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

  • Author / Creator
    Leung, Colette
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts/Master of Library and Information Studies
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. 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.