B  U L  L E  T I  N

of the American Society for Information Science and Technology       Vol. 29, No. 2      December/January  2003

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Special Section

Mining the Metadata Quarries
by Stuart A. Sutton, Guest Editor

Stuart Sutton is an associate professor in the Information School of the University of Washington. He is co-chair of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative Education Working Group and serves on the initiative's advisory and usage boards. He can be reached at sasutton@u.washington.edu.

It is a foregone conclusion that metadata describing digital resources in a globally networked environment will be a bedrock for the Semantic Web. The four articles in the special section of this issue of the Bulletin touch on a few of the threads in metadata research, development and deployment. While for many the notion of metadata is a simple one and hardly new, the proliferation in a globally networked environment of metadata schemas expressing the needs of discourse and practice communities as well as organizations throughout the private and public sectors taxes our understandings of semantic interoperability. Research and development cover many different areas including interoperability among complex schema and value spaces; application profiles that permit the wedding of metadata statements from disparate schemas through network-accessible schema registry services; and metadata support tools. In this issue we look at a sample of current work.

Rebecca Guenther and Sally McCallum examine the rationale and the basic architecture of the Metadata Object and Description Schema (MODS) and the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS). MODS is intended as a bridge between the descriptively rich MARC 21 metadata and terse metadata schema such as the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set. The authors describe the basic features of MODS, its prospective users and current experimentation in its use. METS is an XML-based schema that provides a means for packaging, or pointing to, descriptive, administrative, structural, rights and behavioral metadata for digital resources. METS supports the seamless flow of metadata and electronic resources between networked systems.

Jane Greenberg's article defines a framework for identifying and examining processes of metadata generation, the tools required for that generation and the categories of metadata creators human and automatic. In addition to providing class definitions for the various entities in her metadata generation framework, Greenberg provides references to examples of metadata generation tools and research and development projects. The article includes a brief description of the Metadata Generation Research Project at the University of North Carolina studying the entities in the framework and developing protocols for collaborations in its various processes.

The final two articles focus on value space problems. Joseph Tennis describes a pilot study that explores the interoperability problem faced by multiple metadata projects making statements by means of disparate controlled vocabularies. The goal of the study is to test a methodology for developing a switching language using card sorts, cluster analysis and talk-aloud protocols. Wang Jun's article discusses the tools, architecture and the implementation of an experimental system to support knowledge management. He describes development of a concept network consisting of nodes and edges developed from the Chinese Classification and Thesaurus, an integrated product widely used in Chinese libraries, to which metadata records are bound. Research includes expanding and customizing the concept network using information from the titles from the bibliographic records. The test database is in computer science.

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