I really enjoyed working on our first assignment this week with Omeka. Everything went smoothly, and I suspect a big part of this is because the site is incredibly user-friendly. My collection was made up of scanned medium-format color negatives, and I had no issues with metadata input or adding items to my collection. Overall, it was a fun experience.
I kept in mind how simple it was to make a collection while doing the readings this week as well. I believe CMSs like Omeka that employ Dublin Core, though by no means perfect, bring us a little closer to a usable metadata input standard for a wider range (and therefore greater number) of information professionals. As Foulanneau and Riley stated in their article: “High-level context provided for the metadata usage guidelines will help metadata creation staff make decisions in the cases that conform to the goals and spirit of the project.” This is a really important point: that standards make things easier for staff, and in turn aid the process and objectives of a project. Although standards are important in any digitization project, I would argue that they tend to be more of an issue for smaller collections and/or ones that operate without dedicated metadata creation staff. In particular, applying standards can be extremely important for projects that rely heavily on volunteers or part-time help (such as the Wisconsin Uprising Archive). It is crucial that standards are created in these types of situations since a variety of people may be adding metadata at different times. Imagine ten people with different educational and/or technical backgrounds sitting down to create metadata for a new digital collection. It is without a doubt that each person would interpret items differently and, subsequently, enter data in different ways. Although the group may have the best of intentions, the differences in input would ultimately lead to problems in the project. It is issues like this that help to highlight the importance of standards. For various collections that don’t have the luxury of relying on specialized metadata creation staff, standards keep these types of problems from arising, and it is for these reasons (along with interoperability between institutions) that they are essential.