PBCore Office Hours Experience

Guest post by Kathryn Gronsbell and Lisa Barrier, Carnegie Hall Archives

Ever sat clicking between tabs of online documentation, trying to figure out how to develop your data model to intersect with an existing schema? At Carnegie Hall, we base our in-house cataloging requirements on a mix of standards that best represent our collection of print, image, and audiovisual materials (from analog and digital sources). These cataloging requirements recognize interoperability, or specifically how ‘mappable’ our records are to various standards, schemas, and vocabularies. Our ultimate goal is to connect our performance and collection metadata with data aggregators and the linked open data cloud. Thanks to the PBCore Office Hour, we had a mini-consultation with PBCore experts to specifically address an asset-type disambiguation question and to generally further the progress towards our interoperability goal.*

The Office Hour process was simple: we submitted a question for a time slot and signed into a conference video call to chat. Our initial question was answered in less than five minutes. We spent the remaining time exchanging ideas about integrating PBCore elements and vocabularies and discussing use cases for aligning cataloging behaviors with existing schemas. While PBCore documentation is good (really good), it can be intimidating. The Office Hour discussion simplified our usage and context questions and increased the accessibility and our understanding of the schema’s development. Using the Google Hangouts video chat lowered the technical barrier and made communicating complex ideas a little easier.

Knowing that we have ongoing, direct access to actual people is an incredible resource. We hope that there are more opportunities like this for other standards and schemas as documentation alone can be hard to digest and conference presentations with limited Q&A do not meet most people’s needs. And who can beat a free, engaging mini-consultation, where YOU guide the conversation?

We look forward to the next set of Office Hours and definitely encourage others to participate. It’s open to all levels of experience and familiarity with the schema, so whether you’re a student or a seasoned metadata veteran, there’s always room for conversation.


*Our discussion focused on how Carnegie Hall defines the difference between content type (interview, performance recording)  and video production keywords (rough cut, bumper, indexed by work). We shared our use of content types and asked how they are represented in PBCore. We discussed the importance of maintaining these concepts separately, and examined how PBCore incorporates repeatable asset types and ultimately allows for us to assign multiple asset types (such as a content type and video production keyword) to an asset.