BEN Catalog Management

The administrative management of the contents of the BEN portal master catalog of resources is addressed in this section. The metadata catalog contains the records that describe all of the resources that have been harvested from the metadata catalogs of BEN Collaborators. 


 The BEN portal master catalog management tasks are (a.) harvesting of BEN partner catalogs, including the AAAS general biology catalog, (b.) routine metadata review, (c.) and the validation of the accuracy of the metadata records in the AAAS general biology catalog. Validating metadata records only confirms the accuracy of the catalog record.

Catalog Management Objectives

Accurate metadata is critical to users’ successful identification of relevant resources through the BEN portal browse and search services.

Metadata Harvesting

All metadata is harvested from Collaborators’ catalogs, and all metadata is considered validated by the Collaborators prior to harvesting. No resource metadata is entered or modified directly in the BEN Portal master catalog in order to preserve the integrity of the catalog records.

The BEN Collaborative Collaborators have agreed to a standard harvesting schedule of three times per year in the months of July, November, and April. Collaborators can opt not to be harvested on the scheduled date.  The Portal Manager sends an email harvest notice requesting Collaborators indicate whether they would like to be harvest and an estimate of how many new records will result from the harvest.

Metadata is not harvested without a partner’s concurrence. Collaborators also can be harvested upon request.  Once the partner has agreed to be harvested or requested an out-of-cycle harvesting, Isovera runs the programs to collect the partner’s metadata records and load them into the BEN Portal master catalog.

1)       The metadata is harvested to the staging site for review by the Portal Manager and Collaborator’s staff. Problems with the harvested metadata are jointly resolved by Isovera and the Collaborator’s staff with mediation provided by the Portal Manager.

2)       Once the displayed results for browse and search are accurate and the resources appear in the appropriate browse categories, the metadata is harvested to the live site.

3)       After harvesting to the live site, one final review by the Portal Manager and the partner’s staff is done.

Metadata Review

Metadata review after harvesting is performed each time a partner site is harvested.

1)       Record Count Check. Isovera provides a list of records with record-id and title to the Portal Manager and a record count. The Portal Manager also checks the administrative screen for total records contributed by Collaborator. This data is compared to the estimated number of new resources provided by the Collaborator. When there are discrepancies, the Portal Manager reviews them with the Collaborator to identify a reason and agree on any necessary corrective action.

2)       Resource Accessibility Check. The Portal Manager randomly checks for resource availability.  If none of the items that the Portal Manager locates can be accessed and a “Page not found” or similar message is returned, then further analysis is done.  The Portal Manager checks to see if that Collaborator site is working. If a “page not found” error occurs when trying to access the home page of the Collaborator’s collection occurs, then The Portal Manager calls the Collaborator’s point of contact to verify the site is down.

If the site is expected to be down for an extended period of time, then the Portal Manger provides the text for a notice to Isovera for immediate posting on the BEN Portal home page. If the site is up but resources cannot be accessed from the BEN Portal, the Portal Manager and Isovera work with the Collaborator to identify where the problem may be and correct the problem.  

3)       Search Results Check. The Portal Manager reviews search results presented for randomly chosen resources and verifies that a minimum of author, title, collection, description are present for the item.  If there is missing metadata for all of the items reviewed for a collection, the problem is referred to Isovera for further investigation. Keyword searching is performed to identify whether the metadata is coded accurately. Discrepancies are discussed with the Collaborator’s staff.

4)       Browse Results Check. The Portal Manager reviews browse category numbers and browse results.  Discrepancies are initially referred to Isovera for further investigation and then to the Collaborator’s staff.

Nominating a Resource

To date resources are accepted from Collaborators who do not have the capacity to support an independent digital library but have peer-reviewed resources that they want to make accessible to the BEN user community. Though the “nominate a resource is available to registered users, less than ten resources have been submitted from individuals to the AAAS-run ‘General Biology Collection’ since the portal’s launch in 2002.

When a user nominates a resource through the cataloging tool on the Portal site, the user receives an email indicating their nomination was received and the Portal Manager receives an email notification that a new resource has been nominated. The Portal Manager reviews nominated records and assigns the records for review by a Validator.  Each Collaborator contributing to the general biology catalog has a Validator who they’ve identified as having the right subject matter expertise to determine if the grade levels, pedagogical use, disciplines, and keywords are appropriate for their resources. AAAS provides validation support as necessary.

Metadata Harvesting Administrative Tools

There is an administrative screen on the BEN Portal that includes information on each partner’s reaper program, primary point of contact, and last date harvested.  This screen can be reviewed by the Portal Manager.

It is the Portal Manager’s responsibility to schedule harvest and keep track of the ingest harvesting process.

Metadata De-Accessioning

De-accession refers to marking a record as deleted. This is a flag which is set in the database. Upon marking a record as de-accession it will no longer be available to be searched or browsed in the BEN Portal. It will also not be available to be harvested by NSDL. However, the record will remain in the system for future reference if needed. De-accessioning will only be possible through the harvesting process. If the collaborator’s collection would like to remove a resource from the BEN portal, the procedure will involve the collaboration’s collection providing the necessary OAI-PMH XML to BEN via the harvesting process to de-accession the resource.

If a record in the BEN portal is not associated with a collection. Which in turn cannot be updated and harvested from a collection, it will be marked as de-accessioned in BEN’s database.