Term Paper: Metadata Basically Means "Data

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[. . .] " The four concepts that describe the context in which preservation exists are custody, social value, structure and cooperation. Let's have a look at each of them.

Custody refers to an extrinsic dimension of metadata, that is, to data to how this is kept and guarded. As Paul Conway shows, the concept is "at the center of information management theory and practice, including specifications for the disposition of government archives, the management of book collections, and the maintenance of large-scale information technology systems." We can see how this refers to metadata: metadata (just like 'ordinary' data) is kept in a certain custodial system that ensures its preservation.

Social Value refers, in my opinion, to the social role of metadata and how it will be able to influence the generations to come. The examples on Paul Conway's article refer to simple data and information. However, we can extend this notion of social value to metadata: the future generations will be able to use the governmental archives, the indexes and catalogues from the library, the museum repositories and guides, that is, all the material describing the initial data.

The two last concepts of preservation, structure and cooperation, can also be easily related to metadata by using the same principle of assimilation: data and metadata, even if two different concepts, are in fact two different forms of data and the notions for one can be applied to the other as well. If we refer to cooperation, for example, Paul Conway's article refers to how libraries can cooperate with each other in data preservation programs, but this notion can be enlarged so as to comprise metadata. Indeed, libraries (and not only) can work together so as to ensure that certain metadata they are using will be available in the future as well.

Just as well, when we are discussing data storage and data storage devices, we can also discuss about metadata storage. As Paul Conway shows in his article, microfilm technology was a step forward in data storage. Further more, with the appearance of the digital age and of digital image technologies, storage devices took a new perspective. Administrative documents, cataloging records, specialized indexes, etc. all can be stored of digital devices.

As you can see from the lines above, I have chosen until now to regard metadata as a concept related to data and to describe how metadata can be preserved, referring to Paul Conway's article. However, now I will follow the classification used by Anne J. Gilliland-Swetland in her essay and describe how preservation can also be regarded as a particular metadata type. The author breaks up the concept of metadata into a few distinctive categories: administrative, descriptive, preservation, use, and technical metadata.

If we refer to preservation metadata, this is "related to the preservation management of information resources" and comprises documents such as documents of physical condition of resources, documentation of actions taken to preserve physical and digital versions of resources, etc. In this sense, metadata becomes related to preservation stricto sensum, as the total documentation related to it. Indeed, metadata related to preservation may document the preservation actions.

I have chosen to relate the two articles in two different ways. First, I have regarded metadata as another type of data and have talked about preserving and the preservation of metadata. However, as Anne J. Gilliland-Swetland points out in her article, we can also discuss the metadata of preservation. In this sense (as we have seen in the first article), preservation implies a whole set of rules, a cooperation between different institutions, a certain management of the technological devices on which data is stores, a whole information management and resource allocation.

All these are described in a set of documents that can be regarded as metadata for preservation. These documents will describe what measures have been taken for a proper preservation of books for example, how different libraries have worked together to ensure preservation (that is as set of cooperation rules), how the resources were managed and allocated, etc. In one sense, we have the preservation of metadata, with all the elements of preservation derived from this, in another, we have the metadata of preservation, that is, all the documents related to preservation.

Anne J. Gilliland - Swetland. Setting… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Metadata Basically Means "Data.  (2004, March 5).  Retrieved June 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/metadata-basically-means-data/8352114

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"Metadata Basically Means "Data."  Essaytown.com.  March 5, 2004.  Accessed June 20, 2019.