What is Metadata?

Metadata is “a set of data that describes and gives information about other data.”


“Information about information”

LA Park stands on a chair in Cleveland, Ohio
LA Park stands on a chair in Cleveland, Ohio

Types of Metadata

Descriptive metadata describes a resource for purposes such as discovery and identification. It can include elements such as title, abstract, author, and keywords.

Example of Descriptive Metadata
Date, Title, and Content are all Descriptive Metadata

Structural metadata indicates how compound objects are put together, for example, how pages are ordered to form chapters.

Example of Structural Metadata
Structural Metadata is typically created so digital collections systems can manage and display the files properly.

Administrative metadata is an umbrella term for the metadata that provides information to help manage a resource, such as when and how it was created, file type and other technical information, and who can access it.

Example of Technical Metadata
Technical Metadata is for decoding and rendering files so computers know how to interact with them.

Where to start with metadata management?

forked road
Forked Path - CC0 - https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=210429

The first step to managing your metadata is figuring out what type of metadata you have, where it’s going, and how to get it there.

What is Metadata Management?

“Metadata management is the administration of data that describes other data.” – Margaret Rouse

Establishing policies and processes that ensure information can be:

Where do we start?

Descriptive Metadata Scenario

Your colleague used MarcEdit to modify a collection of MARC records, and now you need to import the changes back into your catalog. The file delivered is a .mrk (mnemonic MARC file), but you know your catalog is expecting a .mrc (binary MARC File).

Converting metadata using MarcEdit

Technical Metadata Scenario 1

You have an Excel spreadsheet (.xsl) that you have downloaded from your institutional repository containing metadata for electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs). You decided you want to add file type and file size to the metadata, so that researchers accessing the ETDs have an idea what they are about to download.

Extracting Metadata using the Command Line

Technical Metadata Scenario 2

You have xml records that you have downloaded from your digital repository containing metadata for pdf files of electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs). You decided you want to see if you can add the page counts, software used to create the files, and file type for the individual pdfs.

Extracting Metadata using the FITS

Administrative Metadata Scenario

You have received a file with image files that you are planning to accession into your digital archive (which ingests XML). Before you make the image files available to the public, you want to record technical, preservation, and rights metadata about the files. You do not feel comfortable using command line.

Extracting Metadata using the Data Accessioner

Programs mentioned by order of appearance: