The catalog is out of the box
By Andy Havens and Tom Storey
For hundreds of years, metadata was kept in a box. Literally. A wooden box, filled with paper cards. Libraries cataloged for one reason: to be able to find resources on a shelf. Today, though, we’re seeing a growing importance placed on metadata management activities. In an increasingly information-driven world, good metadata is the key to more than finding the right item.
Data-about-data is now used to track materials, assess needs, compare collections, inform research, manage workflows, plan budgets and even make friends. Catalogers have been joined by publishers, retail outlets, shipping companies, researchers, faculty, Web programmers, search engine optimizers and end users in the flow of metadata creation and modification. This puts libraries, and catalogers, right in the middle of a revolution in how we think about representing and describing information. And the more partners we can involve in these processes, the more chances libraries have to add value up and down a variety of data supply chains. …
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