This week marks the start of an online course my employer was kind enough to pay for me to attend called "Metadata for You and Me: A Training Program for Shareable Metadata
I was interested in taking this course for two main reasons: first, because in the world of digitization we spend a huge amount of time creating metadata on the item level for every digital object in out repositories and this equates to lots of dollars in staff time. So, I'd like to spend some time thinking about this investment and what type of returns it is providing for us. Are we agonizing over the right things? Spending too much time or detail? Using appropriate standards?
Secondly, we do indeed have the noble goal of providing accurate, easily discoverable, re-useable records but are we delivering the goods or deluding ourselves? What exactly does our metadata look like outside our own local repository and does it mind its manners? As much as I'd like to say that my metadata is a model citizen...I just don't really know. With more and more materials being aggregated with the goal of broader access, it's time to try and find out.
I logged into the on-line course this morning and printed out some of the readings for the first module. I couldn't help but draw attention to a fabulous article, Metadata For All: Descriptive Standards across Libraries, Archives, and Museums
that worked miracles in helping me to understand what exactly we are talking about when we discuss metadata (especially across library, museum, and archives standards). It is also recent enough (2007) to provide up-to date information about recent trends and proposes a format-based way of looking at standards in the parallel disciplines. A very good read.
I will update this blog as I progress through the course and learn more!