The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) continues its Primer Series with the publication of Understanding Metadata. This comprehensive overview of information about an item's creation, name, topic, features, and more updates NISO's 2004 advice on the subject and follows on the Research Data Management Primer published in 2015. An additional such work, Linked Data for Cultural Institutions, is forthcoming, and more guides will be published periodically.
"It's crucial for NISO to build understanding of technical issues at various levels and for various audiences," says NISO Executive Director Todd Carpenter. "Our Primers are therefore written to provide guidance for expert information managers who are already working with metadata as well as for professionals who are less familiar with information exchange issues. NISO values the opportunity to offer this guidance," Carpenter continues, "because in a digital world, information about content can often be more important than the content itself. Without good metadata, information effectively disappears."
The Primer, authored by Jenn Riley, Associate Dean, Digital Initiatives, McGill University Library, demystifies a type of information that is ubiquitous in our lives but that can be challenging to produce, store, and understand. Coverage includes topics such as metadata types, standardization, and use in the cultural heritage sector and in the broader world. The Primer is accompanied by plentiful examples of metadata at work.
"I am honored to have been asked to update Understanding Metadata, a NISO resource that has been helpful to me throughout my career, when learning about metadata and teaching others about it," says Riley. "Much has changed in the area of cultural heritage metadata since the original publication of this resource in 2004. I hope that the introduction of some new concepts into the Primer, such as Linked Data, is useful to our community for many years to come."
The NISO Primer Understanding Metadata, like its series companions, is licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons-BY-NC 4.0 license. It is available as a free download from the NISO website at: https://www.niso.org/publications/understanding-metadata-2017.
NISO fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of knowledge. NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of an information standard. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). More information about NISO is available on its website: http://www.niso.org.