Our first assignment was to digitize a few items then create a collection in Omeka and assign metadata to them. The two parts of this assignment I felt confident I could complete with little difficulty. I have a lot of experience digitizing materials, though I will admit that is in varying amounts of quality. I have considerable experience upload items and organizing them into groups and such. So what part of this assignment gave me great pause and concern?
I have very mixed feelings when it comes to metadata. I recognize its purpose and importance, which is not where I struggle, it’s the standards. The standards turn metadata into a minefield that I will go through, if I must, but feel quite content with avoiding altogether. And though it is written in English it all looks like binary code to me. I know it is important for their to be standards and that they can be incredibly helpful. Last year the city I work for introduced file naming standards that at first were awkward and difficult, so there was much griping, but as they year went on I found that it was very effective. I was able to find files quickly and sort them even faster; it was so effective that I adapted it to use for naming my personal files as well. I did have one problem though the standard required it to be Date-Dept-FileType-Name-Employee which is difficult for me to decode so I adapted each – to _ making it Date_Dept_FileType_Name_Employee. So what’s my problem?
My adaptation to the file naming standard is a deviation, but if one deviation is allowed where will they stop and is likely to circle back to questioning the need for standards all together. Though sometimes standards change but how then do we update the old metadata? A project I am working on is correcting the metadata for old titles in the library’s catalog of fiction that read Fiction instead of Author’s Last Name, First Initial. Then there’s the changing of a whole standard from one to another (MARC to Dublin Core).
So how did the assignment go, pretty well for me. When I jumped in there was that initial shock of cold that stopped me in my tracks as I stumbled around Omeka and the creating of a collection and such, but once I had made it through my first artifact the next two flew by with relative ease. I am not sure that my metadata is correct but this was more about getting into the water. Overall I did enjoy the assignment and really liked the Omeka platform. In the future I hope to continue working with it and exploring its features and functions.