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Certificate in Writing & Editing

Grand Forks, ND

Creating Item Metadata for the Writers Conference Collection

The following is a suggested step-by-step process of creating metadata (Sample File)

The overall goal of this project is to describe the content of each reading and panel in a way that is useful for scholars, teachers, and students. When working with footage from readings, one should include:

The conference number and date that the author spoke

The titles of the works that were read

A brief biography and publishing history of the author.

If the footage is of a panel, one should include:

The conference number and date that the authors spoke

The names of all participants

The theme of the panel

The titles of the works that were read

General themes that were discussed at the panel

Brief biographies and publishing histories for each participant.

Step One:

Watch the audio/video footage and notes the titles, authors, and themes that appear in the video so that you have enough information to fulfill the goals listed above.

Step Two:

Research the author(s) in the footage that you viewed.  You must use reliable sources (not wikipedia), such as published (print) biographies, online biographical notes housed at educational institutions (i.e., the biography of James Merrill as found at, autobiographies (either in print or as they appear on an author’s official/faculty homepage, i.e.,, or introductions to an author as found in anthologies.  If you have difficulty locating reliable information, please contact Crystal Alberts or Curt Hanson.  If you find something that you intend to use in your description, photocopy/print the page for the project administrator’s review and document the source’s citation.

When you find enough information to write a brief description of the author that fulfills the goals of the overall metadata project AND you have all of your sources recorded, go on to the next step.

Step Three:

1. Download the Metadata Template ‘ContentDMWCTemplate.xls’ from

2. Save the file as ‘WCContentDM[INSERT AUTHOR’S NAME HERE].xls’  For example: WCContentDMMerrill.xls would contain the metadata for James Merrill.

3. In the ‘Title’ field, enter information as follows:

a. If it is a single author reading, the format for the title should be ‘Author’s name (First Name Last Name) Reading,’ for example ‘James Merrill Reading.’

b. If it is a panel, the title should be the name given to the panel at the conference, for example, ‘Poetry and 100 Years.’

4. In the ‘Title.Alternate’ field, enter the full name of the conference of that year, for example, ‘14th Annual Writers Conference: The Centennial Year’

5. In the ‘Subject’ field, enter the names of the authors who appear in the file, as well as ‘UND Writers Conference,’ each entry must be separated by a semicolon. 

6. Go to

a. Click ‘Search Authorities’

b. Select ‘Name Authority Heading’

c. Type the author(s)’ name in the following format: Last Name, First Name

d. Select the correct Authorized Heading (the 100 field in the MARC record). 

Note: if you are unable to determine which is the correct person when there are multiple entries, you may have to do additional research, usually middle initial and/or birth year will differentiate between the ‘John Smiths’ of the world. 

e. Print the Authority Record

f. Copy and paste the Authorized Heading in the ‘Subject.namePersonal.LCSH.2’ and the ‘Creator.namePersonal’ fields (i.e., Merrill, James Ingram)

7. Go to

a. Click ‘Search Authorities’

b. Select ‘Subject Authority Heading’

c. Search using keywords related to the content of the footage.

d. Select Authorized Headings that correspond to the content of the footage (the 150 field in the MARC record). 

Note: ‘LC subject headings’ should appear in the far right column 

e. Print the Authority Records

f. Copy and paste the Authorized Heading in the ‘Subject.topical.LCSH.xx’ fields (one authorized heading per field).  For an example, see ContentDMWCSample.xls 

g. ‘Subject.topical.LCSH’ will always be ‘Writers Conference (University of North Dakota)’

h. The ‘Subject.topical.LCSH.xx’ fields should always include ‘American poetry -- 20th century -- History and criticism,’ ‘American poetry -- 21st century.’ ‘American fiction -- 20th century.’ and/or ‘American fiction -- 20th century -- History and criticism.’  The correct subject depends upon the appropriate genre, the date of the recording, and the date of the published material that was read/referenced.  If the literature is nonfiction or film, please find the appropriate subject heading.

i. NOTE: the ‘--" are separated by a space to make it easier to read.

8. The ‘Subject.nameCorporate.LCSH’ field will always be ‘Writers Conference (University of North Dakota)’

9. In the ‘Description’ field, enter your prose description of the footage and the short biography/publishing history of (each) author, as well as a citation for where your information was found (i.e., Audio/Visual recording of James Ingram Merrill reading at the 14th Annual UND Writers Conference on March 25, 1983.  In this recording, Merrill reads "The School Play," "Broken Home," "The Pier Under Pisces," and "Think Tank," Developers at Crystal River;" these poems were published posthumously in COLLECTED POEMS (2001).   He also reads from THE CHANGING LIGHT OF SANDOVER, specifically, passages from "Mirabell," "Scripts for the Pageant," and "Samos."  Merrill was born in New York City on March 3, 1926, and grew up in Manhattan and Southampton. He was the son of Charles Merrill, co-founder of the brokerage firm Merrill Lynch, and his second wife, Hellen Ingram.  His books of poetry include FIRST POEMS (1951), THE COUNTRY OF A THOUSAND YEARS OF PEACE (1959), WATER STREET (1962), and NIGHTS AND DAYS (1966), which won the National Book Award.  Other award winning poetry collections include BRAVING THE ELEMENTS (1972), the Pulizer prize winning DIVINE COMEDIES (1976), and MIRABELL (1978), for which he won his second National Book Award.  Merrill published two novels, The SERAGLIO (1957) and THE (DIBLOS) NOTEBOOK (1965).  In 1983, his epic poem THE CHANGING LIGHT AT SANDOVER (1982) won the National Book Critics Circle Award.  On February 6, 1995 James Merrill died from AIDS in Tucson, Arizona. His last book, A SCATTERING OF SALTS, was published a month later.  (Biographical information from the James Merrill Papers, Department of Special Collections, Washington University in St. Louis))

Highlight all the information you USED in the ‘Description’ on the printouts. Staple the sources in the order in which they appear in the description.  Label a post-it note with the footage the information correlates to and place it on the first page for Crystal or Curt to examine.  Recycle all of the unused photocopies.

Be sure to include the ‘Information from’ citation, noting the source(s) of your research.

10. The ‘Publisher’ field will always be ‘University of North Dakota.’  This is controlled vocabulary and will be added by the library cataloger.

11. The ‘Publisher.2’ field will always be ‘University of North Dakota. Dept. of English.’ This is controlled vocabulary and will be added by the library cataloger. 

12. The ‘Publisher.3’ field will always be ‘Chester Fritz Library (University of North Dakota).’ This is controlled vocabulary and will be added by the library cataloger.

13. ‘’ field will always be Grand Forks, ND. This is controlled vocabulary and will be added by the library cataloger.

14. If there is a panel moderator and/or the name of the person making introduction is known, it should be entered in the ‘Contributor’ field.  If the person has an authorized heading (following step 6) enter it in that format, if not, the format is Last name, First name.

15. Enter the date the footage was recorded in the ‘Date.created’ field in the following format yyyy-mm-dd.

16. The ‘Type’ field will almost always be ‘Moving Image’ (unless it is only audio, in which case it will be ‘Audio Recording’)

17. The ‘Type.Event’ field will describe the event, for example, reading, lecture, panel or film screening.

18. The ‘Type.LCTGM’ field, according to cataloguing, should read ‘Universities & colleges -- North Dakota -- Grand Forks’

19. The ‘Format’ field will be ‘MP4’

20. The ‘Source’ field will contain the size of the MP4 file, the duration of the footage and a description of the original media format (i.e., 626.6 MB  MP4 file  (68'04 minutes) from two VHS tapes).  This information will be entered by the person doing the MP4 conversion.

21. In the ‘Language.ISO639-2’ field enter ‘eng’ for English (the three letter language abbreviation should be based on those found on the Library of Congress website as set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO))

22. The ‘Relation’ field will always be ‘James McKenzie Papers OGL #1387’

23. If you have information in the ‘Relation’ field, you should enter the name of the collection and/or the URL for the related collection in the ‘Relation.isIndexedby.URI’ field (i.e.,

24. If you have more than one collection that the image is related to, enter the collection title in the ‘Relation.2’ field and the URL in the ‘Relation.isIndexedby.URI.2’ field.  

25. The ‘’ field will be ‘Writers Conference Collection UA#114’ 

26. The information for the ‘Rights’ field should be as follows: ‘Copyright © 2008 [insert author’s name or author’s estate here].’  If there is more than one author, a copyright line should be included for each with a semicolon separating the entries.   

27. The information for the ‘Rights.2’ field should be as follows: Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections, Chester Fritz Library, University of North Dakota

28. The ‘Running Time’ field will contain the duration of the footage in the following format hour:minutes’seconds (i.e., 1:08’4" is one hour, eight minutes and four seconds).  This information will be added by the person doing the MP4 conversion.

29. The ‘Object File Name’ contains the name of the MP4 file and will be added by the person doing the MP4 conversion.

Step Four:

1.  Save your file and send it to Crystal Alberts for review and upload.

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