Lorcan Demsey discusses a previous post about Metadata that he wrote a couple of years ago, and the implications for how we approach the creation and selection of information about information. His four categories:
- Professional. Produced by staff in support of particular business aims. Think of cataloging, or data produced within the book industry, or A&I data.
- Crowdsourced. Produced by users of systems.Think of tags, reviews and ratings on consumer sites.
- Programmatically promoted. Think of automatic extraction of metadata from digital files, automatic classifcation, entity identification, and so on.
- Intentional. Data about choices and transactions which support analytics or business intelligence services. Think about ranking, relating, recommending in consumer sites (e.g people who like this also like this) based on collected transaction data.
The traditional library approach has been the first category (Professional). The downside is that it it far too time consuming to keep up with the firehose of new resources. When was the last time you heard someone discuss cataloging the internet?
The challenge with the remaining options is the opposite. There is a great deal of metadata being generated, and the challenge is to organize and/or standardize what we use.
Where does this leave library catalogers, and libraries in general? How should we focus our efforts? Should we focus on traditional metadata creation, or should we attempt to update and adapt our processes and standards to a changing world? Potential rewards, and possible troubles await either choice. Can we forge a path that allows us to do both, or is that doomed to failure.
Just some things to think about….