Monday, November 3, 2008

Item Mapper in DSpace

Recently, I got several calls to ask how to use the item mapper in DSpace. The item mapper is used to reduce duplicates of the same record, and create an easy way to link the item record across multiple collections in DSpace. For instance, if a photograph by John Lee is collected in the photograph collection, but it also appears in the collection of Arts Department. Then we can use the item mapper to match the same photograph record in the second collection to avoid reproduce an item record in the second collection.

An item mapper is a convenient tool for users to manage records at the item level. However, when a same creator has multiple work in DSpace, and some of work might appear in various collections, then the item mapper becomes problematic. Currently, users can only use the item mapper by searching author name. As I mentioned, if the author has multiple publications in DSapce, how do users recognize the right publication to map the item record without title information?

This extreme situtation has been less considered by DSpace developers. At this point, if such case happhens, users need to label the item record which needs to be mappred in more than one collections. For example, users can create second co-author to tag the publication, then search the collections by the co-author name to identify the record and map it in the according collection. After your mapping is done, users need to go back the record and delete the co-author from the item record. That is how we can temporarily solve the problem. Nevertheless, We still hope that DSpace developers could improve the item mapper with more combined search features.

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