Transferring Cataloging Legacies into Descriptive Metadata Creation in Digital Projects: Catalogers’ Perspective
I just read the article above. Not long ago I spent some time with a librarian who has been a cataloger for many years. I told her I was taking a cataloging class and a metadata class this semester, and her response was, “I don’t know why they should be separate classes, they really go together.” The author of this article would agree with her.
The following is a very loose outline/list of quotes/random thoughts I jotted down as I read the article.
“Boydston and Leysen (2006) considered that “[m]etadata creation is a natural extension of the catalogers’ existing skills, abilities, and knowledge” (p. 4).” p.131
I would agree. Cataloging and metadata are about describing things in a way that users can find them. The difference is the object being described.
“Park and Tosaka (2010) have argued that the mechanisms most commonly adopted to guarantee metadata quality in digital projects are the training of manual quality review, metadata creation guidelines, and metadata generation tools.” p.132
These are definitely problems. It seems that each organization makes its own guidelines… but that is also one of the great things about Dublin Core, its flexibility. I helped write metadata for some photos as part of my internship at the Samford University Special Collections dept, and in a sense, we made it up according to the information we had about the picture. I could see where it would be so easy to do that and miss the term that people would use to search.
“three most common criteria that have a significant impact on the “degree to which the metadata in question perform the core bibliographic functions of discovery, use, provenance, currency, authentication and administration” (p. 224). Those criteria are completeness, accuracy, and consistency.” p.132
Consistency requires standards. Completeness and accuracy require knowledge of the subject matter, and/or good research of the subject matter.
“Authority control for unique art, cultural, and historical materials in galleries, museums, and archives requires collaboration among organizers, curators, archivists, and catalogers because catalogers and noncatalogers have different approaches to describing the same object.” p.137
Authority control can arise, “homegrown”, out of specific collections. This happened at Samford. We had subject headings based on the kinds of pictures people asked for most often: specific buildings, departments, people, time periods.
“Both Cutter’s and Baia and Randall’s assertions have given light to many experienced catalogers’ commonly shared feeling that cataloging should “think globally” but “act locally” (Beth, 2006, p. 3).” p.139
Metadata of archival material is not like cataloging common books, where a lot of the work is already done. Digital projects tend to be unique. Metadata creators must collaborate with the industry specialists… curators, archivists, historians, users. They should research the object, find background information.
“Being a cataloger means to be not only a guardian of principles and standards but also a knowledge organizer, collaborator, researcher, and an innovative and curious-minded lifelong learner.” p. 142
This is why I want to become a cataloger or metadataer… LOL, what is the title of someone who writes metadata? I love the research. I love bringing order out of chaos.
Diao, J., & Hernandez, M. (2014). Transferring Cataloging Legacies into Descriptive Metadata Creation in Digital Projects: Catalogers’ Perspective. Journal of Library Metadata, 14(2), 130–145. https://doi.org/10.1080/19386389.2014.909670