Regardless of your background, there was a little something for everyone at last week’s YDC Forum. We started off the morning with an absorbing talk on The Anatomy of Metadata, presented by Youn Noh, metadata specialist at ODAI. Youn delivered a crystal clear overview of the field by explaining who creates and uses metadata and why. She provided examples to illustrate how bad metadata can be disastrous and good metadata can improve discoverability and even image quality. Youn’s overview provided a foundation for demystifying metadata for all.
After Youn’s talk, Miriam Schroers from ODAI engaged the group in a “Metagame.” The goal of the game was to guess the object being described with incrementally revealed metadata terms. One by one, Miriam showed terms pulled from the Cross Collection Discovery while the audience guessed what object was being described. After the game concluded, the terms were plugged back into Discover Yale Digital Content to demonstrate how metadata provides the key to finding specific objects among millions – easy as pie.
Our esteemed panel moderator, Bob Wolven, Associate University Librarian for Bibliographic Services and Collection Development, Columbia University Libraries, took over at that point. He directed questions at our panel which included Larry Gall from the Peabody, Pam Patterson from ITG, Ken Hamma Consultant to YCBA and ODAI, and Matthew Beacom from the Beinecke.
Some of the more compelling issues that were explored by the panel and the community:
- Socially generated metadata and crowdsourcing
- Shifts in the field– movement away from how we describe the object and toward how we use the object
- Exploration of some practical tools and practices for applying metadata in a teaching and learning environment
- Value of metadata in relation to time. How to determine what is a sufficient amount of metadata.
The community discussion brought up the issues that inspired us to hold this Forum in the first place– to explore the larger impact of the work we do and the investment we make in metadata. Understanding and adopting shared practices controls costs while providing the best user experience possible. Appropriately applied metadata ensures broad-based consumption and longterm access to Yale’s digital resources.
Metadata is a complex and rapidly evolving topic, so we didn’t conclude with any rock-solid answers, but the community did raise a lot of thought-provoking questions. In reality, a bit of mystery still remains, and so we have some good material for future Forums.
Many thanks to all of our presenters and panelists! Please add your comments, thoughts and questions to the blog.
Have a great week. See you soon.