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Development of a relational database schema for collection-level descriptions in SCONE, the Scottish Collections Network

Dunsire, Gordon (2004) Development of a relational database schema for collection-level descriptions in SCONE, the Scottish Collections Network. In: 7th Seminar on Archives, Libraries, Museums, 2003-11-26 - 2003-11-28.

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The paper describes the development of the database schema and structure of SCONE, the Scottish Collections Network, which provides a web based retrieval of information about the location, content and accessibility of print and digital library collections held in Scotland, with appropriate links to online resources and finding aids. The basic schema is derived from an entity-relationship model of collections and their catalogues, primarily concerned with single instances, which has been extended to cover multiple collections at different levels of aggregation. Several large data sets were used to test the schema and develop an implementation of it in a normalized relational database. The database structure has been compared with and mapped to other collection-level description schemas in use or under development in the United Kingdom. Content standards have been established for some schema attributes, and the degree of compatibility with other schemas identified. Single collection-level descriptions are created from the database using Structured Query Language. The database schema accomodates the use of a functional granularity, or pragmatic approach to collection description by allowing multiple levels of sub-collection in a polyhierarchical relationship. Inheritance and other features of the implementation of the database in the SCONE service improve reusability and maintenance of the data. The database schema and structure continue to be developed as part of current research projects in subject retrieval, interoperability, and distributed digital library environments.