So to be honest I’ve always been a little bit confused on the specific definition of metadata and what it does, but I think between this chapter this week and our guest speaker last week I’m finally understanding. Hooray! Metadata helps facilitate the retrieval of other pieces of data by library patrons or librarians, drastically cutting down the amount of time it might take to find something in a vast collection. The true artistry lies in the creation of these records, which is easier said than done and has a lot of the same issues along with other cataloging issues we’ve been discussing in class so far. (For example, the fact that there are several different standards out there and it’s difficult to choose the one “correct” one.)
I thought it was interesting that the chapter also touched upon the importance of metadata in internet resource retrieval, e-commerce, provenance, etc. It made it sound like search engines and other search algorithms are simply very advanced library cataloging systems that work in ones and zeroes instead of call numbers. Which makes the ‘the internet will make librarians obsolete’ argument sound pretty silly.