Metadata 101

by doconversationsblog

November’s DO Conversation “Metadata 101” tackled the enigmatic and often-misunderstood subject in a one-hour interdisciplinary presentation meant to provide a general introduction to “data about data”.

Given by three members of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library staff, the team proposed their presentation as Part 1, an opportunity for the DO Community to wet their feet on the subject in preparation for more advanced discussions.

"Metadata" is a term that is widely used, but understood differently by various professional communities who create, design, describe, preserve and use information systems and resources. Gilliland-Swetland, Anne J. "Setting the Stage." in Introduction to Metadata. Online edition, version 3. 2008

“Metadata” is a term that is widely used, but understood differently by various professional communities who create, design, describe, preserve and use information systems and resources. Gilliland-Swetland, Anne J. “Setting the Stage.” in Introduction to Metadata. Online edition, version 3. 2008

Wendy Johnson (Library, Cataloging) explained the concept, addressing both the terminology and the many different purposes metadata serves from description and discovery to administration and structure.

According to the National Information Standards Organization, “Metadata is structured information that describes, explains, locates, or otherwise makes it easier to retrieve, use, or manage an information resource.” (NISO. Understanding metadata. Bethesda, Md. : NISO, 2004)

According to the National Information Standards Organization, “Metadata is structured information that describes, explains, locates, or otherwise makes it easier to retrieve, use, or manage an information resource.” (NISO. Understanding metadata. Bethesda, Md. : NISO, 2004)

Anne-Marie Viola (ICFA) gave an overview of metadata’s application for descriptive practices and a survey of the various structure, content and value standards used by the library, archives and visual resources collections here at Dumbarton Oaks.

Descriptive metadata incorporates three types of standards: structure, content and value.

Descriptive metadata incorporates three types of standards: structure, content and value.

Lastly, Jessica Hollingshead (Library, Acquisitions) capped things off with a discussion of the problems of metadata as it is in use today and the challenges posed by interoperability in sharing our data more widely.

The problems of metadata today are a result of the information explosion and a corresponding move towards the opening of databases, the growing use of common structure and exchange standards, and the rise of Google and the associated desire for instant answers.

The problems of metadata today are a result of the information explosion and a corresponding move towards the opening of databases, the growing use of common structure and exchange standards, and the rise of Google and the associated desire for instant answers.

Look for details on Part 2 of this DO Conversation, “Linked Data and the Semantic Web” this Spring!

Image sources:

Slide 1: Graphic designed by Jessica Hollingshead.

Slide 2:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cambodia4kidsorg/260004685

http://inspirationfeed.com/articles/business/keeping-clients-happy

http://www.cybervally.com/2011/04/top-free-tools-track-recover-stolen-laptop

http://siliconangle.com/blog/2011/03/31/metadata-at-the-heart-of-microsoft%E2%80%99s-complaint-against-google-key-within-the-enterprise-too

http://nlsblog.org/category/scanned-paper

http://idratherbewriting.com/2011/05/09/mooers-law-and-implications-for-findability

Slide 3: https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/mll/www/resource.html

Slide 4:

http://oraclestorageguy.typepad.com/oraclestorageguy/2010/09/vmworld-2010-session-content-part-1-impending-data-explosion.html 

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