Kinsey and the Wasps: Mapping a Journey
Part Seven: Moving Parts #2, in Which We Enter the Metadata Maze
This was my first time creating metadata for an online digital collection, so I needed a lot of help. Luckily, I work in a building where humans with incredible amounts of highly specialized knowledge are a couple floors away at most. My internship supervisor Theresa had done this type of work before, and her first step was to get everyone into the same room who would need a say in the metadata decisions. Theresa and I had met beforehand to go over the many possible metadata fields available for Image Collections Online, and to develop a basic idea of which ones would be helpful to different user demographics (e.g., entomology types, map researchers, etc.). We then met with Jennifer Liss and Kara Alexander, who, in their cataloging and online digital collections capacities respectively, have a deeper understanding of which fields are required for catalogers, programmers, and for legal reasons (copyright, use statement, etc.). In addition, they had really helpful advice about structuring the data, using controlled vocabularies, and best practices for discoverability. Having concluded our meeting, I created a spreadsheet containing the proposed final set of metadata fields with an explanation of what specific information from the maps would fill each one. If the information required did not come directly from the maps themselves (e.g., rights information), I noted where we would look to get it.
I shared the spreadsheet with Theresa, Jennifer, and Kara, and once they all gave feedback and a thumbs up, the information was handed over to Kara, so she could work with the programmers to customize the fields. In the meantime, the actual digital collection (still empty), had been created and was waiting for content. In the forthcoming installment, I will give a few details about the online collection itself. Tune in next time!
Heather Sloan is an ILS Master’s student with a specialization in Digital Humanities. She is a full-time staff member in the Media Services and Government Information, Maps & Microform Services (GIMMS) departments of Herman B Wells Library. She has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Percussion Performance from SUNY Stony Brook, and her interests include Caribbean folkloric music, Latin music, record collecting, and design in popular culture. Her Digital Humanities work focuses on intersections between digital and humanitarian mapping, the environment, and arts advocacy. She is a 2019-2020 HASTAC Scholar.