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Metadata Initiatives at University of Washington Libraries

Broad description of metadata objectives and principles for metadata initiatives centered in Cataloging and Metadata Services, 2022-2023

September, 2022

Local / more broadly / most broadly

Locally we promote and implement metadata standards and best practices. We keep current with emerging trends. We assist projects with a metadata component, emphasizing support of academic endeavors, advising project coordinators, staff, and students. We create, repurpose, publish, and maintain metadata while aspiring to the highest metadata quality. We create metadata application profiles as needed. Although we work with multiple data models, especially RDF linked data models and Dublin Core, we continue to emphasize MARC21 data and participate in local efforts to share MARC data of the highest quality.

We contribute more broadly to metadata librarianship by identifying problems and seeking the best theory and practice to address those problems. A notable current metadata problem is the proliferation of many data models and platforms: there is too much variety, and the metadata does not interoperate easily. We address this problem by analyzing and using different library data models, producing data using multiple models, mapping across data models, and serving on committees and in projects that navigate multiple models and platforms, all in the interest of making diverse metadata work together to better serve our users with high quality, modern metadata.

Most broadly, we seek to extend the usefulness of library metadata for all uses. This is an extension of our work in interoperability beyond traditional library use cases. In an increasingly data-driven information universe, libraries are emerging as first-class data producers, producing useful and highly structured datasets describing a wide range of things and ideas. We seek to share the data we create as well as consume the data of others in an expanding world of data sharing. Our work in metadata quality, interoperability, standards, and best practices contribute to this international, cross-disciplinary collaboration.


Who we are

These metadata initiatives are centered in, but not limited to, the Cataloging and Metadata Services department (CAMS) of UW Libraries, with the Metadata and Cataloging Initiatives unit (MCI) coordinating the efforts. The initiatives are possible through collaborations of staff throughout the Libraries with notable contributions from the Metadata Implementation Group (MIG), and a working group, the Linked Data Team.  The initiatives described here do not represent all metadata initiatives throughout the libraries.


Alignment with UW Libraries mission and vision

As metadata remains one of the most effective tools for advancing discovery of information resources, our work to sustain its quality and usefulness facilitates the connection of people with knowledge.

As data in general becomes more widely produced and consumed, our work in ensuring the broad usefulness of our data, and increasing our ability in using others’ data, will accelerate inquiry, creativity, and learning for global impact and the public good. In addition, our contributions to academic libraries’ fearless experimentation will itself encourage and assist staff and students to experiment fearlessly as they use new tools for accessing and using information, thus catalyzing world-class research.


Links to some current projects