Published July 5, 2011 | Version v1
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Building bridges: mapping diverse classifications for a seamless user navigation experience

  • 1. BBC Information and Archives


This paper describes a BBC project to unify Archive and Production workspaces, during
which numerous issues with managing different types of metadata and Knowledge Organi-
sation Systems (KOSs) were encountered. Integrating diverse content silos requires bringing
together not simply the assets, but also the metadata used to manage those assets. The paper
summarises the theoretical background to the project, the BBC’s ‘information ecosystem’,
and the user research and requirements-gathering exercises undertaken.
Much work on developing metadata crosswalks has been at the heading or label level, and
not based on semantic analysis of the content of the labelling or description. However, such
semantic analysis needs to be undertaken when mapping diverse taxonomies, thesauri, and
keyword lists and, in practice, often needs to balance preservation of local or specialised
terminology with accessibility for general users. Just as metadata about content permits the
organization of that content, so metadata about metadata (parametadata, or meta-metadata)
permits the organization of metadata, enabling end users to make informed browse and
navigation choices. Increasingly, in order to integrate content, different KOSs, such as
taxonomies and ontologies, need to be related.
The paper concludes by summarising the ways in which problems that arose during the
integration project were resolved, and how policies for managing parametadata, subjective
metadata, and semantic-level mapping were developed.



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