Article #7: Planning for Metadata

In the 2007 article Planning for Metadata by Jody Perkins, I have

Leave Hand Marker Mark Production Planning Control
Production Planning – Courtesy MaxPixel

found that while information on metadata has exploded since this article was written,  it was the narrative on her personal experiences within the field that I have found most useful and still relevant ten years later.  She stresses the importance of planning in advance for metadata inclusion within a project, rather than treating it as an afterthought to be tacked on somewhere towards the end.  As she states, “When metadata is an afterthought, implementers can be forced into making ad-hoc decisions resulting in poor quality non-interoperable data.”

In the planning phase she discusses the need to think about as many variables as possible and all within the context of project outcomes:

  • Types of collections
  • Hardware & software
  • Required expertise
  • Project team members
  • Metadata creators
  • Source & extent of funding
  • Clarifying the purpose of the project
  • Establishing the goals of the project
  • Identifying stakeholders
  • Metadata design
    • Schema, standards, & controlled vocabularies
    • Interoperability compliance
    • Measures of quality
    • Breadth & depth of metadata
    • Preparation of crosswalks (where necessary)
  • Planning for scanning & metadata
  • Allocating resources
  • Designing workflow
  • Deliverables
  • Final evaluation criteria

And all of this has to happen before a single element of metadata has been entered!

One of the best pieces of advice she gives is that “Compromises are inevitable and knowing when and where to cut corners without sacrificing the quality is a vital part of the process.”

Overall, I’d have to say that this tiny article (in comparison to some we’ve read this semester) has packed in more practical information per square inch than many books written on the subject of metadata management.  It has definitely been one of my favorites and one that I will continue to reference following the end of the class.  (The checklist at the end of the article alone is worth keeping tacked up on a bulletin board.)


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