International Yearbook of Library and Information Management 2003‐4. Metadata Applications and Their Management

Lucy A. Tedd (Lecturer, Department of Information Studies, University of Wales)

Program: electronic library and information systems

ISSN: 0033-0337

Article publication date: 1 June 2004




Tedd, L.A. (2004), "International Yearbook of Library and Information Management 2003‐4. Metadata Applications and Their Management", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 38 No. 2, pp. 147-148.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

International Yearbook of Library and Information Management 2003‐4 is the fourth volume in this series to have been published (initially by Library Association Publishing and more recently by its successor Facet Publishing). Each volume takes a specific theme with the first, in 2000, covering collection management, the second, covering information services in an electronic environment and the third, covering the digital factor in library and information services. This volume carries on the tradition and has as its theme metadata applications and their management. Gorman has been the editor of each volume and for this work he was assisted by an associate editor, Daniel Dorner, also from the School of Information Management at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Gorman and Dorner were helped by an Editorial Advisory Board of 12 people comprising one or two representatives from the following regions: Australasia; East Asia; South Asia; North America; the UK; and Western Europe. This geographic spread was not really mirrored by the nationalities of the contributors where there is a heavy bias towards contributions from the US (eight), then the UK (three), Australia (two) and then one each from Canada and China.

The 15 chapters in the yearbook are structured into six sections. The first, perspectives in metadata, contains chapters by two acknowledged experts on metadata: Miller of UKOLN – the UK Office of Library and information Networking (thought of by many as the UK node for information on metadata matters) and Gilliland‐Swetland of the University of California at Los Angeles. In the second section on metadata in the humanities the challenges of developing and using metadata for music are covered by Vellucci of St. John's University in New York whilst Pockley, of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, uses his experiences in research into collaborative metadata production to describe the issues related to metadata creation in the arts. The role of metadata in government is the topic for the third section. Quam, of the Minnesota Office of Technology, discusses the integration of issues such as metadata, controlled vocabularies and taxonomies in content management solutions, and the role of appropriate metadata in the development of the Access to Archives (A2A) within the National Archives in the UK is described by Craven and Stockting. Metadata in Education is covered in the fourth section. Sutton, of the University of Washington concentrates on metadata as it relates to the process of educational resource discovery and Mason, who has a long (in metadata time) history of involvement with metadata and education, provides a case study by looking at the evolving requirements for metadata of the Australian education and training sector. For many of us the first introduction to metadata was as a development from bibliographic descriptions, as we were all used to the MARC format for describing books. Metadata and bibliographic organisation is the subject of the penultimate section with contributions by Campbell, of the University of Western Ontario, Hsieh‐Yee of the Catholic University of America in Washington DC, who looks at the state of education about metadata in 52 library and information science programmes in North America, and Hyatt, of OCLC, who describes developments in cataloguing and metadata. The final section brings together the contributions of four authors covering very different metadata‐related topics: Day, of UKOLN, on preservation and metadata; McGlamery, of the University of Connecticut, on metadata and spatial data; Caplan of the University of Florida, on international initiatives in the implementation of metadata and finally Liu, of the Shanghai Library on the implementation of metadata in China.

From the above it can be seen that the scope of this work is very broad and the editor, associate editor and the editorial board are to be congratulated for bringing together a very interesting and competent set of contributions written by key authors in their respective areas. In his preface the editor thanks the work of the editorial board and their reviewing of completed chapters. He notes that several completed chapters had to be rejected – never an easy task for an editor and presumably even more difficult in situations where the contributions had been requested. In addition, the publishers are to be congratulated in producing this work in a timely and accurate manner.

A name for the person who creates metadata has yet to appear. Pockley introduces the term “metaphile” as a metadata advocate in his chapter. This was a new term for me as was the term “metator” for a metadata editor which I heard at the Online Information Meeting in London in December 2003 in a presentation by Bob Boiko.

There is a comprehensive index of 23 pages and a helpful five‐six line “brief biodata” on each of the contributors. Gorman has written an introduction to the yearbook in which he states that the definition used is that adopted by the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services Task Force on Metadata, namely: “metadata are structured, encoded data that describe characteristics of information‐bearing entities to aid in the identification, discovery, assessment and management of the described entities”. Each contribution has a good set of 30 or so mainly up‐to‐date references, and I only noticed a few errors. My only slight concern with this work is that in an “international” yearbook there are not more contributions from other parts of the world. The book is dedicated to “our many friends in the Greater Mekong Sub‐region for whom metadata applications are a dream awaiting realization…” but unfortunately no further mention is made of this. Nevertheless, as with the other yearbooks in this series, it is an excellent addition to the literature and should be useful for both students and practitioners.

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