by Stephanie Tolson, Business Partners Liaison (Published September 1, 2012)
Program: Impact of Technical Standards on Metadata and Controlled Vocabulary Projects
Date: Wednesday, July 18
Moderator: Janel Kinlaw, NPR
Speakers: Paulette Hasier, ARTI; Hannah Sommers, NPR; Marcie Zaharee, The MITRE Corporation
First, I must admit that I am no taxonomy expert. Second, I want to say I think it is important for our profession to continue to learn about taxonomies so that we can help enhance information retrieval within our organizations. Taxonomies provide structure and information professional can help provide structure to information than often is not in the library. The following summaries information I gleamed from the panel for this session. Read on to expand your knowledge.
Marie Zaharee from the non-profit Mitre Corporation described their taxonomy strategy and her experiences with metadata harmonization. Mitre operates five federally funded agencies. Mitre serves the Department of Defense, which requires the development of metadata based on visibility, manageability, accessibility, and understandability. Metadata is applied to images, reports, orders, etc. It is important to understand the context, format, and standards that govern the format of data sources. While Marie and her team identify attributes of metadata and communicate usage instructions, they face several challenges such as:
- Implementation does not insure usage,
- Cleaning up legacy data,
- Long term storage;
- Emerging standards and cost associated with adoption.
Paulette Hasien from the Department of Defense spoke about the creation of a knowledge map. She stressed the importance of asking questions before creating metadata. What are the goals? What are we going to do with the data? Paulette used a modified version of the Dublin Core metadata standard. She and her team moved from mining towards knowledge (standardization, customization of Dublin Core, validation – creating taxonomies and validating). She provided practical information such as:
- Methodology – she had permission to data mined research that was in the researcher’s shared folder,
- Process – she created an index, reported on progress, and made connections across research offices which created an additional discovery layer (made it possible to know who was working on like projects for future collaboration),
- Time – it took one staff member six months to complete this project ;
- ROI – uncovered and exploited duplicate research and discoveries enhanced collection development.
Hannah Sommers from NPR said that her organization had a good thesaurus and decided to make it better. She described her project in acts.
- Act I – The scene is NPR, which broadcasts 24/7 and serves the entire country. NPR’s library builds and distributes transcription to their reporters. They must capture information about the program’s topic, speakers, music, and date. The library has been more likely to implement a standard that affects distribution of data. The use of standards must be justified with business case and support NPR’s mission.
- Act II – Vocabulary – Who assigns this? The librarians, the digital media specialist and the content editor assign the terms. NPR had been using a current events thesaurus, but they found that the vocabulary was not the best.
- Act III – The Project (To make the taxonomy more usable) – the staff looked at term frequency counts within a two week time frame and adopted a standard that imposed a hierarchical structure.
- Act IV – What We Learned – Consult the community of users (it is the interpretation of the word that counts), the standard is not a substitute– we must have a plan, think big (do the least amount possible before getting stakeholder feedback); create.
Slides from the presentation are available here: http://www.sla.org/pdfs/sla2012/ImpactTechStandMetaContVocabProjPHasier.pdf