Digital Archiving Resources

Metadata for All: Descriptive Standards and Metadata Sharing Across Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Title

Metadata for All: Descriptive Standards and Metadata Sharing Across Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Subject

Web archiving

Description

Elings and Günter discuss the different standards used for coding metadata among different types of institutions. They explain different systems that can be used, including the data structure systems CDWA, MARC and EAD; data content systems CCO, AACR2, and DACS; data formatting systems such as XML; and data exchange systems such as OIA. The authors explain the basics of these systems, comparing them to bottles, bottle contents, boxes of bottles, and delivery of boxes. They then give an overview of why different institutions tend to use different formats for their metadata needs, explaining that the institutions adopted these systems in response to specific needs they had based on the types of artifacts they were describing. The authors conclude by suggesting a new way of looking at different ways of using metadata not according to institution, but rather according to types of materials. Instead of categorizing the systems by library, archive, and museum, they instead categorize them by “material culture,” bibliographic, and archival materials. This promotes a more unified and translatable approach while making it clear what the purposes are behind using the different systems.

Abstract

Integrating digital content from libraries, archives and museums represents a persistent challenge. While the history of standards development is rife with examples of cross-community experimentation, in the end, libraries, archives and museums have developed parallel descriptive strategies for cataloguing the materials in their custody. Applying in particular data content standards by material type, and not by community affiliation, could lead to greater data interoperability within the cultural heritage community.

In making this argument, the article demystifies metadata by defining and categorizing types of standards, provides a brief historical overview of the rise of descriptive standards in museums, libraries and archives, and considers the current tensions and ambitions in making descriptive practice more economic.

Table Of Contents

Introduction
Key concepts for understanding standards
A grid of standards
How did we get here?
The library community
The archives community
The museum community
More recent trends
Conclusion

Creator

Elings, Mary W.
Waibel, Gunter

Publisher

First Monday

Date

2007-03-05

Contributor

Polk, Victoria

Rights

© First Monday, 1995-2015.

Type

Journal Article

Identifier

http://firstmonday.org/article/view/1628/1543

Bibliographic Citation

Elings, Mary W., and Günter Waibel. “Metadata for All: Descriptive Standards and Metadata Sharing Across Libraries, Archives, and Museums.” First Monday 12.3 (2007): n.p. Accessed February 6, 2012. http://firstmonday.org/article/view/1628/1543.

Instructional Method

This is a useful guide for introducing the basics of metadata systems. Archivists may use this when trying to understand how and why different systems are used to create metadata for different types of artifacts.

Files

firstmonday.JPG

Collection

Citation

Elings, Mary W. and Waibel, Gunter, “Metadata for All: Descriptive Standards and Metadata Sharing Across Libraries, Archives, and Museums,” Digital Archiving Resources, accessed September 25, 2017, http://dar.cah.ucf.edu/items/show/61.