Automated Enhancement of Controlled Vocabularies: Upgrading Legacy Metadata in CONTENTdm [Conference Paper]



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International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications


To ensure robust, reliable, retrievable and sharable metadata, the University of Houston (UH) Libraries initiated a Metadata Upgrade Project in 2013 to systematically audit and refine the quality of the metadata in the University of Houston Digital Library (UHDL). Still in progress, the Metadata Upgrade project has already produced significant improvements in the UHDL’s legacy metadata. The final phase of the Metadata Upgrade Project includes aligning controlled vocabulary terms with appropriate authorities and adding and revising descriptive content in the digital library. This is a time intensive process that requires careful evaluation and entry of name and subject authority terms. To improve efficiency and accuracy during the data entry process, the metadata librarian at UH Libraries developed name and subject authority applications that automatically transform legacy controlled vocabulary terms into authorized forms.

This project report will provide an overview of the University of Houston’s Metadata Upgrade Project, a discussion of how the UHDL’s upgraded metadata improves discoverability of our collections, and an in-depth look at the custom tools that automate the authority alignment process in the CONTENTdm Project Client.


This paper was published in the conference proceedings that accompanied the International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications 2014 meeting in Austin, Texas.


metadata, controlled vocabularies, authority control, Metadata, Controlled vocabularies, Authority control