Twenty-Five Years on the Metadata Beat

Abstract

Metadata systems within and beyond libraries have undergone many leaps and stumbles over the past 25 years. Many confident predictions of the 1990s, such as the end of MARC and the rise of librarians as uber-curators of the World Wide Web, have yet to come true. In the meantime, astonishing and unexpected innovations, such as Google, the Web 2.0, big data and now AI, have arisen from unexpected places and changed our information landscapes dramatically. This keynote address will use my own leaps and stumbles in the field of metadata as a template by which to highlight and extract three significant domains of metadata development: descriptive cataloguing in libraries, semantic markup for electronic documents, and linked data for web-based data retrieval. Each domain, in its different way, echoes the aim of Sir Anthony Panizzi in the nineteenth century to create semantic metadata that meaningfully and usefully contributes to our use of information. Library catalogues create structured metadata surrogates; semantic markup languages embed meaning into the very structure of electronic documents; linked data embeds semantic meaning into the links between data elements. All three domains have been partially displaced by ensuing innovations, but all three continue to play eccentric but important roles in information environments today.

Date
Jun 4, 2024 11:15 am — 12:45 pm
Event
CAIS2024

D. Grant Campbell, Associate Professor

Faculty of information and Media Studies

Western University

London, Ontario N6A 5B9

he/him/his

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9259-3138