I’ve only heard good things about Portland and I have to say I really enjoyed my time there. During my 4 day trip I meet with representatives from Reed College, Minh Tran & Company, Oregon Ballet Theater, Portland State University, White Bird, and Oregon Historical Society. I also spoke with Dance Critic Martha Ullman West and sp a musician that plays for social dance. Although my main purpose was to do research on description of dance resources for the DPDP project, I also got to do some collection assessment work for White Bird and OBT.
Each group and individual I talked to gave me very interesting feedback on what descriptive elements were most important to them when searching and identifying dance resources that they wish to use. During the meetings we also discussed the DHC site and what types of searches they wished to be able to perform that are not possible at the moment. For example, Minh Tran (Minh Tran & Co.), Hannah Kosstrin (Reed), Carla Mann (Reed) and Judy Patton (PSU) all identified the wish to be able to search for works based on the “aboutness” or “foundation” the work is based on. They each independently came up with examples of descriptors that would enable them to find resources effectively. Descriptors included words like conceptual, minimalist, emotional, task oriented, multimedia and abstract. Currently traditional catalog record metadata schemas do not have specific fields for this information. While we can put this information in fields such as <description> or <note> it’s not an ideal solution.
I think it’s time to develop the vocabulary and computer processing rules that will accurately reflect the domain of dance! New performing arts ontology here we go! (Baby steps, of course.)
Fun highlights of the trip included seeing a xylophone player in the Portland airport upon arrival and a bohemian violin player upon departure, getting stuck in NYC style traffic at every turn, meeting Barney the cockatoo that inspired White Bird, a tour of the Oregon Historical Society’s collection warehouse (it’s epic, like a SAM’s club for a historical collection) and experiencing some interesting service at my hotel. Oh, Portlandia, your skits are based in truth!
More next time about DPDP project work.