I have become very acquainted with metadata standards on paper through some of my previous LIS classes. This week’s assignment, however, was the first chance I had to get my hands on a real digital project. (It reminds me that I am not as tech-knowledgeable as I used to be, but sometimes you just have to jump in and figure out how things work by doing.) Overall, I found Omeka to be very straightforward and user-friendly.
My first hands-on experience with metadata was definitely enlightening. Although my first digital collection only consists of five items, I saw the need for metadata standardization at a very basic level. When choosing tags, for example, I kept asking myself how a user might search the collection, either from within or as part of a larger digital collection (cross-searching).
On page 2 of the JISC Technology and Standards Watch, the authors write, “Metadata is the core of any information retrieval system…” Without standardization, “interoperability” between collections and/or institutions becomes a difficult activity to reach, especially as the size of the collections increase. Consider the DPLA from earlier this semester. According to the DPLA site (dp.la), the pilot project worked on “aggregating” collections from seven state digital libraries, as well as “large digital content producers” such as Harvard. Standardization is critical to create and maintain any digital library that aims to integrate multiple collections into a vast network of searchable, accessible information.