In my last post, I looked at the first step of conceptualizing and planning the creation and storage of metadata. In this post, I want to look at the creation and reception of metadata.
- Create and/or receive: The DCC explains that this step involves creating data that includes administrative, descriptive, structural, preservation and technical metadata. Then you receive data according to policies in place and assign other appropriate metadata.
Let me break this down again using the similar categories in my last post: ILS, digital repositories and metadata consultations. These, of course, are just convenient labels to help us think us through this step of one of the life cycles for metadata.
With an ILS, like in our last post, much of this has already been worked out. The metadata standard in place is MARC21 for most of us and either AACR2 or a combination of AACR2 and RDA along with many of the controlled vocabularies and name authority work we are so used to. Currently, my ILS is not set up to accept PREMIS files or MODS files. I’m unable to create a new module to Voyager such that I can store preservation metadata. However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t think of preservation metadata to be used in my records when I catalog. Actually, given that the server is backed up daily is part of the preservation process our library subscribes to. Other measures include using nationally recognized standards of practice so that our records can be easily migrated, transformed or shared. Of course ILS capture tons of administrative data. Much of the technical data is entered by catalogers. Just think of the system requirements field or even the extent of an item.
With digital repositories, depending on what was decided for the platform, again much of the type of metadata will already be decided. However, even with such systems as ContentDM or Digital Commons, one needs to understand how the data is being creating and the best ways of describing this data to users using administrative, technical, preservation, rights, structural and descriptive metadata within the framework and constraints of the chosen platform.
In the case of metadata consultations, this is really fun because one gets to work with the data creator on the best metadata standards to implement. It also involves working on documentation and best practices that data creators can use when they gather their data.
Now, in rereading this, it seems that my train of thought implies that conceptualizing/planning precedes creation. This is definitely not true. What is so interesting about the DCC life cycle model is that it is a circle with various moving parts. You can start or continue anywhere on the circle. Indeed, the need to re-conceptualize and plan for metadata arises; think of the move to a new ILS. Also the need to re-evaluate how best to describe data through metadata is an ongoing process; think of RDA or MODS in RDF as expressed in xml. Policies and documentation are in part what keep us in business. In the realm of metadata, there is constant re-evaluation as metadata standards evolve to the changing needs of users and technology.