[Coll_Collab] Forum on NCD Project - January 24

Martha L Smalley martha.smalley at yale.edu
Thu Jan 3 10:38:56 EST 2008

Save the date....

The Yale Collections Collaborative 
(http://www.yale.edu/collections_collaborative/) will be sponsoring a 
forum on the Natural Collections Description Project on January 24th 
from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Peabody Museum Auditorium, featuring 
presentations by Carol Butler (Smithsonian Institution), Neil Thomson 
(the Natural History Museum,London) and Roger Hyam (Royal Botanic 
Garden Edinburgh). Although the NCD Project is focused on natural 
history collections, the concepts and methodology of the project will 
be of interest to anyone who deals with metadata and the challenges 
of describing and relating groups of materials.  See below for more 

If you would like to have an opportunity to join the presenters for 
lunch and more detailed discussion in the afternoon, please let me know.

The NCD Project
Collection descriptions are electronic records that document the 
holdings of an organization as groups of items and complement the 
more traditional item-level records such as are produced for a single 
specimen or a library book. The NCD Interest Group has developed a 
data standard, called Natural Collections Description (NCD) for 
describing entire collections of natural history materials; one NCD 
record describes one entire collection, including information about 
the collection, access and usage of the collection and where to get 
more detailed information. NCD brings together work on collections 
descriptions being carried out for the European Union Framework VI 
program SYNTHESYS with the work performed by RAVNS under the auspices 
of RLG Programs.

A brief descriptive record as defined by the NCD standard can act as 
the "business card" for a collection, providing enough information to 
identify and locate it. The standard enables the aggregation of 
collections descriptions from many sources and facilitates resource 
discovery. Another discovery use is that relationships among 
collections in several locations can be established using NCD records.

NCD is a lightweight resource description standard specific to 
natural history collections, such as specimens, original artwork, 
archives, observations, library materials, datasets, photographs or 
mixed collections such as those that result from expeditions and 
voyages of discovery. NCD primarily holds information about 
collections of objects, but can also be used to describe 
organizations (collections of collections) and networks (collections 
of organizations). NCD is between general resource discovery 
standards such as Dublin Core (DC) and rich collection description 
standards such as the Encoded Archival Description (EAD). It will be 
possible to extract a Dublin Core record from an NCD record for use 
with general resource discovery systems. It is also possible to use 
an NCD record as the seed for a richer collection description, like EAD.

Martha Lund Smalley
Special Collections Librarian / Curator of the Day Missions Collection
Yale Divinity School Library
409 Prospect St.  New Haven, CT 06511
Phone 203 432-5289  Fax 203 432-3906
Martha.Smalley at yale.edu 

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