Sunday, 17 November 2013

LIB 121: Week 12 (November 12, 2013)

The concept of metadata, an idea that is thrown around by archivists as if its complexities were the picture of lucidity, has finally been breached in this program. I have been talking about metadata ever since my first exposure to archives during an Arizona Archives Online internship in the spring of 2010. I have always understood its significance but the nature of its requirements for implementation has always been a little foggy. Today’s class was so refreshing because our instructor, Linda Stewart, encouraged us to ask as many questions as we needed, and the class was so full of novices and diverse individuals that none of the questions or comments were dismissed. Linda prefaced our lecture with, “we would begin our discussion of metadata with Dublin Core, rather than EAD which has a steeper learning curve”. That comment resonated with me because entering the archival field at the graduate level forced me to “run” rather “crawl” into an understanding of metadata. Throughout the lecture, I came to understand why Dublin Core has been supplemented by other metadata schemas in order to create more specific and harvestable metadata records. I did not know that there are controlled values for format (Internet Media Types), language (ISO), and type (Dublin Core Type List). We also discussed qualified Dublin Core and the Dublin Core elements used for our digital projects would map onto ContentDM fields. For the second half of class, we created Dublin Core Records for 10 photographs within a template in a Microsoft Word document. The description field was the most difficult because we wondered how much detail to include and if we were using the correct terms for various fashion elements. Overall, it was a very informative class and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to truly understand a concept rather than use my graduate degree to glaze over it.     

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