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About the Registry

Why was the CUL registry developed?
The CUL Digital Collections Registry is an outcome of the Integrated Framework initiative, which aimed to develop policies and technologies to enable integrated discovery and management of CUL’s digital collections. The initiative was a part of the Cornell University Library’s Priority Objectives in order to develop technical and organizational strategies to support the efficient discovery, use, and management of the Library’s digital content. Digital Collections Registry Development Team included Matt Arnstein, Jena Bakula, Gale Halpern (Coordinator), Keith Jenkins, Peter Martinez, Rick Silterra, Oya Rieger (Advisor).

What is the purpose for a digital collections registry?
A digital collection registry provides the ability to discover digital collections and maintains information on services that enable harvesting and federated searching of the collections. The registry was developed mainly as an administrative tool for CUL staff to support our collection management and federated discovery activities rather than being a stand-alone end-user tool.  Development of a registry requires both a database and a set of tools to support the accompanying workflows and processes to build and disseminate the collection description information.

What are the benefits of a digital collections registry?

  • Store baseline administrative metadata, which will provide improved profiles of Cornell digital collections (e.g., sponsoring unit/library, copyright status, availability of usage statistics, etc.) and facilitate digital asset management.
  • Act as a common entry point for incoming service requests such as federated searching (SRU requests) or OAI harvesting.
  • Offer collection descriptions to support interoperability with other cultural institutions, utilizing standard vocabularies and processes as well as mapping to other collection description formats (i.e. IMLS DCC, OCKHAM)
  • Encourage development of standard interfaces and services within Cornell collections contributing to a higher quality digital library.
  • Offer customized reporting functions, which will simplify communication with outside entities such as DLF and IMLS. Reports will support administrative and publicity functions.
  • Provide an interface (search/browse) to facilitate digital collection discovery. Enables users to discover information by subject, collection descriptions, genre (i.e. visual images, GIS), etc.

How do you define “digital collections”?
A digital collection is:

  • a coherent set of digital objects that are organized in a systematic way such as by subject, genre, origin, type of material, etc.
  • searchable as a unique collection or subcollection and
  • identified with a unique entry point (url).
Each collection inventoried in the Registry is maintained by Cornell University Library and is managed by a content curator, typically the librarian with collection development responsibilities for the relevant subject area(s) or related physical collection(s) (see the list of Cornell University Library Selectors).

What is OCKHAM?
The CUL implementation is based on the OCKHAM registry model , which is an outcome of a joint initiative between the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and the Digital Library Federation (DLF). We used selected fields from the IMLS DCC data dictionary. We see this registry as the cornerstone of the CUL integrated framework because of its emphasis on both metadata and services.

Where can I find more information about the data fields in the Registry?
Information about the data dictionary used for the registry is available at:

Who develops and manages the CUL Registry?
DLIT will continue to lead the technical development efforts. The Registry records will be managed by Central Library Operations(CLO) Metadata and Batch Processing Services. The Registry team will continue to work with the Collection Development Executive Committee in identifying curatorial roles and developing a policy in deciding what should be included in the registry.

What are the future plans for the registry?
We look forward to hearing your comments to help us develop a future development agenda and to set priorities. One of the goals of this release is to understand how the registry can support our managerial and discovery activities. Additional help pages and documentation are still under development and will be added in the near future.

How do I get help or send my comments?
If you have questions, comments and suggestions on the content of the Registry, or want to add new collections or data, please email Questions on registry functionality can be directed to Rick Silterra (es287 AT