Earlier this week, I participated in the Books Online workshop in Toronto. The workshop featured an update from James Crawford on Google Books, and papers on social reading and ebook interfaces, and the development of ebook services for various communities with special needs, including children, isolated First Nations communities, and the visually impaired. There were also reports from various other research projects, mostly outside the US. It was an especially good opportunity to get in touch with projects and people I don’t ordinarily encounter, since I don’t do much international travel at the moment.
My own contribution was a keynote titled “The Metadata Challenge“, discussing some ways in which metadata can be used effectively to support discovery, access, and usability in large-scale digital libraries. The talk covers a wide range of topics, including several metadata-related projects I’ve written about here, such as subject maps, copyright data, and work-oriented catalog views. I’ve posted slides and notes from the talk on my Metadata Challenge page, which you’re welcome to download and read.
This coming Tuesday, I’ll be giving a more tightly focused metadata talk at the Digital Library Federation forum in Palo Alto. I’ll be going into detail about how we use freely distributed linked authority data on subjects from the Library of Congress to improve discovery in catalogs being maintained and developed at Penn. In the same session, Kevin Ford of the Library of Congress will talk about recent changes and new improvements in the service we’re using.
I expect my presentation to include a live demo and other interactive elements, and we both hope to leave plenty of time for questions and discussion. If you’re interested in how you can use LC’s authority data, or data like it, to improve subject-oriented catalogs, I encourage you to attend the session if you can make it.