Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Information Resource Description: Creating and Managing Metadata

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Information Resource Description: Creating and Managing Metadata

Article excerpt

Information Resource Description: Creating and Managing Metadata. By Philip Hider. Chicago: ALA Editions, 2013. 220 p. $99.95 softcover (ISBN: 978-0-8389-1201-0).

This book about descriptive metadata specifically for use in information retrieval systems is divided into nine chapters and includes lists of selected resources, further reading, and metadata standards. In his latest book, Philip Hider discusses metadata produced by information professionals, authors, users, and computers in broad terms. It is not a manual, but an introduction to the field intended for students and practitioners looking for bigger picture. Hider had previously co-authored a book with Ross Harvey on metadata and information organization titled Organising Knowledge in a Global Society: Principles and Practice in Libraries and Information Centres (Chandos, 2008).

Information Resource Description focuses on how information resources are organized through their description (metadata) in the contemporary environment and the process of description and metadata as related to retrieval tools. The author addresses questions such as, Why are descriptive metadata critical? In what contexts do metadata exist? When do metadata work and when not?

After a brief introduction to the vocabulary and defining of scope, the book dives into the concept of information resource attributes to look at the nature of metadata and why metadata are needed. Both describer and user contexts are important to consider: "Metadata creators should 'all start with the same fundamental question: what metadata will most help users to obtain the information they are looking for?" (16). A variety of information-seeking styles and goals are identified through review of several decades of literature on this topic. Information resource contexts are also considered, as are particular information resources designed for specific uses.

Tools and systems are the other side of the coin in understanding metadata's role in information retrieval. The author describes organizing information as arranged, labeled, and indexed to improve effective access, drawing from examples such as bibliographic databases, library catalogs, archival finding aids, and museum registers. A variety of metadata sources are also compared. …

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