Discussion notes: Draft Checklist for Evaluating Metadata Standards

The committee discussed the draft document, Checklist for Evaluating Metadata Standards, at its American Library Association Midwinter Conference meeting in Chicago on Sunday, February 1, 2015. We would like to thank the guests who attended and contributed their comments–particularly given the inclement weather!

Below is a summary of the discussion of this document. The Metadata Standards Committee will continue taking comments on this draft through April 15th, 2015. Provide your feedback.

Document Scope

  • Document is good but perhaps too high-level to serve as a checklist; may be more useful as a declaration or manifesto
  • Document is useful for providing background information on the environment in which metadata exists
  • Authors should elaborate upon the document’s intended usage

Document Clarity

  • Definitions of terms are needed
  • Document needs more specificity in areas
  • Might include a discussion (via a link, accordion box, etc.) of each of the ten existing points

Comments on Specific Checklist Points (by number)

  • Checklist preamble: might add that Checklist may be used for selection (in an LD environment), creation, maintenance, and governance
  • Checklist #1 and #6: are related; combine, refine, or at least move next to one another
  • Checklist #2 and #8: are related; same as above
  • Checklist #3: does the committee interpret the word “open” to mean ‘free to read’? Guests pointed out that some free to read content standards (the DCRM suite was cited) supplement a standard the exists behind a paywall
  • Checklist #3 and #5: Does a standard being freely available mean that the standard isn’t guaranteed to be maintained?
  • Checklist #5: state that maintenance community must respond in a timely fashion; switch bolded text to a positive statement; is there something to add here about sustainable business models for maintaining standards?
  • Checklist #6: explain/link to resources on “RESTful design approaches”; if document stays high-level/manifesto-oriented, identifying specific technology/model/protocol may make it more difficult to keep the document up to date

Suggested Document Use

  • Could the committee create a table in which metadata standards are evaluated against this Checklist?
  • Use Checklist to justify decisions to administrators, vendors, etc. (this was said in the context of the open=free discussion)

Perceived Community Needs

  • Need for a resource that shows how standards interact
  • Need for how to select standards; a list of criteria for decision making

Jennifer Liss

Jennifer heads the Image Cataloging department at Indiana University Libraries, where she designs and implements metadata strategy for the Libraries' physical and digital collections. Her research interests are focused on the history of library technology and how core competencies for professional catalogers have changed over time. See also: forest explorer, WWII warbird nerd, brownie consumer.

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