Hi all,

I'm trying to understand how digital library systems work when there is a
need to search both metadata and item text content (plain text/full text),
and when the item is made up of more than one file (so, think a digitized
multi-page yearbook or newspaper). I'm not looking for answers to a
specific problem, really, just looking to know what is the current state of
community practice.

In our current system (ContentDM), the "full text" of something lives in
the metadata record, so it is indexed and searched along with the metadata,
and essentially treated as if it were metadata. (Correct?). This causes
problems in advanced searching and muddies the relationship between what is
typically a descriptive metadata record and the file that is associated
with the record. It doesn't seem like a great model for the average digital
library. True? I know the answer is "it depends", but humor me... :)

If it isn't great, and there are better models, what are they? I was taught
METS in school, and based on that, I'd approach the metadata in a METS or
METS-like fashion. But I'm unclear on the steps from having a bunch of METS
records that include descriptive metadata and pointers to text files of the
OCR (we don't, but if we did...) to indexing and providing results to
users. I think another way of phrasing this question might be: how is the
full text of a compound object (in the sense of a digitized yearbook or
similar) typically indexed?

The user requirements for this situation are essentially:
1. User can search for something and get a list of results. If something
(let's say a pamphlet) appears in results based on a hit in full text, the
user selects the pamphlet which opens to the file (or page of the pamphlet)
that contains the text that was matched. This is pretty normal and does
work in our current system.
2. In an advanced search, a user might search for a name in the "author"
field and a phrase in the "full text" field, and say they want both
conditions to be fulfilled. In our current system, this won't provide
results when it should, because the full text content is in one record and
the author's name is in another record, so the AND condition can't be met.
3. Librarians can link description metadata records (DC in our case) to
particular files, sometimes one to one, sometimes many to one, sometimes
one to many.

If this is too unclear, let me know...

Laura Buchholz
Digital Projects Librarian
Reed College Library
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