Metadata creation

Lorcan 1 min read

“One of the main issues facing libraries as they work to create richer user services is the complexity of their systems environment.” [The network reconfigures the library systems environment]
This was how I began a post the other week about libraries and the systems that support their services. Karen Smith-Yoshimura has just posted some preliminary results from a recent survey.

In July and August RLG Programs conducted a survey among 18 RLG partners we had selected because they had “multiple metadata creation centers” on campus that included libraries, archives, and museums and had some interaction among them. Our objective was to gain a baseline understanding of current descriptive metadata practices and dependencies, the first project in our program to change metadata creation processes. []

In the context of my opening quote I was struck by the following paragraph:

With that kind of diverse representation, it is no surprise that the number of different systems used was also diverse. 76 listed the tools they used to create metadata. Guess how many tools were named? Over 270 in total, 88 different ones. And the most common? A custom system. Besides an integrated library system, the tool most frequently cited was MS Access. In several cases, a single institution used more than a dozen different tools. []

Paul Walk comments:

In the complex world of metadata standards, it is perhaps not surprising that the range of tools used to author metadata is broad. Is this a permanent state of affairs? I wonder if this says anything about the maturity of this space – or is this just the nature of this particular beast? [paul walk’s weblog » Blog Archive » Bespoke metadata creation tools are commonplace]

It will be interesting to see the full report and I hope it will generate some useful discussion.
More generally, I would hope that this diversity – of tools and of standards – is a symptom of an early stage of development.
Read the full post and look out for the report which will appear in the next month or so.

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