The SMART Concert

Interesting enough I had continued conversations about titles and the relationship between metadata and technology. I don’t want to dwell on the first except to say that it is important to illustrate how our jobs are changing and what that means for libraries and librarianship. In fact, many jobs in libraries are changing at a rapid pace. The need to revamp or reinvent is sweeping a number of departments such as public services, outreach, or reference.

I’d like to return to this concert of metadata and technology. I learned something very easy that was tremendously useful. I found the count by material type in MarcEdit. And yes, please laugh. Why hadn’t I seen this function earlier? I think it was in part because many of the records I have processed until recently have been of only one material type. I ran across a file that included 4 different types: visual materials, sound recordings, computer files, and books. The one aspect that drew these records together was the fact that they were all online resources. This is quite different from another file I have been wrangling that including both records for analog and online resources. And I have come to absolutely rely on counts by material type and field counts. I also used for the first time conditional statements. And if you haven’t guessed, my references are all in regards to MarcEdit, the veritable Swiss Army knife of metadata work. MarcEdit is a tool and a technological life saver. Frankly I’m not sure what I’d do without this tool. Also I think this tool reflects the integration of technology in metadata work. It is thanks to technology that we prepare data to be stored by technology. These small finds enforced the idea that metadata work is intimately linked to technology. My statement really is an obvious one and perhaps I’m just late to the game.

With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about how we use this technology. Is OpenRefine the tool to use for a certain project or one part of a project or is it MarcEdit or just Excel? In this sense, I’m wonder how smarter I can be in manipulating and managing metadata if I knew some of these tools better. In that sense, I don’t want to be a master of a tool that might be outdated in a couple of years or decades. How is it possible to learn tools with an approach that allows to other tools as well? Is this even possible? I don’t know about my last questions. However, it is possible to evaluate regularly tools in the toolshed. It is not only a smart thing to do, namely evaluate the tools you know at your disposals, but also to learn how to do something new with one of those tools or learn a new tool. This process helps me keep me current on tools and possible other tools that I might need down the road.