OK, if you are at BYU, classes started a week ago, and you just had a nice long three-day weekend to get organized for the semester. Its early in the semester still, so you are probably not yet behind. It should be a good time to pickup where we left off with our discussion of the Mormon Literature and Creative Arts database.
Obviously, I’m not willing to let this just drop, and I hope that others here are similarly invested. Since Gideon seemed willing and open to making a proposal, I thought it might be useful to go the next step: define what we, users, need this database to be.
So, I went through the comments in our last discussion of the database, William’s post Have you updated your Mormon Literature Database entry yet? and put together a list of the needs we have (according to what was said in the comments, and my own views). Here it is (in no particular order):
- Timely updates — either those with access to the database need to have enough time and resources to make updates on a timely basis, or users need to be empowered to make updates on some basis.
- Better navigation — In addition to the search-based system now in place, the MLCA should have a way to browse through the database by way of selected indices, and better information on how to search. Featured entries might be nice, as would a number of other ways to navigate through the site. (I know this is ambiguous — we didn’t go into it much).
- An open, crowd-sourced architecture — the ability for users to participate in not only adding data to the database, but in the design of the database structure and the navigation through the data.
- Procedures for modifying the database structure — the database structure (including what information or fields are available in the database) that users need changes over time. The ideal database would need to change with user needs, adding fields and types of information as user needs change.
- Clear policies for what can be included, and perhaps a process for establishing those policies — like the database structure, what data should be included may change over time. What titles, publishers, labels, authors and artists are included should be clearly stated, and some process for establishing new policy is needed.
- Meta data information and data integrity — we need to know what is supposed to be included in the database and have ways of checking whether or not the information is accurate and complete.
- Safeguards from hacking, spamming and the addition of illegitimate data — So that the data remains useful.
- Institutional Support — for stability, covering basic costs, publicity and name recognition and integration with resources outside this database, such as the HBLL Library catalog.
I know some of the above are my own extrapolations from the conversation. If we don’t need it, please feel free to say so.
SO, does the above list cover everything? Is this the right place to start for making a proposal? What other needs do we have? Are their details about the above needs that should be spelled out better?