As a Digital Asset Management professional, one of the many non-tangible things I deal with on a regular basis is metadata. This is a must. Any standards which already exist can help as a starting point. There is no sense recreating the wheel from stone since someone has done that work for you by putting advanced knowledge and further development behind it.
The issue is there are many, many standards for metadata. Some are based off of each other. Some standards are quite common, while others are designed for a very specific audience. Which metadata standard(s) you end up using should relate back to your:
- Business needs
- Use cases
Something to keep in mind is what information:
- you already have from the past (is this information accurate and still relevant?)
- you are collecting/creating now (is this done consistently?)
- you will need for the future (think beyond the current project and fiscal period)
Will these metadata standards meet all your metadata needs? For the most part, yes. It is worth taking a deep look at these metadata standards.
There are several comprehensive guides to metadata worth sharing since they are freely available:
- The first guide is from NISO about Understanding Metadata which contains quite a few references on everything you wanted to know about metadata, but was afraid to ask.
- Another set of guides are more recently authored by Jenn Riley, who was funded by the Indiana University Libraries White Professional Development Award where she developed a visual representation of 105 different metadata standards along with Devin Becker. Their site mentions:
“The sheer number of metadata standards in the cultural heritage sector is overwhelming, and their inter-relationships further complicate the situation. This visual map of the metadata landscape is intended to assist planners with the selection and implementation of metadata standards.
Each of the 105 standards listed here is evaluated on its strength of application to defined categories in each of four axes: community, domain, function, and purpose. The strength of a standard in a given category is determined by a mixture of its adoption in that category, its design intent, and its overall appropriateness for use in that category.
The standards represented here are among those most heavily used or publicized in the cultural heritage community, though certainly not all standards that might be relevant are included. A small set of the metadata standards plotted on the main visualization also appear as highlights above the graphic. These represent the most commonly known or discussed standards for cultural heritage metadata.”
Having this visual mapping helps people like me who deal with information in this manner regularly. I like this so much, I saved these posters and guides (all PDF). I even added the visualization as a screen saver on my work computer.
In the cases when these metadata standards do not meet your metadata needs and use cases, some people mix several standards together into metadata mashups which may be more successful rather than trying to carve your own standard out of stone.
Where do you find metadata standards?