Dispatches from ASIS&T – Panel on Community Metadata

“Spanning Boundaries and Disciplines: Linked, Open, and Cloud-Based Community Metadata”

Erik Mitchell and Kanti Srikantiaiah, University of Maryland
Susan Rathbun-Grubb, University of South Carolina
Heather Lea Moulaison, University of Missouri
Jane Greenberg, UNC-Chapel Hill

Broadly speaking, this session dealt with initiatives to understand and undertake community metadata projects. Although we can’t capture all of the details in this post, here are a few takeaway highlights:

  • Jane Greenberg talked about two projects associated with DataOne: HIVE (Helping Interdisciplinary Vocabulary Engineering) and SeaIce, or “Metadictionary.”
    • HIVE is an interface that helps scientists choose tags from among several accerpted controlled vocabularies for their field. The goal for this tool is to maximize the use of already existing standards, increase consistency and findability, and engage scientists in creating their own metadata.
    • SeaIce or Metadictionary is a crowd-sourced repository of metadata terms and definitions inspired by Stack Overflow’s system for rating and owning contributions. Browse or add your own at http://seaice.herokuapp.com/
  • Are MARC records insufficient for representing author information? Susan Rathbun-Grubb thinks so. She pointed out that most MARC subfields for authors actually go unused and could hinder interoperability because of the way “useful” information is added to the author name field. She suggested that FRAD (Functional Requirements for Authority Description) may point the way toward more complex, interoperable author data.
  • Erik Mitchell and Kanti Srikantiaiah presented a discourse analysis of documents pertaining to the NISO roadmap to determine how metadata-creating communities talk about their work. They noted that “mapping, not migration; streams, not records” were conceptual trends in the way participants approached the task of developing new metadata standards.