The Value of Metadata in the Google Era

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					The Value of Metadata in the Google Era
When and Why to Apply Metadata to Digital Production Projects

• What is metadata?
– What does “data about data” mean?

• Who uses metadata?
– – – – Information Architects Libraries Computer Scientists Web Publishers?

Information Architecture Definitions
IA’s primary contribution is a preoccupation with putting content in buckets • Categorization
– Structured Hierarchical
• Taxonomies • Ontologies

– Structured Non-hierarchical
• Faceted Classification • Topic Maps

– Non-structured Non-hierarchical
• Controlled Vocabularies • Folksonomies

Library Definitions
• Descriptive Metadata
– Bibliographic Description – Subject Analysis

• Administrative Metadata
– Structural – Technical
• Preservation • Operation

– Rights

Computer Science Definitions
Computer Scientists have rightly inserted an expectation among all metadata users that metadata generation be automated wherever possible.
• • • • Databases (Keys, Labels, Fields) Ontologies (especially re: inheritance) Syntax (data encoding and transmission) Semantic (Web)

Web Publishing Definitions
• How do you define metadata and how would you characterize the way you use it? • Metadata is moving beyond description, beyond categorization to being a fundamental part of the operation and object itself. (see MIT OpenCourseWare)

Value of Metadata for Digital Production Projects
• Metadata as part of Digital Production Projects is subject to similar evaluation • Digital Production Projects are:
– Practical – Return On Investment focused – Push technology

• Metadata must be worth it
– What does metadata do that is worth it?

Information Organization
• Metadata organizes information – Metadata makes things accessible – Metadata makes things discoverable – Metadata makes things endure • In order to see a return on investment metadata needs to be employed in an organized fashion. • Librarian perspective: A good return on investment is information that is easily retrieved by end-users • Publisher perspective: A good return on investment is realized by information that furthers the organizational mission and grows the business

Information Retrieval
• Search dominates the web
– Dominated by Google

• Search is a pull technology
– Google is Pull

• Most Digital Production Projects are Push (so are library catalogs)
– Metadata takes part both in push and pull – Both push and pull involve organizing information

• Question of the day: How can we reconcile push and pull web technologies? • Answer: Proper use of Metadata

The Google Philosophy
• World wide web objects should describe themselves • You can’t trust “hidden,” user generated information • The more world wide web objects that link to your world wide web object the more relevant your object must be

The Library Philosophy
• Information objects don’t always describe themselves (images, audio, movies, technical writing) • You can trust information provided by information experts • Pagerank does not accurately denote relevance, meaning does

Reconciliation through Metadata
• Google
– – – – – – Indices Results blurbs Links (identifiers) Html (title) element Image alt elements Article Citations

• Library
– Google Scholar – Publishing Metadata
• DSpace • OCW

– MIT GSA integration – The Metadata Services Unit

Metadata Services Unit
• What we do
– We help digital production projects organize their information, both data and metadata – We design information models and model information flows and user interactions – We recommend best practices – We make and document metadata decisions – We catalog, describe, aggregate, put things in buckets – We participate in research and we test systems

For More Information
• Please Contact Metadata Services
Robert Wolfe 14E-210B 3-0604

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