Embedding Metadata for Open Access

Wednesday, April 5th: 8:30am - 9:30am


Photography & Digital Content Specialist @ U.S. House of Representatives, Art & Archives

Demonstration Abstract

In this demonstration, we will discuss the research and decision making that went into building an open access portal. The Office of Art and Archives of the U.S. House of Representatives has rethought how digital surrogates of physical objects in the Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives are publicly disseminated. Currently, digital surrogates are shared via a lengthy permissions process. The Office of Art and Archives is moving toward distributing digital surrogates via an open access portal. While planning the portal, we have deliberately considered the importance of embedded metadata and made it an integral part of the design.

The purpose of embedded metadata in digital surrogates shared via an open access portal is to provide information about the image and where it comes from. This way, users will be able to know what they are looking at if the file is separated from its original context—for example, if a user downloads a file from an open access portal and then opens it a year later, unable to recall where the file came from or what the image shows. Embedded metadata also can enable access by visually impaired users. We wrote, reviewed, and incorporated descriptive alt text for images.

Our methodology was to explore existing standards and survey repositories by downloading digital surrogates from their websites and examining the embedded metadata. We explored both descriptive metadata and rights/usage statements. While we found many resources describing best practices concerning embedded metadata, we found little documentation and consistency about specific metadata schema, fields, and vocabulary used across institutions. We determined the metadata schema, fields, and vocabulary based on the needs of our users and institution. We will highlight the resources we found for rights and usage statements, including the Creative Commons Public Domain Mark. This demonstration will present our research and our decisions about best practices for embedded

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