Diversity and Identity: Categories for OAI data-providers in the Open Language Archives Network


  • Hugh Paterson III University of North Texas




This work analyzes the network typology of data-providers who use the Open Archive Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) to engage in ethnolinguistic information-resource stewardship. The Open Language Archive Community’s (OLAC) network is analyzed addressing: (1) the ontological nature of OAI data-providers, chiefly that not all data-providers are archives; (2) the classificatory nature of the data-providers in contrast to existing OLAC categories of personal and institutional; and (3) the impact of classification/description on the social-understanding about those providers. That is, discrete classificatory terminology does not exist within the target OLAC user community. A broader understanding of the classificatory distinctions among cultural heritage organizations would enable depositors to select the most appropriate institutions for cultural heritage preservation. Two classification taxonomies are presented for the data-providers. The taxonomy terms are applied to the members of the network: (1) as a lens by which one may understand metadata quality discrepancies across data-providers; (2) to identify strong and weak areas within the network; and (3) to identify network growth potential in contrast to the historically involved network participants. The developed taxonomies are applicable to cultural heritage networks outside of the set of OLAC data-providers and contribute to broader metadata quality discussions in the Library-Archive-Museum (LAM) community.