Monday, 27 January 2014

LIB 122: Week 2 (January 21, 2014)

This week we learned about how metadata works to help us manage/discover content, the different types of metadata, and had an introduction to metadata standards. One critical technological component for metadata to be effective is the existence of a digital asset management system. An excel spreadsheet will not cut it. The digital asset management system is the central requirement to connect the storage “dark” archive (.tif files), the institution’s integrated library system and the web interface for users to access materials. The digital asset management system also allows for changes to be made in one place and updated in every other place, to fully unlock the power of metadata, this system is critical. We also discussed descriptive, structural, administrative and preservation metadata. When began to talk about metadata standards, I made note of a chart that will serve me well into the future:

Data Structure
Data Standard
Data Format
   CDWA = Categories for the Description of Works of Art, CCO = Cataloging Cultural Objects,
   MARC = Machine Readable Cataloging, AACR2 = Anglo American Cataloging Rules
   EAD = Encoded Archival Description, DACS = Describing Archives a Content Standard

We also discussed different data structures/schemas, like MODS, and Dublin Core. One of the more interesting aspects for me was the idea of semantics or data standards within each schema. How can we standardize our descriptions if we aren’t speaking the same language? During my fellowship, I kept talking to my executive director about appraising records, without an archival background, he would get frustrated, thinking I was talking about monetary appraisal. We were not using the same “data standard” or semantics. During class, we practiced assigning creating different types of metadata elements and entering metadata values for a wide variety of digital objects. Even as my community archive is missing some of the equipment and software requirements to full utilize metadata, we can capture information according to the standards as we catalog our assets.  

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