Course Series: Mechanics of Metadata
This course focuses on the tools and technologies involved in metadata design. A significant benefit of metadata is that its flexibility for customization to the needs of the organization and the resource. This course provides the tools needed to design metadata to support the needs of users and collections. the Students will learn the tools of metadata design, beginning with the data model that abstracts the meaning and value of the collection, the registry, which formalizes the data model into workable metadata elements, to standardizing the values that populate metadata through ontology and vocabulary development. Students are also introduced to metadata expression, through the collaborative design of an XML schema and through use of XML and RDF to document metadata instances from the schema. The course concludes by discussing how to apply these tools to existing metadata schemas. At the end of the course, students will be able to effectively design metadata to support their community’s and institution’s information needs.
Metadata implementation applies the tools and principles of metadata design, as taught in the companion course, to evaluate and develop application profiles for metadata schemas in common use. Students will develop and test application profiles in XML and using an open source METS/MODS metadata creation tool, the Rutgers OpenWMS. METS, including administrative metadata (source, technical and rights) will be covered, as well as VRA Core, MODS, Darwin Core, and PBcore, to give students experience evaluating and implementing a range of metadata schemas. Application profiles will be developed using the WMS for a cultural heritage or a research data collection, of the student’s choosing. Adventurous students can elect to do both!
At the end of both courses, students should be very comfortable with metadata and able to work independently as the metadata locus in their organization or effectively in teams to develop a flexible and useful metadata strategy for their organizations. The courses are recommended for anyone at any level of expertise with metadata. Weekly chat sessions encourage students to share experiences and questions with each other, to build a community that can persist beyond each course. The courses represent a reworking of the very popular Mechanics of Metadata to provide more depth of coverage and a more month-long realistic workload.
Grace Agnew is Associate University Librarian for Digital Library Systems at the Rutgers University Libraries. She has been an adjunct professor in the Library Information Science program at Rutgers University since 2005, where she developed and taught the course, Metadata for the Information Professional. She is co-author of Getting Mileage Out of Metadata (ALA, 1999) and Digital Rights Management: A Librarians’ Guide to Technology and Practice (Chandos Press, 2008). Interview with Grace Agnew