Supplemental suggestions and problems encouraged in creating metadata guidelines in digital library environments

the metadata librarian code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules

the metadata librarian code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules

I absolutely adore the setting metadata guidelines reading. But I believe there are some metadata guideline problems that the author does not consider. The assumption running through this chapter seems to be that that the metadata librarians write guidelines for other librarians to read and interpret. But this isn’t always the case, sometimes digital librarians have content submitters or creators submit metadata for digital collections. The guidelines that a metadata librarian would give a non-librarian would would needed to be cleansed of library jargon and without reference to external standards documents (with the possible exception of a controlled vocabulary field).

Another problem a digital library might have is that often its “chief source of information” is something that is neither static or standardized. While working at the USGS Publications Warehouse I have experience a number of content rule changes concerning how to describe how appendixes fit into the page counts of documents, namely because the publishing wing of the USGS changed their own rules for how pages are counted for their suggested citations.

Finally guidelines for metadata entry should make explicit the limitations of the database/CMS/ILS that is being used to input the metadata into a digital environment. While a certain metadata field may be useful to users, it might be impossible to enter certain information into a system. Ideally this shouldn’t happen because a metadata schema and possible data values should be created before any database is built to hold those values. But as the Doctrow reading demonstrated we aren’t living in an ideal world.

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One response to “Supplemental suggestions and problems encouraged in creating metadata guidelines in digital library environments

  1. Yes! You’re point, that content submitters/creators can sometimes be the ones to submit metadata for DLs, is really important. I forgot about this while writing my post, and I totally agree… It’s highly likely that they wouldn’t have the vocabulary used by metadata staff, and this creates a whole new set of issues when it comes to standards.

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