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Martin Estrada


2 min read

Metadata, defined albeit incompletely as "data about data", plays a profound but often unnoticed role in the day to day lives of the 21st century person. Until going over this weeks readings, I admitantly had only heard the term on a number of occasions and certainly never cared to look up what it was or how I interacted with it on a daily basis. Paul Stephen's characterization of "metadata revolution" as "proliferation of powerful online catalogues and finding tools" made me consider however how I and a majority of people with access to the internet are becoming increasingly dependent on the methodical cataloging of infromation to satisfy whatever queries we might have. For example, in the past few days, I've found myself enamoured in some of the more interesting genres of 90's electronic music, namely ambient house and have in turn taken to the music database Discogs to fulfill my interests. The chronilogical breakdown of an artist's output, format, version and even lable is something I'd previously taken for granted but now I realize that this is just one of the ways that I find myself interacting with metadata. 

I found Anne Gilliland's "Introduction to Metadata" to be the most sucessful of this week's readings at taking a concept that seems so daunting as "metadata" and reducing it down into manageable components for me to take in. It also helped to demonstrate why metadata has a definitition that seems inadequate at fully explaining what it is; it's because of metadata's multifaceted nature. 

While metadata was once a term that only had any real significance to those infromation professionals such as archivists and theorists, it has now proliferated into the lives of nearly everybody, although has largely gone unnoticed. However, as "the data of data" continues to play an ever increasing role our day to day activities, it is important to take the time to consider how it shapes modernity and how our lives would changes if the metadata advances

Dr. Shrout

Best Practices for Digital Archives

1 min read

  • Adaptability - data should be structured so that it is possible to change the platform as technology changes
  • Accessability - access should be free
  • Data is easy to navigate
  • Data is easy to extract
  • User friendly
    • Usability
    • ADA accessability
    • Usable user interface
    • Sufficient context (not too much, not too little)
    • Good design
    • Include original sources and transcriptions/descriptions
  • Sustainability
    • Funding
    • Maintaining Awareness
    • Environmental sustainability
    • Consistant maitenance
    • Easy to identify makers
    • Cross-platform
  • Give the community agency over digitized materials
  • Support intentional silences
  • Work with communities to fill silences that are the product of structural inequality
  • Thorough and comprehensive, but with a defined scop
  • Good design