Tuesday, 21 January 2014

LIB 122: Week 1 (January 14, 2014)

I returned to Pasadena City College for the second semester of my certificate program in Digitization for Cultural Heritage Institutions. This course focuses exclusively on metadata, and our first class delved into why it was important; it drives people to our websites. This is the reason that high quality and standardized metadata is critical. As the metadata principles are understood and applied, then local repositories can harvest their metadata records and federated search engines like Google can include us in the search results. Not only does this help repositories attract a wide range of users, it helps to justify our existence with data that demonstrates usage and relevance, which becomes critical as competition for financial and human resources increases. Linda showed us images on a local library’s website, and then searched for those images on oaister.worldcat.org (no hits) to demonstrate how they are losing opportunities to engage users. Towards the end of class, we were asked to go around the room to share what our biggest concerns about the class were, and what we hoped to gain from this semester. I said that I was looking forward to learning new metadata schemas and controlled vocabularies, but my concern was a little more complex. I explained that after my experience last semester with scanning and Content DM, everything seemed so simple with the proper hardware and software, what happens in institutions who can’t afford these resources? Linda said that even when you have resources, making metadata records harvestable can be time-consuming and difficult, but there are things that you can do at the onset to streamline the process and be prepared when the opportunities become available. That was very encouraging to me because whether we (MCLM) have a sophisticated content management system or not, our materials need to be described. The more that I can understand about metadata, the more valuable I can be in a leadership position at the museum, and when the resources become available we can focus on importing rather than re-creating descriptions from scratch.    

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