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Introducing metadata Finding stuff and using stuff Gordon Dunsire.

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1 Introducing metadata Finding stuff and using stuff Gordon Dunsire

2 Overview What is metadata? What does it look like? What is it used for? How does it work? Where will it all end?

3 Definition? Data about data Information about information Information about an information resource Useful information about a resource Useful information about specific aspects of a resource Whatever, theres a lot of it about

4 Example: URL Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002: a guide for the information professional http = how to get the document (protocol) = where to find the document in cyberspace (domain) files/pdf/cilips = where the document is stored (path) foisa04 = the name of the document (file name) pdf = the type of document (file type) :, /,. = standard punctuation separating each piece of information (element)

5 Example: Catalogue card The adventures of Sherlock Holmes / by A. Conan Doyle ; illustrations by Sidney Paget. - London : G. Newnes, The adventures of Sherlock Holms = title of the book by A. Conan Doyle; illustrations by Sidney Paget = who is responsible for the creative content of the book London = place of publication, G. Newnes = name of publisher 1895 = date of publication /,., -, : = standard punctuation separating each element

6 Example: Accessions/purchase register Date |Title |Date|Sup|Price|Number 10/02/65|Physics is fun |1964|THI| 7/6| /02/65|Physics is fun |1964|THI| 7/6| /02/65|Berkeley physics v.1 |1964|FAR|3/9/6| /02/65|Berkeley physics v.2 |1964|FAR|2/7/0| /02/65|Berkeley physics v.3 |1964|FAR|2/7/6| /02/65|Berkeley physics v.4 |1964|FAR|3/9/6| /02/65|Berkeley physics v.5 |1964|FAR|3/9/6| 20162

7 Some uses of metadata (1) Information retrieval (finding stuff) –Searching Lists of metadata elements (title, authors, publisher, etc.) Words in (digital) metadata (title, notes, etc.) –Identifying Descriptive metadata (title, notes, edition, date, etc.) –Finding Item metadata (shelfmark, barcode, etc.)

8 Some uses of metadata (2) Stock management (managing stuff) –Acquisition Date, cost, supplier, etc. –Storage Collection, shelfmark –Circulation Barcode –Preservation Format (serial, a-v, digital, etc.), date (age), etc.

9 Some uses of metadata (3) Automated processing (using stuff) –Information retrieval OPACs –Access to digital resources Getting via Web browser, file transfer, etc. Displaying using browser plug-ins, etc. –Multiple metadata records in multiple electronic locations with different metadata formats

10 Characteristics (1) A metadata record is (usually) significantly smaller than the stuff it describes –Catalogue card vs book –Metadata is a precis or abstract of those aspects of the data deemed useful for retrieval, management, processing, etc. –Abbreviations and codes are often used –Some exceptions include small manuscripts with a long history …

11 Characteristics (2) Different types of information resource require different metadata elements –Some elements are common; e.g. title, date –Publication pattern and frequency are specific to serial resources –URLs dont apply to printed books –Local preservation metadata is not required for remote digital resources –Etc.

12 Characteristics (3) Many resources are composed of other resources, so metadata can be applied at different levels of granularity –In library catalogues, journals usually have metadata about the journal as a whole, and not about individual articles Articles have metadata in abstract and indexing services –Some libraries catalogue multi-media kits as a whole; others catalogue each component

13 Value of consistency A benefit of metadata is to provide consistency and coherency in using and processing resources –Resources themselves come with the widest variation in intrinsic metadata Forms of title, etc.; layout; completeness; etc. –Metadata can be created consistently and structured coherently to improve effectiveness and efficiency in its use Similarities and differences easier to spot

14 Achieving consistency Ensuring consistent metadata is not simple –Common and format-specific elements as well as creative reaction to the norm Ceci nest pas une pipe –Natural variation in naming and describing things J. Smith, John Smith, John Smith (Labour), etc. Requires standards and guidance

15 Metadata standards Coherent set of elements organised (structured and labelled) in a consistent way – a schema (loosely) –Title or Caption? Include the subtitle or use a Subtitle element? Always include a title? Guidance on identifying and interpreting elements in the resource –Title on spine, cover or title-page? Guidance on standardising content –Include The at the start of the title?

16 From the local … Achieving consistency benefits local users of metadata (efficient, effective) Self-propelled users become non-local, so there are benefits in achieving consistency between libraries And metadata creation is complex (expensive), so there is value in sharing records

17 … to the global So national and international standards have been used since the first modern library catalogues (100+ years) With significant evolution from the 1960s –Computers; machine-readable cataloguing And again from the 1990s –Internet/Web; common information environment including archives and museums

18 Some standards (1) MARC21 (21 st century machine-readable cataloguing) –40 years old; covers wide range of library stuff in depth Difficult to use - requires professional training DC (Dublin Core) – Ohio, that is –10 years old; covers wider range of stuff (archives, museums) at much less depth Easier to use by a wider range of people DC/MARC structures can interoperate via element mappings

19 Some standards (2) AACR (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules) –Older than MARC; covers wide range of library stuff in depth Complements MARC; requires professional training –Undergoing radical development as RDA (Resource Description and Access) Becoming suitable for DC and other formats Content interoperability

20 Whither metadata? Many formats in use Wide variation in coverage and content No longer created exclusively by trained professionals –Wider interpretation of the rules (if any) Needs to be joined-up so it can be used effectively at a global (non-local) level –Interoperability!

21 Joined-up metadata Caters to a wider range of users Public/life-long learners/local business; staff/students; teachers/learners/researchers; archives/libraries/museums Covers a wider range of resources Originals/digitised copies; complex websites/blogs/wikis; archives/libraries/museums Is created by a wider range of people Acquisitions/cataloguing/serials; webpage writers/online reviewers/wikis/folksonomists

22 Recap Metadata is useful information about specific aspects of a resource Specific aspects are structured and labelled as metadata elements Different types of resource have different sets of elements, with a common core set Non-local use is increasingly important Standards are evolving to improve usefulness

23 Thank you Dunsire, Gordon Me / My parents. - Kirkcaldy : The parents, My card

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