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Photo: OperaColorado.org

Satisfying the Data Demands of Opera Aficionados in Denver ASIS&T Annual Meeting 2011 October 11, 2011 New Orleans, LA

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vivienne Houghton MLIS Student, University of Denver www.viviennehoughton.com

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Who played Cio-Cio San?

2008 Season Puccini’s Madama Butterfly Credit: Matthew Staver in Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/entertainment/ci_10949703

Sunday, October 2, 2011 Who played Cio-Cio San in Opera Colorado’s 2008 production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly? Opera aficionados in Denver demand data about their beloved operas including performers (sopranos, mezzos, tenors, etc.), composers, librettists, conductors, costumes, music, libretti, photographs, films, stage sets, posters, playbills, and the history of the opera house. This paper uses the fictional example of creating the a Digital Collection for Opera Colorado to illustrate how When an opera house is tasked with creating a digital collection and making it available on the internet, the collection developer must determine the best way to organize, describe, and administer that collection so that users can easily find it.

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Who played Cio-Cio San?

2008 Season Puccini’s Madama Butterfly Credit: Matthew Staver in Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/entertainment/ci_10949703

Romanian Soprano: Adina Nitescu Sunday, October 2, 2011 Who played Cio-Cio San in Opera Colorado’s 2008 production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly? Opera aficionados in Denver demand data about their beloved operas including performers (sopranos, mezzos, tenors, etc.), composers, librettists, conductors, costumes, music, libretti, photographs, films, stage sets, posters, playbills, and the history of the opera house. This paper uses the fictional example of creating the a Digital Collection for Opera Colorado to illustrate how When an opera house is tasked with creating a digital collection and making it available on the internet, the collection developer must determine the best way to organize, describe, and administer that collection so that users can easily find it.

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Six questions to ask A how-to guide...

Building a Digital Collection: Critical Questions to Ask Prior to Starting

...based on two articles

Nine Questions to Guide You in Choosing a Metadata Schema ~ Marie R. Kennedy Controlled Vocabularies: A Primer ~ Julia Marshall

Sunday, October 2, 2011 What are the steps to designing and implementing a schema that helps users find an opera collection? How will the design affect the findability of the collection? What are the implications of a poorly designed schema or the lack of a controlled vocabulary? This talk is based on the following paper which illustrates how two articles by Marie R. Kennedy and Julia Marshall, together assist a collection developer with choosing an appropriate metadata schema and planning a controlled vocabulary. Together, the two articles prompt a collection developer to address the following six questions prior to developing an opera digital collection

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Q1. Who is the user? known and unknown

The Latecomers by A. Guillaume

current and future human and computer Credit: Lebrecht Music & Arts http://www.lebrecht.co.uk Encyclopædia Britannica Image Quest

Satisfying users’ needs Sunday, October 2, 2011 For both choosing the metadata schema and planning a controlled vocabulary, the most important questions are about the user. When designing a digital collection, the developer would first need to ask who is the user: both known, unknown, current, potential, human and computer Information needs can vary widely, and varying needs translate into varying seeking behaviors. When designing the Opera Colorado Digital Collection, as Rosenfeld and Morville state in Information Architecture, “There is no goal more important to designing information architecture than to satisfy users’ needs. (p. 103-4).”

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Q2. Who will create the controlled vocabulary?

expertise: opera & metadata

The Metropolitan Opera House, New York City

standards consistency Credit: Barry Winkler http://www.photolibrary.com Encyclopædia Britannica Image Quest

Accessibility and Findability Sunday, October 2, 2011 Exactly a year ago, I corresponded via email with Robert Tuggle who is the Director of Archives of the Metropolitan Opera. When I asked him if the MetOpera Database used metadata standards and a controlled vocabulary, he replied, “To begin with, what are ‘metadata standards’ and how would you apply them to the database as you see it online. Why would we use controlled vocabularies?” (R. Tuggle, personal communication, October 11, 2010). It is reasonable to assume that although the Met’s Director of Archives is very knowledgeable about opera. However, he is not an information specialist who is familiar with the use of standards. A collection cataloger’s level of expertise, familiarity and confidence with the schema and vocabulary will provide consistency. Using a combination of opera experts and trained metadata experts who will use existing controlled vocabularies will be most effective and will result in the highest findability and accessibility.

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Q3. Who will maintain the controlled vocabulary?

commitment staff and financial implementation and management

Credit: http://archives.metoperafamily.org/archives/frame.htm

Commitment to entire lifecycle Sunday, October 2, 2011 The Met’s commitment to keeping the collection current is evident in their policy, as stated on their website, to update the MetOpera Database five days a week and include the casts of either the previous evening’s or the previous weekend’s performance by 11:00 am Eastern Time the next day. When inquired about the maintenance of the MetOpera Database, the Director of Archives replied, “The database is maintained here in Archives by the same people who created it. We know a lot about opera and the Met and have learned a lot about databases. We have the full support of our Information Services department.” (R. Tuggle, personal communication, October 11, 2010). Will the collection developer make the financial commitment to hiring full-time trained information specialists who are already versed in existing schemas like the Performing Arts Encyclopedia of the Library of Congress? Or will he hire less expensive part-time interns who would have neither the experience nor vested interest in the project? The answers to the above questions determine the collection developer’s long-term commitment to both the collection and to the user’s ability to access the collection, not just during the implementation process but during its entire lifecycle. A collection will need to be continually updated. The collection developer needs a sustained commitment over the entire lifecycle. This is crucial to its long-term accessibility.

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Q4. How can users access the collection?

search options searchers and browsers faceted search

Credit: http://www.rohcollections.org.uk/collectionsroh.aspx

Accommodating both searchers and browsers Sunday, October 2, 2011 The MetOpera Database has been described as “a little difficult to navigate easily, but there is a thorough user’s guide” in Information Today, Inc. In contrast, the Royal Opera House has a search page with keyword, person, performance and date fields in addition to two drop-down menus for collections and opera companies. These drop-down pick lists limit the number of possibilities and provide ambiguity control. Furthermore, the Royal Opera House features a separate performance database that can be searched by title alphabetically or numerically. As specified by Rosenberg and Morville, “Differences in customer preferences and behaviors within the physical world translate into different information needs and information-seeking behaviors in the context of websites and intranets” (2008, p. 100). To increase findability and retrieval rates, the a digital collection‘s design and interface need to accommodate both types of users: the search box-dominant “searchers” and link-dominant “browsers”

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Q5. What is the scope of the collection? Frontispiece of the Score Sheet

existing standards consistency efficiency

Credit: Barry Winkler http://www.photolibrary.com Encyclopædia Britannica Image Quest

Using existing standards increase findability Sunday, October 2, 2011 And what materials are being searched? If there is an existing similar schema or vocabulary, choosing to use it will not only save time, effort and money but can also result in greater keyword matches in cross-searching. Since costumes are similar to cultural heritage materials, the developer may consider using a schema like VRA Core or CDWA Lite. For the music collection, the developer may consider using existing standards like Grove’s Dictionary of Music, International Index of Music Periodicals or Smithsonian Global Sound. If a cataloger is already familiar with an existing schema, then he or she will be “more competent, confident and quick in his/her use of the tools if he/she has already used them in another project” and will be able to provide quicker object analysis and data entry if that collection is part of a larger collection (Kennedy, 2008, p. 3).

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Q6. What is the collection’s relationship with other collections?

interoperability

Luciano Pavarotti, tenor, in Radames costume, in his dressing room at the Metropolitan Opera (New York,1986)

extensibility flexibility Credit: ©Thomas Hoepker/Magnum Photos http://www.magnumphotos.com ArtStor

Sharing data globally Sunday, October 2, 2011 When asked if the MetOpera Database was found to be interoperable with other collections, the Director of Archives declared, “Why would we want our database interoperable? It is unique to the Met. Have you looked at other databases? If you have, you will see that there is nothing comparable.” (R. Tuggle, personal communication, October 11, 2010). Since the Director is not an information expert, it is reasonable to conclude from his response that he may not understand the benefits of interoperability. Clearly, when schema, vocabularies and standards are shared, then data can be mapped to see how elements of the local collection’s metadata schema match that of another’s and the data can crosswalk or exchange seamlessly from one schema to another (Kennedy, 2008, sec. 3.7). This is critical for the Opera Colorado Digital Collection since as Darin Stewart notes in Building Enterprise Taxonomies, “in all cases the overarching goal of defining a rich schema is to make metadata as useful as possible in terms of interoperability, extensibility and flexibility” (Stewart, 2008, p. 33). By using a standard protocol like the Open Archives Initiative, a harvester can distribute the metadata globally so that users are pointed back to the Opera Colorado Digital Collection (Kennedy, 2008, p. 3).

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Thank you! slides & original paper

VivienneHoughton.com

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Student Chapter University of Denver

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Who played Cio-Cio San?  

"Satisfying the Data Demands of Opera Aficionados in Denver" based on Building a Digital Collection: Critical Questions to Ask Prior to Sta...

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