I recently attended ELUNA or the Ex Libris Users of North America conference. It was fantastic. I met so many great people and come back with many awesome ideas. One of those ideas concerns metadata. In one of the plenary sessions, there was a discussion on how to leverage data for better collection development and management. One of the presentations later on also focused on this by means of inserting LC call numbers into their records. These data provided a means to analyze their collection use based on a classification easily understood by their selectors and administrators. Both of these presentations focused on data. The right data needs to be there to make consistent and informed analyses. In other words, to make smart collection development and management strategic choices, you need to be SMART.
What is SMART? It’s scoping metadata to be adaptive and reactive to technology. Having the right data in your systems means leverage your system appropriately and using it as it was intended as much as possible. It also means ensuring that these data can be shared with other systems intelligently. Going back to the idea of data entry and catalogers, it’s important to not do data entry but to think of how this information is being used and can be used for collection development and management. This is an extremely important investment for libraries to make. Cataloging and metadata units tend to have a history of being radically downsized. I feel that this trend has hurt libraries. The ability to curate collections and ensure that we are being SMART requires human resources. This is especially crucial with the move to linked data – it is all about the data. If there is no one to create and manage that data, then linking will be rather difficult to accomplish. So let’s be smart.