We try to have as much useful information and detail in the metadata for our digital collections as we can. Of course, there are limits to the amount of time and the number of people available to create metadata. It can also be difficult to decide how much time anybody should spend on any one item when there are so many more items waiting to be added to the digital collections.
However, even when we get our metadata looking the way we want it to, that’s not how it will necessarily show up initially to a person searching with the Library’s main search tool. Primo by Ex Libris is a discovery and delivery tool that the Library uses on its web page for people to search for any kind of item that the Library has access to. The search results bring together the physical holdings in the building and online resources, including the Library’s digital collections. Obviously, these search results are brief and standardized to bring together various formats.
The Primo display of search results has a thumbnail of each item with a classification below it such as Text, Image, Audio, or Video. Not all of our metadata terms map to an exact term in the Primo display. Our metadata standard is to use the terms “Moving Image” and “Sound” where Primo uses “Video” and “Audio” respectively. Also, Primo unfortunately can only display one classification type for each item, even if the item in our digital collection fits multiple types. One example is a book titled Hello Beautiful, which has text and images as well as an audio recording of a person reading the book aloud. Our metadata shows that this item includes Text, Image and Sound, but since the search results can show only one type, we had to choose one. To work with this limitation, we decided on a descending hierarchy for multi-type items in our digital collections. If the item includes Moving Image, then Video will be the type displayed in Primo; otherwise, if it includes Sound, then Audio will be the type displayed; otherwise, Image will be the type displayed.
Users searching in Primo won’t know from the search results page alone that an item in our digital collection could fit multiple classification types, until they actually click on the link to open the item and see all the types that are listed. Obviously, search results must be limited, but we do the best we can to map our detailed metadata with the Primo discovery and delivery tool.