IMLS Digital Collections & Content
Another somewhat belated post.... Andy and I both get occasional invitations to be members of advisory/steering groups for various programmes and projects operating in the areas in which we have an interest. I'm currently a member of the Advisory Group for the second phase of the Digital Collections and Content project which is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and led by a team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Given the UK focus of the Foundation, it's probably slightly unusual for me to take on such a role for a US project, but it combines a number of our interests - repositories, resource discovery, metadata, the use of cultural heritage resources for learning and research, and I have also worked with some members of the project team in the past in the development of the Dublin Core Collections Application Profile.
The group met recently in Chicago, and although I wasn't able to attend the meeting in person, I managed to join in by phone for a couple of hours. One area in which the project seems to be doing some interesting work is in the relationships between collection-level description and item description, and in particular the use of algorithms/rules by which item-level metadata might be inferred from collection-level metadata.
The project is also exploring how collection-level metadata might be presented more effectively during searching, particularly to provide contextual information for individual items.