advantages and problems of metadata standards (digital images)

I agree with spd that “standards make things easier for staff.” Because most of my experiences related to the metadata standards are in the field of digital images, I want to conclude some advantages of metadata standards that I think can help librarians based on the readings this week. In the meanwhile, I also want to describe the problems that I have met in those experiences.

First of all, I think the metadata standards has done a good job on making the information accessible in the library. It not only benefits the librarians, but also enhances the quality and quantity of the searching results. Thus, like it said in Foulanneau and Riley’s article, metadata usage guideline will be important to analyze and evaluate the usage of metadata. Wisconsin Heritage Online, which now is Recollection Wisconsin, has a very good metadata guideline (Wisconsin Heritage Online Metadata Guidelines).

One of the problems that I have met is related to the descriptive metadata of digital images. Like it says in Doctorow’s article that “there is more than one way to describe something”, people have very different ways to describe things even if the detailed standards are provided there. If the title of a digital image is easier to be described, the description part is much more difficult. How long is it suitable for the description? How many elements should be included in it? They are all questions that exists in the usage of standards now.

Another problem is about the metadata generated automatically which is discussed in Foulanneau and Riley’s article. It means that librarians should not give duplicate metadata when it is already generated automatically. I am not quite familiar with the metadata that generated automatically. But when I deal with the title of the images, I am told to use the names directly if they are written on the photos or images. I think it also avoid duplication and make the information more accessible.


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