Hello, and welcome to “Hey, I Learned Something!”, where I admit that I didn’t know everything in the universe before this. Today on “Hey, I Learned Something!”:
Types of Metadata Standards or “Something, Chapter 1 of a textbook DOES tell you something.
- Data Structure Standards: What are your elements? You have to know what pieces of metadata you want to collect/store before you can do anything. If a standard (like Dublin Core) only gives you a list of elements to fill, it’s a Data Structure Standard.
- Data Content Standards: If, on the other hand, the standard gives you rules on how to fill in those elements, it’s a Data Content Standard. AACR2 is very much a Content Standard: abbreviate this, omit that. Note that, unless you have a complimentary standard to give structure, most data content standards are also data structure standards; you can’t tell something how to fill in a title element without implying that there is a title element.
- Data Value Standards: These go a little farther than Data Content Standards by limiting your element values to a specific list. LCSH is a consummate value standard; you are allowed to construct subject headings using it, but you don’t get to make up your own subjects and topical headings, even when constructing. If you have to keep asking “Does this exist in the standard?” before entering a value, then it’s a Value Standard.
- The Other One: Call it a data format, an interchange standard, an encoding standard, what have you. If you want to get your metadata to anyone else, you’ll probably use a computer, and you need to figure out how to get the metadata into a computer. MARC? XML? Whatever gets your data there.