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Add a new party type of "role" 
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ANDS Staff
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Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:18 am
Posts: 76
Suggested schema change
Add a new party type of "role".

Problem this suggestion addresses
Many data sources using other schemas provide ANDS with party names such as "Data custodian", "Data Officer", or "Data Manager".
At present there are over 1000 collection records (about 10% of the records in Research Data Australia) that contain role names for party records, mostly from AODN, iVEC MEST and CSIRO. Such role names are common in large data management environments.
Role names need to be separated from person and organisation information provided to the National Library of Australia's Trove database, as role names should not be allocated party identifiers.
Role names also need to be removed from displayed browse lists of researchers and research organisation names in Research Data Australia, as they do not assist discovery. Role names are useful when accessing collections but are simply noise when navigating during the discovery phase.

RIF-CS schema components affected
Party type.

Impact on content providers
None if implementation is optional. Change is likely to be limited to small number of data sources such as Geonetwork users, so a single change approach may be possible.

Cleans up party data once new type is in widespread use
Likely to allow better mapping to other data structures that provide for roles (this has not been investigated in detail).

None identified

Technical options
Technical requirements.
The vocabulary term will need to be added to the ORCA registry “tbl_terms” database table.
The vocabs.xml file will need to be amended to add the vocab Party type “role” definition.
The vocabularies.html will need to be regenerated to reflect the addition of the Party type “role”.
Changes will be required to the content providers guide.

Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:11 pm

Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:55 am
Posts: 57
The RIF-CS Advisory Board on 26 July 2011 agreed in principle with this new party type, subject to more discussion of the label for the type and some discussion of best practice issues. I have provided more information and a revised proposal for discussion here.

An example record in Research Data Australia is at ...

Name for new type:

1. The name will need to be appropriate for roles filled by either individuals or organisations.

2. The name needs to reflect the nature of the thing being described by the type. We have 'a party in a role', but we are not really specifying the party (i.e. the actual human person or organisation that is in the role). All we have is the generic name of the role itself e.g. Data Manager.

If it is important who is in the role, that would not be described using this type, but a party person or group record should be used instead, see best practice discussion below.

3. I think 'role' is correct as the name of the thing we are describing, even though it is not really a kind of party of course (see 2 above).

4. But I can see that if we use this word it may lead to the undesirable result of people trying to describe roles and then link them to party records. We don't want this, it is not relevant information for the ANDS Registry, and to the extent it is needed the related object element caters for it already.

5. For one discussion of party modelling see

Best practice issues:

a) Parties with this type would not be expected to be related to other parties. This type should not be used to specify a role for a party.
b) This type is only for use when a generic functional position with its own generic name exists and needs to be included as a related party to a collection, to an activity or to a service. Some redundancy may be apparent when generic names are used but is not really a problem e.g. Data Manager, party of type [TBA] isManagerOf / manages [some collection]
c) If there is a need to describe the role of a party further than the existing related object types allow, use a user-identified related object type and describe the relationship in the description area of the relation.

Revised suggestion:

Create new party type of 'administrative position':

Administrative position: a kind of party where the position name and contact information are present but the identity of the party filling the role is not specified.

Best practice:

a) Use when describing a generic administrative role such as 'Data Manager' or 'Data Custodian' where no other party information is to be provided.
b) Do not use for describing the relationships between named parties (people or organisations) and collections, activities or services.
c) Do not use for describing a role filled by a named party (person or organisation); there should not be any related object links from a party of type 'administrative position' to any other party.

'Administrative function' might be an alternative as it makes more sense for organisations than 'position' does. Or even 'Generic party'.

Better ideas welcome, please post your thoughts.

Sally Goodenough
Australian National Data Service
W. K. Hancock Building (#43)
The Australian National University
Canberra, ACT, 0200, AUSTRALIA

P:+612 6125 1176
M: 0466 579 618

Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:37 pm
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