A logic-based framework for collection/item metadata relationships

Publication Date08 October 2018
AuthorKaren Wickett
SubjectLibrary & information science,Records management & preservation,Document management,Classification & cataloguing,Information behaviour & retrieval,Collection building & management,Scholarly communications/publishing,Information & knowledge management,Information management & governance,Information management,Information & communications technology,Internet
A logic-based framework for
collection/item metadata
Karen Wickett
School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign,
Champaign, Illinois, USA
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to present a framework for the articulation of relationships between
collection-level and item-level metadata as logical inference rules. The framework is intended to allow the
systematic generation of relevant propagation rules and to enable the assessment of those rules for particular
contexts and the translation of rules into algorithmic processes.
Design/methodology/approach The framework was developed using first order predicate logic.
Relationshipsbetween collection-leveland item-level descriptionare expressed as propagationrules inference
rules where the properties of one entity entail conclusions about another entity in virtue of a particular
relationship those individuals bear to each other. Propagation rules for reasoning between the collection and
item levelare grouped together in the frameworkaccording to their logicalform as determined by the natureof
the propagation actionand the attributes involved in the rule.
Findings The primary findings are the analysis of relationships between collection-level and item-level
metadata, and the framework of categories of propagation rules. In order to fully develop the framework, the
paperincludes an analysis of colloquialmetadata recordsand the collection membershiprelation that providesa
general method for the translation of metadata records into formal knowledgerepresentation languages.
Originality/value The method for formalizing metadata records described in the paper represents
significant progress in the application of knowledge representation techniques to problems of metadata
creation and management, providing a flexible technique for encoding colloquial metadata as a set of
statements in first-order logic. The framework of rules for collection/item metadata relationships has a range
of potential applications for the enhancement or metadata systems and vocabularies.
Keywords Semantics, Cataloguing, Metadata, Digital libraries, Linked data, Collections,
Information modelling
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Digital libraries, repositories and aggregation systems frequently hold collective entities
that are composed of individual objects. Examples include a collection of photographs, an
archival group of records, or a complex data set consisting of data generated by a single
scientific instrument. While these collective entities may not be explicitly referred to as
collections in all cases, they have a compositional structure that introduces two distinct
levels of description the collection level and the item level. Metadata describing these
collective entities and their constituents may be attached to the collection, the items or
to both.
Collection metadata and item metadata are related in virtue of the compositional
relationship between items and collections. Therefore, facts about items can be inferred from
descriptions of collections, and facts about collections can be inferred from descriptions of
items. For instance, one might infer than an item is owned by a particular person on the
basis of a description stating that a collection containing the item is owned by that person.
This reasoning about collection and items is based on a metadata relationship between
collection ownership and item ownership.
Many of the properties in a metadata schema have inherent relationships to other
properties, and characterizing these relationships has the potential to reshape and improve
resource description, metadata validation and schema development by exposing the logical
Journal of Documentation
Vol. 74 No. 6, 2018
pp. 1175-1189
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/JD-01-2018-0017
Received 27 January 2018
Revised 1 June 2018
Accepted 2 June 2018
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:

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