Saturday, February 01, 2003

The Open Archives Initiative.
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The Open Archives Initiative is perhaps the most important metadata initiative to arise in recent years: partly because the idea seems, so far, to work, and partly because it's so darned simple. By enabling specialized agents to harvest the metadata from service providers and combine that metadata to form new information services, the designers of the OAI protocol--Carl Lagoze and Herbert Van de Sompel--have created a solution that libraries and other information providers can implement rapidly and inexpensively.

At this site, you'll see many of the central documents about the OAI, as well as links to the various initiatives that are underway, and the toolkits available for implementing the protocol, using open source software.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Gilliland-Swetland, Anne J. "Setting the Stage." Introduction to Metadata: Pathways to Digital Information. Version 2. 2000. Getty Research Institute. 8 Jan. 2003.

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The Getty Institute's page provides some very useful introductions to metadata. I just wish that they made the dates of the individual articles clearer. With a volatile topic like metadata, the dates of an article can be very important.

Gilliland-Swetland's article is particularly useful for setting out the separate categories of metadata: administrative, descriptive, preservation, technical and use. This separation provides more than a neat set of divisions. With metadata, there are so many different players, and so many different projects going on, that it's very important to specify, right at the outset, the category of metadata that are important to us. In my case, as someone coming from both English and Information Science, I'm particularly interested in metadata for descriptive purposes: how is metadata used to describe and identify information resources? How can descriptive metadata from different domains be joined together, to get cross-domain resource discovery?

Saturday, January 04, 2003

Metadata is the new "buzzword" in information systems, and while half the information community resolutely insists that it means nothing more than the stuff librarians have been doing for centuries, others insist, with equal force, that there's much more to it. What interests me, in this blog, is the cultural dimension to this concept: whether you're talking about using metadata for search engines, about organizing materials for conventional libraries, or about using metadata for constructing web portals, you're tapping into a long tradition of representation, one with a rich theoretical base. The purpose of this blog is to gather together those electronic resources which will help me to understand both the theoretical base and the directions of the growth.