The FAST and the FRDR: A story of automated metadata reconciliation
One challenge with metadata aggregation is implementing controlled vocabularies for subject terms. When metadata sources use uncontrolled keywords, how can a metadata aggregator implement a controlled vocabulary on top of this harvested metadata? The Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR) Discovery Service is a metadata aggregation service with a focus on Canadian research data. To solve the problem of uncontrolled keywords, a group of librarians across Canada attempted to map FRDR’s harvested subject terms to the Faceted Application of Subject Terminology (FAST), using a combination of automated and manual techniques. The benefits were obvious: improved metadata quality, better discovery, and an easier browsing experience. However, after two years of work on this problem, we decided to end the project. We will share what we accomplished, why we were unsuccessful, and what we think this project means for the future of cataloguing automation.