Banknote Metadata Application Profile
The following report outlines an application profile for a metadata standard that is unique to our Commonwealth of Nations banknote collection that enables our users to best discover its various facets. The report will provide an analysis of the collection, an analysis of the users of the collection, provide the metadata elements, values, and quality, and finally consider the interoperability of the application profile.
Our mid-size museum is in the process of digital transformation and is focused on digitizing much of our overall collections. The focus of this metadata application profile is for a collection of banknotes from the current 54 member states of the Commonwealth of Nations. The collection’s banknotes span over 200 hundred years and includes banknotes produced before the formation of the Commonwealth of Nations, which formed in 1931. Our museum has been in the process of acquiring various objects from these countries in preparation for a large-scale exhibition to celebrate 100 years of the Commonwealth in 2031. This banknote collection is part of a larger numismatics collection in the museum that includes money and other transactional objects.
Besides the anticipated exhibition, the banknote collection will primarily be displayed as digital objects on the museum’s website. We estimate this is where our users will most easily access the collection and extend its use (Zhang & Gourley, 2009). The physical collection will be of importance and available to curators in our museum when mounting exhibitions that include artifacts for any of the 54 nations represented in our banknote collection.
The users who may need to search a banknote collection are identified as collectors, historians, anthropologists, researchers, product designers, graphic designers, forensic examiners, auction/dealer houses, curators, students, and government and banking organizations. This group of users could search using many similar elements, such as name of currency, denominations, country of origin, the year it was produced, dimensions, language, worth, rarity, series, issuing agency, security features, material, historical figures represented on note, color, design markings, printing techniques, current circulation status, era, theme, location, or subject matter. The museum’s purposes and domain dictate that rarity, condition, circulations status, and worth will not be described here. Neither will color, which may not be helpful when considering the subjective judgement required to ascertain a color value.
Bearing in mind User Tasks (The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), 2017), based on an analysis of the content, context and our users, the metadata scheme must allow users to:
- Search and browse by:
- Country of origin
- Issue year
- Issuing authority
- Style period
- Identify and obtain resources (in addition to the above) by:
- Serial number
- Museum number
- Museum location
- Accession number
- Ensure metadata elements provide ample access points
- Make connections between the values in the elements across the collection
This metadata application profile is a project developed by the metadata cataloging team for use by team members tasked with describing and cataloging the Commonwealth of Nations banknote collection. It is maintained by the same team. It is specifically developed to catalogue the banknotes for our Commonwealth collection. This collection serves a dual purpose of the digitization of our collections for our online exhibits, and the upcoming Commonwealth of Nations museum exhibit.
To best describe the attributes of our Commonwealth banknotes collection, the following elements are arranged into groups according to those set out by International Guidelines for Museum Object Information: The CIDOC information categories (Hider, 2018b, p. 161), using a number of the categories.
The elements all crosswalk to VRA Core 4 and Dublin Core (DC). VRA is a cultural object-oriented scheme, and some VRA elements were better suited to describe banknotes over the simplicity of Dublin Core.
Consideration for metadata quality includes functionality, comprehensiveness, accuracy, clarity, and consistency (Hider, 2018a). Where possible, recognized authoritative sources are recommended or required. Color, in particular, was not chosen as an element because of the potential for incorrect color identification impacting the accuracy, clarity, and consistency.
DC was chosen as the basis for mapping where possible due to its development with the “goals of interoperability, extensibility, and flexibility in mind” (Hicks et al., 2007). Other times VRA Core elements were better suited to describing. Each element table below is mapped to well maintained and commonly used schema for improved interoperability. DC is widely used and is the standard most used by the Open Archives Initiative for harvesting by external organizations (Hesburgh Libraries Digital Standards Team, 2012, May 21). This is important for retrieval of the collection’s metadata by “database systems and search engines” (Hider, 2018c).
(To view an example of a record using this application profile, see Appendix).