What is Metadata?
Metadata is ‘data about data’ or information about
Michael Day (Metadata in a Nutshell) defines
metadata as “standardised descriptive information
about resources, including non-digital ones.” (e.g.
book metadata, photograph metadata, etc.)
3 types of Metadata
Descriptive Metadata (Human Level): “content about
the content” or metacontent.
discovery and identification of resources.
Structural Metadata (Machine Level): data about the
containers of data.
Administrative Metadata (Human Level): information
for managing a resource.
Why create Metadata?
Metadata makes your work readily available because:
Searchable: it‟s easy to find.
Authority: it‟s clear who created it.
Citation: it‟s easy for others to cite your work in their
Collaboration: it helps other people to build on your work
rather than having to recreate it.
Efficiency: you save time and money, if everyone creates
Funding: you may be required to make your work readily
available to others.
What does Metadata do?
Metadata is the key to ensuring the survival and
accessibility of resources into the future.
Descriptive metadata facilitates the discovery of
Resource discovery (e.g. library catalogs)
Organize electronic resources
Facilitate interoperability and resource integration
Provide digital identification
Support archiving and preservation
Metadata is the key to interoperability.
Interoperability is the ability of multiple systems with
different hardware and software platforms, data
structures and interfaces to exchange data with
minimal loss of content and functionality.
Metadata promotes interoperability by making digital
information understandable to both humans and
Metadata can be stored separately or embedded in a digital
Can facilitate search and retrieval
Stored in database and linked to the object described.
E.g. Semantic web
Storing metadata with object:
Ensures it wont be lost
Removes the problem of linking between data and metadata
Metadata and object are updated simultaneously
Metadata schemes include elements, such as
standard numbers, to uniquely identify the work or
object to which the metadata refers.
Location of a digital object is given using:
a file name
URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
PURL (Persistent URL)…… preferred!
DOI (Digital Object Identifier)
A tag is a non-hierarchical keyword or term assigned
to a piece of information (Wikipedia)
Effectively, a tag is a form of metadata.
O‟Shea (2013) describes 3 types of tagging :
A hashtag is a universal, standardised metadata
Therefore, #uccmadah is a form of descriptive
You choose your tags on
Twitter, Facebook, Wordpress, Youtube, etc.
But, Youtube, Delicious, and Wordpress algorithms
also suggest tags for you.
These are all located in the <head> tag.
<meta name=“author” content=“Paul
<meta name=“keywords” content=“metadata,
metacontent, HTML, etc….”>
<meta name=“description” content=“MA DAH
Social tagging is also known as Folksonomies.
Folksonomy originates from folk + taxonomy
Taxonomy is the branch of science concerned with
Ergo -> crowd-sourced tagging
See plugins for MediaWiki/Ruby on Rails for example!
The process of adding geo-spatially represented
metadata to various media and resources.
Provides location-specific information
Digital cameras automatically geotag using GPS.
Facebook and Twitter mobile apps allow you to geotag
tweets and status updates.
Special elements are required:
To track the lineage of a digital object.
Details of its physical characteristics.
Document its behaviour for future technologies.
Sets of metadata elements designed for a specific
purpose, e.g. describing a particular type of information
If the resource lives on the internet then one may use
the URI to locate it and RDF to describe it.
Definition/meaning of the metadata elements are the
semantics of the scheme.
Value given to the metadata elements are the content.
Metadata schemes specify the names of elements
and their semantics, and also the syntax rules for how
elements and their content should be encoded.
The Dublin Core Metadata
Originated from 1995 workshop sponsored by OCLC
Common vocabulary, like FOAF (Friend of a Friend –
describing interpersonal networks)
Important because it is endorsed by IETF and ISO
See Euorpeana: http://www.europeana.eu/
The Dublin Core Metadata
To define a set of elements that could be used by
authors to describe their own web resources.
Title, Creator, Subject, Description, Publisher, Contribut
or, Date, Type, Format, Identifier, Source, Language, R
egion, Coverage and Rights.
Designed to be simple and concise
To describe Web based documents
Minimalist view vs. Structuralist view (See Lumpers
Minimalists: minimum elements, simple semantics and
Structuralist: Finer semantic distinctions and more
extensibility for particular communities.
Description=”Presents an overview of
metadata conventions in
Publisher=”The Sheridan Press”
Dublin Core Example
Focuses on semantic content rather than plain text content.
Allows for disambiguation of terms with the same
name, but different meanings.
Evolved from limited, but simple, HTML meta tags to a
complex „web‟ of standards.
Some of the well established standards are
Unicode, URI, XML, RDF, Web Ontology Language
The Text Encoding Initiative http://www.tei-c.org/index.xml
International project to develop guidelines for marking up
electronic texts such as
novels, plays, poetry, correspondence, etc.
TEI Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and
Specify a header portion, embedded in the resource that
consists of metadata about the work.
TEI Header can be used to record bibliographic information
about the digital edition.
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