Research collections are an important tool for understanding the Earth, its systems, and human interaction. Despite the importance of collections, many are not maintained or curated as thoroughly as we desire. Part of the reason for this is the lack of professional reward for collection, curation, or maintenance. To address this gap in attribution metadata, the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and the Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) organization co-endorsed a Working Group to create recommendations for the representation of attribution metadata. After 18 months, this Working Group recommended the use of PROV entities and properties to link people (Agent), the curatorial actions they perform (Activity), and the digital or physical objects they are curating (Entity). Assigning a Role to an Agent is optional. These recommendations are discussed in the context of the RDA, TDWG, and existing standards.
Future work includes (1) adapting these recommendations to the specific needs of TDWG and the natural history collections community, which could include development of a Darwin Core extension, (2) recommendations on how to best record agents, activities, and entities in collections management platforms such that these data can be shared, and (3) recommendations and possible solutions to help accelerate the process of reconciling agents and their activities in legacy data.
Presenters: Anne Thessen (Oregon State University, ORCID), David Shorthouse (CMN, ORCID)