A draft standard for International Standard Collection Identifiers (ISCI) is under review by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It will establish a unique identifier for each archival collection and fond. The ISCI will provide a means for duplicate control with metasearch applications, and can be used with the standard collection description metadata element set (NISO Z39.91). You can access the draft at http://www.niso.org/pdfs/ISO_NP_27730ISCIandWD.pdfThe introduction to the draft states:
ISO TC46 has developed standard identifiers for a wide variety of entities. However, a standard identifier for collections and fonds has not been built. In the past there has not been a need for such an identifier, either, but the situation has changed. There is now a large number of collections and fonds and a broad range of organisations hosting them. These collections and fonds can be physical or electronic, partly physical and partly electronic, or virtual; they can be available either on-line in the Internet or off-line.The working draft is 8 pages with the entire document being 16 pages in length. It already includes comments from some who have reviewed it. Additional comments are due by July 27, 2007 (and I assume due to the project leader named in the document).
The need for identifying collections and fonds has emerged with introduction of metasearch engines, which do – or will – include collection descriptions as a means of helping the patrons to locate relevant information. An identifier is generally seen as one of the key metadata elements of collection description; while it is possible to use local identifiers, in an environment where global exchange of this kind of metadata is anticipated, usage of local identifiers is not a good option. Local collection or fond identifiers do not enable either efficient searching or duplicate detection.
The aim of this standard is to enable a system which requires neither a large – and expensive – international centre nor large national/ regional centres, even if tens or hundreds of thousands of collections and fonds are identified.
Even if you are not interested in the details, you may want to take a look at this in order to see how a standard is proposed. Of course, if the standard is adopted, we may be learning more about it in the future!
Technorati tags: Metadata, Standards