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The Journeys of Books: Rare Books and Manuscripts Provenance Metadata in a Digital Age Open Access


Other title
provenance metadata
rare books
cataloguing and classification
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Leung, Colette
Supervisor and department
Quamen, Harvey (Humanities Computing)
Shiri, Ali (School of Library and Information Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Considine, John (Department of English and Film Studies)
Rathi, Dinesh (School of Library and Information Studies)
Humanities Computing
School of Library and Information Studies

Date accepted
Graduation date
2016-06:Fall 2016
Master of Arts/Master of Library and Information Studies
Degree level
This thesis seeks to examine the current state of the provenance metadata of rare books and manuscripts in digital special collections, and how that metadata can be enhanced using visualization tools. The multi-faceted nature of provenance is addressed, as well as the standards used to capture provenance metadata. Reasons for the development of these standards are identified and grounded in the historical development of both archives and special collections. Contemporary roles of provenance metadata in facilitating big data, interoperability, linked data, and data curation are also presented. A two-part action research study was carried out. The first half of the study reviews the use of provenance metadata in sixty-four digital special collections, with focus on medieval and early modern rare books and manuscripts. Descriptive and digital factors of the collections are also considered in relation to the provenance metadata. Building on this research, visualization is tested as a means of addressing challenges in capturing provenance metadata and fulfilling contemporary uses of metadata for digital special collections. An environmental scan of eight visualization projects and case studies on five, open-source visualization tools were performed. The conclusion finds that provenance metadata is in the best state it has ever been in both quality and extent of use, and that visualization has the potential to address issues in capturing provenance as metadata and enhance user experiences. Provenance metadata, however, still suffers from a lack of guidance, and would benefit from being recognized as several distinct fields instead of a single one. This thesis suggests what these fields might be, and reveals the potential to create a more robust visualization tool for provenance metadata. Directions for future research are also reviewed.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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