mapping and implementation guidelines for the CARARE metadata schema.

Each CARARE content provider has created its digital resources and metadata following its own organizational principles, descriptive standards and management procedures. Although the international conventions on conservation of the archaeological and architectural heritage provides common ground between the partner organisations and their information resources, a very diverse range of cultural assets and media formats are being described and there is no universal metadata standard or ontology which has been applied by all of the organisations involved in the network.

CARARE has established a metadata schema to use as a domain specific harvesting protocol in order to mediate between the native metadata collected by its partners and Europeana. This schema defines a set of standard elements which are based on existing standards from the archaeology and architecture domain. The CARARE metadata schema was released in autumn 2010 and updated in spring 2011 following testing by content partners. It is a harvesting schema which is based on MIDAS Heritage, LIDO and the CIDOC CRM.

To use the CARARE schema it is necessary for partners to map elements in their native metadata to the CARARE metadata format. In addition to the mapping it may be necessary for some normalisation or metadata enrichment processes to be carried out to improve machine readability. Once the mapping and normalisation has been carried out, native metadata can be transformed into CARARE schema format and ingested to the CARARE repository ready for supply to Europeana.

The CARARE aggregator has undertaken to carry out the work needed to transform CARARE records into Europeana‟s preferred metadata format; currently this is an implementation of the Europeana Data Model (EDM version 5.2) designed for the Danube release of Europeana.

Mapping Documentation

Deliverable 2.3 provides an overview of all the metadata mapping activities carried out in the CARARE project, mapping from version 1 of the CARARE metadata schema to MIDAS, LIDO, ESE and EDM. The metadata crosswalks are included in the deliverable.

Title Version Type Size (kB)
D2.3: Metadata Mappings Final PDF 6.4MB