Metadata, 2nd edition

Apr 2016 | 400pp

Price: £59.95
CILIP members price: £47.96

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Metadata, 2nd edition

Marcia Lei Zeng and Jian Qin

Metadata remains the solution for describing the explosively growing, complex world of digital information, and continues to be of paramount importance for information professionals. Providing a solid grounding in the variety and interrelationships among different metadata types, Zeng and Qin’s thorough revision of their benchmark text offers a comprehensive look at the metadata schemas that exist in the world of library and information science and beyond, as well as the contexts in which they operate. Cementing its value as both an LIS text and a handy reference for professionals already in the field, this book:

  • Lays out the fundamentals of metadata, including principles of metadata, structures of metadata vocabularies, and metadata descriptions
  • Surveys metadata standards and their applications in distinct domains and for various communities of metadata practice
  • Examines metadata building blocks, from modelling to defining properties, and from designing application profiles to implementing value vocabularies
  • Describes important concepts as resource identification, metadata as linked data, consumption of metadata, interoperability, and quality measurement
  • Offers an updated glossary to help readers navigate metadata’s complex terms in easy-to-understand definitions.

An online resource of web extras, packed with exercises, quizzes, and links to additional materials, completes this definitive primer on metadata.

1. Introduction 
2. Understanding Metadata Vocabularies
3. Creating Metadata Descriptions 
4. Metadata Structures and Semantics 
5. Metadata Schemas 
6. Metadata Services 
7. Metadata Quality Measurement and Improvement 
8. Achieving Interoperability 
9. Metadata Research Landscape 
10. Current Standards

"This revision of Zeng and Qin's benchmark textbook offers a refreshed look at the metadata schemas that exist in the world of library, archive, and museum (LAM) communities...Part I provides an excellent and thorough introduction to the standards, principles, and vocabularies. It helpfully and clearly distinguishes between the different types of metadata standards, which in my experience are frequently confused by colleagues."
- Archifacts

"The second edition of this book represents much more than a serviceable update to the first edition, published in 2008. Zeng and Qin have significantly revised their thinking about metadata construction, application, usability, and sustainability. As a result, the current edition of this seminal resource represents a radical and necessary shift to a richer, more comprehensive analysis of metadata and its uses...A core reference work for all professionals and advanced students interested in the subject of metadata."

"The writing is engaging and memorable, especially when considering the technical nature of the subject matter. Visual learners will also appreciate the numerous illustrations, examples, and tables. No practitioner could ever hope to master every concept herein, but careful readers will undoubtedly feel their horizons expanding."

'I highly recommend this book to the instructor of metadata and information organization (or the serious student) as an essential desk reference; individual chapters and sections are completely appropriate for use as supplemental readings in a variety of courses where details about particular concepts related to metadata are required.'
- Susan Rathbun-Grubb, University of South Carolina, Technical Services Quarterly​

Review of the previous edition:

"This book is to be recommended without hesitation…it deserves a wide audience."
- Journal of Documentation

"An excellent textbook on metadata for learning and teaching…the present textbook can become a valuable tool for both learners and teachers as well as for young professionals in the area of digital information."

"The book is sufficiently thorough to serve as a ready reference for those working on a digital library project…the authors have produced a very useful work."
- Australian Academic and Research Libraries

"This book is certainly a useful addition to the shelves of students and researchers in the digital library field."
- Ariadne


Marcia Lei Zeng is Professor of Library and Information Science at Kent State
University in Kent, Ohio. She holds a PhD from the School of Information Sciences at
the University of Pittsburgh and an MA from Wuhan University in China. Her scholarly
publications consist of more than 80 papers and five books, as well as over 200 national
and international conference presentations and invited lectures.

Jian Qin is Professor at the School of Information Studies, Syracuse University. Dr Qin
holds a PhD degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MLIS
from the University of Western Ontario. She has published more than 60 papers and has
given presentations at numerous national and international conferences and workshops.

PART I - Fundamentals of Metadata

1. Introduction

The search for information depends on two basic questions: “What is this ‘thing’?” and “How does this thing relate to other things?” Chapter 1 provides a context for metadata uses in our life and work and a brief history of the metadata movement. It reviews fundamental concepts, including metadata types, categories of metadata standards, and metadata principles. Finally, it presents additional examples of metadata descriptions.

2. Understanding Metadata Vocabularies

Chapter 2 introduces a selected group of metadata element sets. They are selected not only because they have been widely adopted but also because they demonstrate some common structures for organizing the elements. An understanding of the approaches used in organizing the elements in a specification (often abbreviated as “spec”) will be essential for learning, selecting, and implementing metadata standards. This chapter also reviews the concept of application profiles and introduces metadata vocabularies that are self-described as ontologies, schemas (or ontology schemas), and RDF vocabularies.

3. Creating Metadata Descriptions

The Metadata Record has been considered the basic unit of metadata management and exchange and reflects the tradition of library cataloging. Chapter 3 will try to establish the mindset of metadata statements and descriptions when records are discussed, because this will be the fundamental change in creating, managing, sharing, combining, and linking metadata.  This chapter discusses how to determine the focus of descriptions before making major decisions.

PART II - Metadata Vocabulary Building Blocks

4. Metadata Structures and Semantics

Chapter 4 addresses structures and semantics of elements necessary for describing resources in a domain or of a certain type. The chapter follows the typical path that decisions about metadata structure and semantics might take, incorporating the major components of the application profile. An application profile consists of data elements drawn from one or more namespaces, which are then combined and optimized for a specific local application (Heery and Patel 2000).

5. Metadata Schemas

In the metadata community, the word schema refers to the semantic and structural definitions of metadata elements, including the relationships between those elements, which are represented in a standardized syntax or serialization format. The semantic and structural representations in a metadata schema not only define what an element means, but also define how it will be encoded in a machine-processable format. Chapter 5 is concerned with encoding schema.

PART III - Metadata Services

6. Metadata Services

Chapter 6 will explain what metadata services are, what standards and tools are available for metadata service operations, and how metadata services facilitate data and information management, exchange, and discovery in the whole information ecosystem.

7. Metadata Quality Measurement and Improvement

Metadata allows for enhanced description, improved classification, and more rational organization of information resources. Applying metadata does not, however, automatically improve information access or the findability of information resources. Chapter 7 reviews and evaluates the quality of metadata to identify weaknesses as well as solutions to improve the processes.

8. Achieving Interoperability

Chapter 8 addresses the problem of ensuring metadata interoperability when building digital libraries or digital collections within an institution or across institutions. This chapter contains a summary of the methods that have been used to achieve or improve interoperability among metadata standards and applications for the purposes of facilitating conversion and exchange of metadata, and to enable cross-domain metadata harvesting and federated searches.

PART IV - Metadata Outlook in Research

9. Metadata Research Landscape

The term metadata has become both a symbol and a beacon for organizing and managing information resources, both physical and digital, and is now widely accepted by academic and governmental institutions, corporations, and other types of organizations. Metadata research embraces both conceptual and practical explorations of metadata models, vocabularies, schemas, tools, systems, and practices. Reviewing metadata research and practices is a challenging task because of the interdisciplinarity and diversity of subjects in this field. Chapter 9 explores the metadata research landscape, providing updates on metadata research and a brief discussion of the “data-driven x” phenomenon, as well as considerations of metadata’s role as a source of Big Data research and as an infrastructure for supporting data-driven x research and learning.

10. Current Standards

Chapter 10 introduces more selected metadata standards for data structures, following those that have been introduced in chapter 2 of the book. The focus is on their elements, and not on their expression formats, value encoding schemes, or implementations in practice. The chapter chooses standards that have been widely used, discussed, and studied in various communities. They have been selected because they are emblematic of the different aspects of metadata functions in terms of the broad areas that encompass descriptive, structural, technical, administrative, preservation, and rights management interests, and are not to be taken as an exhaustive list.

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