I came across this article while I was preparing for a presentation on metadata, and I thought it was great in showing how important metadata is for all types of information systems.
One of the quotes I found early on in the article describes “metadata as a stand in for place.” I thought that this was an interesting comparison because the authors point out that in the past, finding relevant materials required physical browsing and searching in a library, but now metadata is what connects us from one place to another in a digital space.
The authors go on to give examples of just how pervasive the use of metadata has become in our own lives and in other industries that many people may not think of. For example, in medicine doctors use metadata to link clinical records of patient care to data sets of medical research that in turn helps them to find new information on treatments. For social media, metadata helps us to connect with friends and find people. They also explain that metadata is even important within economics because metadata can be used as a way of understanding larger trends and developments.
So understanding metadata and information organization is not just useful within the realm of libraries both physical and digital. It’s also useful anywhere a strong background knowledge for information architecture is needed. Since that’s starting to be an important aspect in many industries, people are starting to take a closer look at librarians and how they organize information. Woot woot! 🙂
This article left me with the thought that since the catalog is out of the box and metadata is now everywhere, librarians can be everywhere as well because there is value in the skills we have and a transferability of those skills among other industries. This is a good thing for our profession because it keeps us in the middle of this digital information revolution.