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Multilingual metadata for cultural heritage materials: The case of the Tse-Tsung Chow Collection of Chinese Scrolls and Fan Paintings

Krystyna K. Matusiak (Library & Information Science Program, Morgridge College of Education , University of Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA.)
Ling Meng (UWM Libraries, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)
Ewa Barczyk (UWM Libraries, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)
Chia-Jung Shih (UWM Libraries, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 2 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore multilingual access in digital libraries and to present a case study of creating bilingual metadata records for the Tse-Tsung Chow Collection of Chinese Scrolls and Fan Paintings. The project, undertaken at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, provides access to digital copies of calligraphic and painted Chinese scrolls and fans from the collection donated by Prof Tse-Tsung Chow (Cezong Zhou).

Design/methodology/approach

This paper examines the current approaches to multilingual indexing and retrieval in digital collections and presents a model of creating bilingual parallel records that combines translation with controlled vocabulary mapping.

Findings

Creating multilingual metadata records for cultural heritage materials is in an early phase of development. Bilingual metadata created through human translation and controlled vocabulary mapping represents one of the approaches to multilingual access in digital libraries. Multilingual indexing of collections of international origin addresses the linguistic needs of the target audience, connects the digitized objects to their respective cultures and contributes to richer descriptive records. The approach that relies on human translation and research can be undertaken in small-scale digitization projects of rare cultural heritage materials. Language and subject expertise are required to create bilingual metadata records.

Research limitations/implications

This paper presents the results of a case study. The approach to multilingual access that involves research, and it relies on human translation that can only be undertaken in small-scale projects.

Practical implications

This case study of creating parallel records with a combination of translation and vocabulary mapping can be useful for designing similar bilingual digital collections.

Social implications

This paper also discusses the obligations of holding institutions in undertaking digital conversion of the cultural heritage materials that originated in other countries, especially in regard to providing metadata records that reflect the language of the originating community.

Originality/value

The research and practice in multilingual indexing of cultural heritage materials are very limited. There are no standardized models of how to approach building multilingual digital collections. This case study presents a model of providing bilingual access and enhancing the intellectual control of cultural heritage collections.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This article is an updated and expanded version of the paper presented at the IFLA Satellite Post-Conference: Beyond Libraries-Subject Metadata in the Digital Environment and Semantic Web Multilingual, Tallinn, Estonia, August 16-17, 2012.

Citation

Matusiak, K.K., Meng, L., Barczyk, E. and Shih, C.-J. (2015), "Multilingual metadata for cultural heritage materials: The case of the Tse-Tsung Chow Collection of Chinese Scrolls and Fan Paintings", The Electronic Library, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 136-151. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-08-2013-0141

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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