Pieced Together with Love and the Dublin Core Martin & Cassner (2002) write, "Quilting is one of the great American grassroots art forms, but the need to document it is often overlooked" (p. 98). In the small town of Howard, South Dakota, a woman by the name of Julie Feldhaus has been gifting friends and family with the art form of quilts for years. In a personal interview on December 5, 2014, Feldhaus explains that looking at her quilts in chronological order is similar to reading her diary. "Quilts that were made to cover a double bed were usually made for wedding gifts, cowgirl quilts for granddaughters, cowboy quilts for grandsons and buffalo fabric showed up the same time the real ones arrived on the truck," Feldhaus explained. She also acknowledges that you can tell the state of the economy by the fabrics that are used to make each quilted item. Feldhaus further explained that while she truly does not know how many items she has pieced together, so feels that she has completed at least 200 projects. If one woman's life story can be captured from examining her quilts, can you imagine the history that can be learned from combining various quilts within a region?
"Museums and libraries of all sizes often find themselves storing and archiving collections of items" (Quilt Index National Leadership Project, 2008) that are unused and often times not cataloged for the patrons to even find. In a study conducted in 1985 of 379 libraries, 58% reported the existence of three-dimensional objects within their collections (Bierbaum, 1985). This same study found that the majority of these three-dimensional objects within library collections were obtained as gifts (Bierbaum, 1985). This suggests that patrons are expecting these items to be found and used within library collections. By creating records using Dublin Core, these items may be more accessible to the patrons instead of being lost and buried in some dark corner of the library.
Dublin Core was originally made up of 15 elements: title, creator, subject, descriptions, publisher, contributor, date, type, format, identifier, source, language, relation, coverage and rights (Weibel, 1997). Weibel explains that the Dublin Core is intended to be used by "noncatalogers". "It is expected that authors or Web-site maintainers unschooled in the cataloging arts should be able to use the Dublin Core for resource description, making their collections more visible to search engines and retrieval systems" (pg. 9). Three additional elements, audience, provenance and rights holder, can be added to Dublin Core (Coleman, 2005). With the addition of these three elements Dublin Core is now classified as qualified Dublin Core instead of simple Dublin Core.
Thanks to its ease of use and no official training needed, DC has spread across several fields and countries. Harris and Stuart (2004) write,
"Developed and tested in the bibliographic community in the mid-1990s, the utility of the Dublin Core Metadata Set was quickly recognized internationally. It has now been translated into 25 different languages and seven national governments have adopted the Dublin Core element set as the national metadata standard for government resources. Dublin Core Metadata is the basis for description used by corporations and nongovernmental agencies including the World Health Organization, the United Nations Environmental Program, the European Environmental agency, and the Food and Agriculture Organization" (pg. 32).
While these are some of the specific organizations and agencies that use Dublin Core, it is also used in "librarianship, computer science, text encoding, the museum community, and other related fields of scholarship and practice" (UIL, 2009).
The simplicity of Dublin Core is obvious when comparing a record created in MARC MAchine-Readable Cataloging). Olson (2001) explains when creating records using MARC,
"Handmade objects, three-dimensional art works, or unique materials that are not published would have only a date in the publication, distribution, etc., area, just as is done with dissertations and theses. The name of the maker/creator of the unpublished object goes in the statement of responsibility, bracketed only if not given anywhere on the item, but known by the cataloger. Any information about place of manufacture goes in a note rather than as place of publication, as the item is not published" (p. 141).
Confused? The ease of the 15 elements relieves catalogers of the frustration of trying to figure out what goes where and trying to decide if information should be in brackets or not. How about this example also by Olson (2001),
"The term "realia" is used in AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules) for real items as opposed to reproductions, models, or toys. The real items may be manufactured, such as items of clothing, furniture, or weapons, or they may be handmade, such as quilts, handicrafts, or pottery" (p. 146).
By using Dublin Core, catalogers with little to no experience are given the freedom of entering the date under the Dublin Core element of date and entering quilt if that is what the item is with the Dublin Core element of type.
If Dublin Core is the perfect solution, why aren't all libraries using it? Guenther (2003) writes that there are three major causes "that can be adduced for the less than enthusiastic adoption in the library world of the Dublin Core" (p. 137). She feels that the Dublin Core is incomplete, does not have an acceptable set of instructions, and has a slow adoption rate. Guenther (2003) further states "because the Dublin Core is incomplete and undocumented, it is expensive and difficult to use, and thus fails to provide a...