Metadata Through the Ages

Metadata through the Ages: Evolving Descriptions and Cultural Significance In an increasingly digital world, how do we ensure that our information systems not only organise and manage data but also respect and represent diverse cultures accurately? This talk delves into exploring the evolution of metadata over the years, highlights the difference in contexts between the past and present methods, and examines the impact on the way we organise, retrieve, and understand information.

The presenters will briefly touch on the ancient roots of metadata, the evolution from analog to digital, and discuss the challenges of the digital era. The focus of the presentation is to depict the journey of Indigenous knowledges through metadata and share a case study of “University of Melbourne’s culturally aware metadata project” which CAVAL’s metadata team completed in 2023. The University of Melbourne’s metadata team, through local consultation with First Nations’ stakeholders, identified records for the project. The existing catalogue records were reviewed and any outdated and/or potentially harmful language was removed.

Through the project, CAVAL assessed and upgraded over 6,000 records to meet the University of Melbourne’s standards and timelines. These new specifications have been integrated into all the university’s future cataloguing projects with CAVAL, resulting in a more inclusive library catalogue with improved discoverability of First Nations materials for the users.

The project provided CAVAL staff with a valuable opportunity to build their practice around culturally appropriate resource description in an area where much work is required.

Lastly, we will touch on the First Nations Collection Description Guidelines emphasising that respectful cataloguing isn’t just best practice, but a fundamental duty for all institution.  

Lamis Sukkar

Shelf Ready Lead, CAVAL

Author Bio

Lamis has a Post Graduate Diploma in Information Services from RMIT and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with over 25 years ‘experience in Metadata and Shelf Ready Services. Lamis has worked in a variety of roles since joining the company in 1996 and currently leads the Resource Description and Shelf Ready Teams at CAVAL

Eva Varga

Library Systems Specialist, CAVAL

Author Bio

Eva has a bachelor’s degree in Library Science and a bachelor’s degree in Ethnography from Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest, Hungary. Eva has over 25 years’ experience in bibliographic metadata and library systems management. In her role as systems librarian Eva maintains quality and integrity of the Aleph 500 Library Management System, provides functional support, configuration, ongoing customisation and maintenance, training and documentation to facilitate efficient cataloguing and end-processing, and management of batch processes to support transfer of data between the Aleph system and a wide variety of customer library management systems.

Craig Quirke

IT Coordinator, CAVAL

Author Bio

Craig has worked within IT for 20+ years. Craig has spent the last 10 years at CAVAL, solving problems, and supporting cataloguers, library systems.