SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Re: understanding metadata , was Re: SIG
Re: understanding metadata , was Re: SIGIA-L: future directions for IA
From: Karl Fast (karl.fast_at_pobox.com)
Date: Wed Aug 29 2001 - 23:11:01 EDT
> I would agree that CVs, thesauri, taxonomies, and metadata will
> grow increasingly important. It's becoming ever more clear to me
> that Argus was simply ahead of it's time.
> I'm wary of any attempts to unlock "meaning" from information
Even if Argus was ahead, we were simply applying tried and true
principles from the library world.
HOWEVER I remain unconvinced that they're a magic potion.
- Do they help? Yes.
- Should they be used more often? Yes.
- Should they be used in all projects and considered necessary
for a good site? No.
I'm doing my MLIS right now. Loading up on courses in cataloguing,
subject analysis, thesaurus contruction--all that good stuff. And it
is good stuff.
I'm also having long discussions with one of my profs about this
stuff. Talking a lot about OPACs (electronic library catalogues)
which are grounded in CV's and metadata and all that good stuff.
The bibliographic universe contained in OPACs is rich in all these
things. But it's got problems:
- catalogs are not perfectly structured. Most OPACs have pretty
good data, but it's not the world of perfection the textbooks
describe or most people imagine.
- keeping this stuff current is hellish. Consider library of
congress subject headings: 100 years old and with all sorts of
terminology that's out of date, and missing current terminology.
An extreme example, but CV's and thesauri require work to
maintain them. Must balance this work vs. the benefits.
- OPACs are hard to use. I've never met an OPAC I liked. Nobody
I've asked has met an OPAC they liked. If CV's and rich metadata
are the answer then why are OPACs hard to use?
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