[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
[ARSCLIST] MIC (Moving Image Collections) and Cataloging sound recordings
A colleague drew my attention to the mentions of MIC (Moving Image Collections) on this list, so I've joined up in order to answer some of your questions. I'm MIC Project Manager at the Library of Congress.
MIC is a collaboration of the Library of Congress and the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA). Its initial development phase was funded by a National Science Foundation grant, with Rutgers University Libraries as the lead developer. (Other developers are the University of Washington for the Archive Directory and Georgia Tech for the Website and search engine.)
As you may know, in 1994 the Library of Congress published the national film preservation plan (Redefining Film Preservation), which had been mandated by the U.S. Congress as part of the National Film Preservation Act. This was a sort of "state of the field" report which described the crisis in film preservation at that time. As a result of this study, the Library turned to AMIA to prioritize the plan's recommendations and develop realistic implementation plans. AMIA formed a Board-level committee and a number of task forces, including the Cataloging Task Force, which identified the first and most crucial step in a national moving image preservation strategy: establish a standardized mechanism to identify holdings, particularly unique titles, so that strategic planning and collaborative decision-making could occur. The MIC union catalog was thus designed to provide standardized and flexible access to moving image collections held by archives and individuals. MIC originated as a preservation initiative, but it grew out of the cataloging community. Sally McCallum and Barbara Tillett at the Library of Congress, both leaders in the national and international cataloging communities, serve on and advise the MIC Steering Committee.
In fact, MIC's innovative design is metadata-driven, and tightly integrates a union catalog, directories, informational resources in a portal structure in order to simultaneously address multiple goals of expanding education, outreach, access, preservation, and research in culture and information technology. The MIC mission is to immerse moving images into the education mainstream, recognizing that what society uses, it values, and what it values, it preserves.
MIC brings together in one place for discovery the wealth of the world's moving images in all its variety of genres, forms, subject areas, and formats, from a multitude of diverse organizations, regardless of organizational type, size, mission, available resources, or metadata standards employed. MIC's Union Catalog allows users to search across multiple repositories to find current, detailed descriptions of moving images, and the images themselves, for the first time. The Catalog is complemented by an Archive Directory containing descriptions of collections at the repository level.
In a field this diverse, it is not possible to impose a single cataloging standard. Our strategy then is to accommodate the diversity while promoting the use of national and international cataloging standards. Organizations can locally maintain records customized to their own constituents and requirements, while contributing records to MIC, which presents consistent, homogenous displays on its website to all users. MIC maximizes interoperability by accepting records in a variety of schema, mapping them through its Core Registry of data elements (http://gondolin.rutgers.edu/MIC/text/how/unioncat_registry_table_01_05.htm), and making them available through a number of additional avenues for discovery. An archive employing Dublin Core for ease of use in-house, for example, can make its records available in MARC for Z39.50 access or in MPEG-7 for low-level indexing. MIC also promotes standards by actively demonstrating by example, in an actual working tool, the benefits of best practices.
Currently, MIC can load records from several standard schema as well as in-house schema, using its mapping utility, now in the testing phase. In the works is a cataloging utility that will allow individual archives and collectors to input records directly into MIC, to create descriptions for preservation, management, and access purposes. This will empower small under-funded organizations to make national standard records available to a much broader audience without the extensive expertise, technical infrastructure, and funding previously required for this activity.
Right now we are focusing on mapping and loading records for the 13 alpha sites, plus a half dozen other organizations who have signed up to test the mapping utility. Alpha sites were chosen to give us a cross section of organizational and collection types and metadata schema, and to provide access to some digitized resources.
The only criteria for Union Catalog participation are 1) machine-readable records and 2) an entry in the MIC Archive Directory, because the Directory and the Union Catalog databases are linked. (A key innovation of MIC is to integrate the Archive Directory and the Union Catalog so that information about obtaining an organization's resources is displayed right alongside the bibliographic record supplied by that organization.) The organization (or individual) submits an application, sample records and field list, then MIC populates an online form with this data so that the organization can name MIC data element equivalents for its own fields. This utility will allow small under-supported archives--and individuals--with very little metadata expertise to share their records with a much broader audience, while enabling large archives to integrate multiple metadata schema into a single system.
In addition to providing access to materials through its Archive Directory and Union Catalog, MIC offers informational resources through a portal structure that allows delivery of customized information on archival moving images, their preservation, and the images themselves to a number of diverse constituencies: archivists (including preservationists, catalogers, and exhibition programmers), educators, and the general public. All of MIC's components (Union Catalog, Archive Directory, information resources, and portal structure) work together to enable collaborative community building. The information resources, created and gathered by experts in the field, contribute to the continuing education of archival professionals. The Archive Directory, by systematically gathering and normalizing data about organizations' archival practices, gives archivists the information they need to build collaborations, evaluate cataloging and preservation activities in similar organizations, and self-identify organizations with common interests. They can then exploit MIC's portal structure to sponsor research and education portals, and offer active collaborative training and development in areas of mutual interest. This promotes strategic decision-making and management at national and international consortial levels. Archive Directory data can also enable sponsors LC and AMIA to identify and target particular training needs, potential collaborations, and emerging trends, in order to focus community training and support.
Archivists will also be aided in their day-to-day work by the planned Service Providers Directory, listing individuals and organizations supplying professional services and products for archival moving image collections. Designed to complement the Archive Directory, the Service Providers Directory will include listings for labs, professional associations, funding agencies, stock footage researchers, consultants (in appraisal, preservation, collection management, library science, etc.), and service providers in the areas of digital data storage and migration, environmental monitoring, etc. The Directory will also list companies selling, renting, servicing, and repairing archival moving image equipment and supplies. We will provide password-protected access so that vendors can create and update their own entries, as well as administrative tools to support automatic annual requests for updates. The Directory design is based on usability studies conducted for the MIC Archive Directory and will utilize MIC's search engine and architecture. Watch for the test version of the Directory, to be released this summer.
In addition, MIC's design will enable research and development in emerging technologies by making available a representative cross section of moving image bibliographic records (currently around 340,000) in a variety of metadata schemas. Computer science researchers and the archival community can partner to explore issues such as digital rights management, active privacy policies, and fair use, or low-level indexing such as text or facial recognition.
Last but not least, MIC serves as a model to facilitate parallel projects in allied fields. We believe that MIC would serve as an excellent model for the archival sound recording community; in fact the acronym MIC was chosen because it could stand for "Media In Collections" as easily as "Moving Image Collections." While we continue to consider the possibility of MIC's expansion into the area of archival sound recordings, another option would be to develop a parallel initiative for the sound recording community which would utilize and build on MIC's existing and powerful infrastructure.
This year the AMIA conference will be held in Austin, Texas, November 30 through December 3, 2005, and MIC will be on the agenda. Karl, I hope you will drop by and have a look!
Please visit MIC at http://mic.loc.gov. If you would like to receive regular MIC updates via the MIC-Announce list, or would simply like more information about MIC, please don't hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your interest!
Jane D. Johnson
MIC Project Manager
Library of Congress
(732) 445-5888 (fax)
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
MIC: Moving Image Collections
A Library of Congress-AMIA Collaboration