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Module 3: Introducing Metadata

Posted by arlekeno on July 24, 2012

You would have already come across the term ‘metadata’ in the readings. What is it? (Or more correctly, What are they?) Hider (2008, p.332) defines metadata as ‘a set of elements that describes an information resource’.

Makes pretty good sense to me, information about the information, e.g. The number of pages, year of production. I think it is general to meet all the possible needs. BUT to look up 3 other definitions.

First, Wikipedia, the first search result.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the page on metadata about Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Metadata.

The term metadata is an ambiguous term which is used for two fundamentally different concepts (types). Although the expression “data about data” is often used, it does not apply to both in the same way. Structural metadata, the design and specification of data structures, cannot be about data, because at design time the application contains no data. In this case the correct description would be “data about the containers of data”. Descriptive metadata, on the other hand, is about individual instances of application data, the data content. In this case, a useful description (resulting in a disambiguating neologism) would be “data about data content” or “content about content” thus metacontent. Descriptive, Guide and the National Information Standards Organization concept of administrative metadata are all subtypes of metacontent.[citation needed]

Ok, i would have gone with Data about Data, but the term Meta-content (though un-cited) appeals to me. Interesting that Libraries had it first.

Anyway, now to a more reliable and relevant resource. The National Library of Australia.


What is metadata? My impression, from a number of recent meetings which I have attended, is that the concept is proving difficult to define with clarity. The Macquarie Dictionary defines the prefix “meta-” as meaning “among”, “together with”, “after” or “behind”. That suggests the idea of a “fellow traveller”: that metadata is not fully fledged data, but it is a kind of fellow-traveller with data, supporting it from the sidelines. My definition is that “an element of metadata describes an information resource, or helps provide access to an information resource”. A collection of such metadata elements may describe one or many information resources.

It is inherent in the concept of metadata that there is an association of some kind between the metadata and the information resource which it describes. For example, a library catalogue record is a collection of metadata elements, linked to the book or other item in the library collection through the call number. Information stored in the “META” field of an HTML Web page is metadata, associated with the information resource by being embedded within it. The indexing data held by Web crawlers is also metadata (though not very good metadata) – linked to the information resource through the URL.

Metadata can be an information resource in its own right. For example, a review of a film – which on one level is a piece of metadata related to the film – is, on another level, a literary work with its own author and perhaps its own intellectual property constraints.

Now this is the Professional view… 1) its not clear! 2) its not data but hangs out with Data (like its posse?) 3) it can be useful information in its own right.  You will notice I extended this example to talk of the embedded data in Web pages. just to keep us up to date.

Finally, from the Australian National Data Service.

Who needs to know this?

This is a general introduction which is likely to be of interest to researchers, their support staff, data centre and repository staff and research administrators.


The term metadata refers to information used to describe items and groups of items. It is data about data. It can be used to describe physical items as well as digital items (files, documents, images, datasets, etc.). A library catalogue, for example, is made up of metadata describing the books, journals and other items held by the library. The File Properties for a word processing document is a rudimentary (and imperfect) metadata record.

Item level metadata is used to describe a single object such as a photograph: who took the photograph, who is in it, the date it was taken, the place it was taken, the type of camera used to take the photograph, and so on.

Collection level metadata is used to describe an aggregation of objects such as the photo album (or CD-ROM or file folder) that contains a group of photographs: the size of the collection, who took the photographs (there may be more than one person), the time period over which the photographs were taken, and so on. Some of these attributes, such as ‘Title’ may be the same as those used to describe an individual photograph.

Metadata adds value to documents or images. For scientific data, metadata is even more important because it provides the context needed to make sense of what would otherwise be a collection of random numbers.

Types of metadata

The metadata elements used to describe either an item or a collection can serve different purposes. Some examples include:

  • Descriptive metadata, such as the name of the photographer, the subject of the photograph, the date and time that the photograph was taken;
  • Technical metadata, such as the type of camera used, the file format in which the photograph is stored, the exposure time and dimensions of the photograph, and so on;
  • Access or rights metadata, defining who is allowed to view to this photograph and under what conditions; and
  • Preservation metadata, which allows a digital preservation expert to keep track of actions taken to preserve or sustain the photograph for later access and use.

This is a good one because of the detail. I like that it says Metadata adds value to data. So we can make sense of it.

What do these 3 definitions have in common? They all say its data about data. I think the last one says it best by saying it adds value.

Although the current version of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (the second edition, 2002 revision) includes guidance for cataloguing digital material, many librarians think that it does not do so very effectively.

Think back, for a moment, to the reasons for wanting to organise information. We do it so that we can provide access. Here’s a relevant quote about why we need metadata:

Metadata is crucial to searching. If searching is, today, largely a matter of matching query words with words in the text of articles, then anything that makes the matching process easier or more standardized is bound to improve the process. Metadata is expected to improve matching by standardizing the structure and content of indexing or cataloging information. (Jessica Milstead & Susan Feldman, ‘Metadata: Cataloging by Any Other Name …’, Online, January 1999 .)

Onwards to Dublin Core

Levels of the standard

The Dublin Core standard includes two levels — Simple and Qualified. Simple Dublin Core comprises 15 elements; Qualified Dublin Core includes three additional elements;— Audience, Provenance and RightsHolder;— as well as a group of element refinements, also called qualifiers, that refine the semantics of the elements in ways that may be useful in resource discovery.

[edit] Simple Dublin Core

The Simple Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (DCMES) consists of 15 metadata elements:[2] (from Wiki)

  1. Title
  2. Creator
  3. Subject
  4. Description
  5. Publisher
  6. Contributor
  7. Date
  8. Type
  9. Format
  10. Identifier
  11. Source
  12. Language
  13. Relation
  14. Coverage
  15. Rights

Each Dublin Core element is optional and may be repeated. The DCMI has established standard ways to refine elements and encourage the use of encoding and vocabulary schemes. There is no prescribed order in Dublin Core for presenting or using the elements.

From the notes :

It is important to note that Dublin Core metadata is based on four principles:

  • Simplicity – DC was designed to be applied by the people who create the information resources, rather than by information professionals.
  • Semantic interoperability – DC must be useable in different disciplines, and not be limited to any one subject area or group of subjects.
  • International consensus – because the internet operates across national boundaries, DC is developed by an international, interdisciplinary group.
  • Extensibility – DC is designed to be flexible so that it can be built on if required by specialist applications.

And some examples of what it all looks like in Action.



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Posted by arlekeno on July 18, 2012

Reading From Chapter 14 of  “Organising Knowledge in a Global Society (Princilpes and practices of libraries and information centres)” Revised Edition 2008 By Philip Hider with Ross Harvey…. Local Systems and OPACS.

An Integrated Library system (ILS) Definition pg 277

  • An ILS relies on the same data in a single database to provide four basic functions (aquisitions, cataloguing, circulation, and online public access catalogue).
  • The Database comprises bibliographic data (e.g., cataloguing records) as well as other data neccesary to carry out library-related functions (e.g. borrower files for circulation purposes)

The effectiveness of all the modules will stand or fall on factors such as the quality of the records in it and its ease of use.

I like this on OPAC T; the Goal of teh 4th Generation OPAC is to get patrons to prefer a library search to google… That is a BIG CALL!  Google has more money than libraries, but we need to this, because poor search skills leads to little success, leads to google.

Ok, just read chapter 14, now to read Chapter 8 on Controlled Vocabulary, I think here of the SCIS subject headings. Another 30 pages and references to previous chapters the Modules have not asked us to read yet…. Hmm, I think I will call it quits for a while.

A lot of talk about thesauri, and a lot of acronyms.

Activity time, .. oops, server is overloaded… oh well, shall have to wait till tomorrow I guess.

Ok, on now, after a day break, Playing around with it all.

Here’s a brief explanation of why these differences in search results using different internet search engines occur.

First, you need to know about the difference between search engines and directories.

  • Search enginesuse software called web crawlers to gather words from sources such as web page titles and site content. These words are compiled into indexes. Users search the results located by the web crawlers by searching the indexes.
  • Directories of descriptions of websites are compiled from lists of sites reviewed by editors. Users search these descriptions. Generally speaking, a well-designed site with extensive and original content is more likely to be listed in directories. (Google is famous for applying another major criterion: the extent to which pages are linked from other websites.)
  • Search engine softwaresifts through the millions of pages recorded in the index, finding matches and ranking these matches in order of relevance. This relevance ranking is determined in two main ways: by position of the words, and by their frequency.
  • Position: keywords appearing in the title of a web page, or in the first few paragraphs of text, are considered to be more relevant to the topic than words appearing in other positions on the page.
  • Frequency: keywords which appear more frequently in a web page are considered to be more relevant than other words, and so the web pages which contain them are considered more relevant.


Search engine for songs. and for pictures Virtual 24.. this is more like a News Magazine than a museum website to me.



The Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE provides information and support to digital library developers worldwide. It is also an excellent starting point for looking at a range of digital libraries. Select several digital libraries of interest to you. Browse through them, thinking about these questions as you go:

  • Is this a ‘library’ in the traditional sense of the word?
  • What categories of materials (e.g. archival material, museum objects, library material) does it provide access to? SCIS web page. ( something I am familiar with)

Anyway, I am off to read Chapter one of the text, and then I will up to date for the week, FINALLY!



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Why I lose faith in Educational Politics. Taken from the HUB

Posted by arlekeno on February 29, 2012

This Article is a direct copy and paste from the HUB.


School Based Management, the political imperative destroying public education


Where did the notion of a “Self-Managed School (SMS)” or School Based Management or Locally Empowered Schools begin? Professor John Smyth, Flinders University, gives us a lead.

In a 1999 interview by Nick Davies of The Guardian with Lord Baker, the Secretary of State for Education responsible for bringing in the SMS under Margaret Thatcher in England in the 1980s, the true intent behind the SMS was startlingly revealed. According to Davies, Baker laughingly admitted in the interview that the SMS policy (and its close relatives, standardised assessment, league tables, national curriculum, parental choice, and the Office for Standards in Education [Ofsted]), were all developed for entirely political reasons: the ‘real agenda was to punish the teacher unions and to kill off the local educational authorities; secretly the big master plan was to wipe out comprehensive schools by stealth’ (pp. 113-4).

From John Smyth, “The disaster of the ‘self-managing school’ genesis, trajectory, undisclosed agenda, and effects” in Journal of Educational Administration and History 43:2, Apr. 2011, pp. 95-117. quoting Nick Davies, “Political Coup Bred Educational Disaster,” The Guardian, September 16, 1999, P. 1.

And where does it end? With the withering away of the low SES schools, as middle class parents with the skills to lobby for better schooling move their children to higher SES, selective and private schools. It ends in increasing division between social, racial and religious groups, principals spending valuable time on PR and image making, reduced staffing, and decision-making based on economics instead of pedagogy.

Has SBM improved student achievement? There has been no research to demonstrate this. “What is staggering,” says Smyth, ” is the absence of any evidence showing that dismantling public schools, in the manner that has occurred in the countries mentioned, actually produces any better learning for students” (p.109).

Real improvements are made through changes in the classroom, through the relationships between students and teachers, and through offering the best teaching and learning to every student.

As Smyth states, “Measures that have made schools self-managing through creating educational markets and that have been necessary to sustain that ideology (choice, school selection, baseline assessment, Ofsted inspections in England, league tables, naming and shaming, national assessment, and others) are starting to become unravelled through the social polarisation produced as a consequence of some schools attracting bright students and funding, and the rest being left behind in struggling circumstances” (p.115).

If we believe in public education and in social equity and a democratic society, it is time to question what we are doing in our schools and implement the best educational and classroom practices, not the best in marketing. Consider the outstanding Finnish model, where every school offers the best to every child, resulting in top marks in literacy and learning. Time to turn this political juggernaut around and use what we already know about the best in teaching to give our students the best learning.

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Developing a Personal learning Network. Scan magazine. Vol 30, No 4, Nov 2011.

Posted by arlekeno on January 5, 2012

I have been hearing ( well reading) a lot about PLNs, especially in relationship to being part of web 3.0. So I thought I would have a quick look at some Lit on it. Am going from Scan Magazine, the NSW DEC wonderful magazine. pg 19. By Ruth Buchanan.

What is a PLN?

A personal learning network ( PLN) is a collection of people with whom you engage and share information. It is an essential part of any teachers toolkit. Thanks to the possibilities of connection and communication enabled by the internet, a 21st century teachers’s PLN can be worldwide, and a constant source of information and interaction 24/7.

Ok, good start to an article, finally a clear definition. A PLN is what I would call just chatting about work with others in the field, e.g. I was talking to a teacher in Virginia last week about using google docs in class. And we all have these networks at work. 

This does raise a question for me though, does this mean teachers are now part of the students PLN? 

Anyway, lists of examples, all of which many teachers are already using.

Books and journals (e.g. Scan)
Professional organisations (e.g. ASLA, Children’s Book, Council of Australia)
DEC information sources (e.g. Board of Studies NSW, School Libraries & Information Literacy, TaLe)
Newspapers (print & online, local, national & international)
Broadcast media (radio, television)
Blogs (from individuals, organisations & enterprises)
Email & listservs (professional interaction e.g. NSWtl, OZtl)
Organisational/commercial emailing lists (e.g. nonprofit, newspapers & other businesses)
Social bookmarking (e.g. Delicious, CURLS, Diigo)
Social networking (e.g. Edmodo, Facebook, LinkedIn)
Microblogging (e.g. Twitter, Maang)
Audio sources (e.g. podcasts)
Sites to share and work with images (e.g. Flickr, GlogsterEDU)
Wikis (general & specialist)
Video sources (e.g. YouTube, TeacherTube, videoconferencing)
Virtual worlds (e.g. Second life)
People in my school
People I’ve met personally who work beyond my school gate
People I’ve connected with online through networks, mailing lists, social media, etc.)


Now Ruth says the PLN can help us Filter the best information up. ( I mean up rather than out because with the internet overload there was an article I read yesterday which said we filter information up now, instead of out… by this I mean rather than in the old days when lousy stuff was not published, or put in libraries if it was, nowadays with everything published, we need to filter up, find the best examples and tell others…. I wish I could remember which reading it was.. damnit)

I also find in interesting that my PLN can include people I don’t know and will never meet, e.g. tweets I follow.


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Study Visit 1. Sydney

Posted by arlekeno on April 7, 2011

I have just been mailed my programme for the study visit section of my uni course.

Tuesday: 9am – 2:30 State Library of NSW (may do lunch at the Nippon Club).

Wednesday:  Morning – 10am -noon NSW Parliment Library   Afternoon:Australian.Institute of management LIbrary 215 Pacfic HWY Nth Sydney

Thursday: State Records of NSW, GLobe St The Rocks,  Afternoon: St Andrews 474 Kent St.

Friday: UTS Library, CNR Circular Quay and Ultio Rd Haymarket. followed by the closing session.

I only missed out on one of my choices so all up I am pretty happy. I have a place to stay arranged and a tickt to the Opera House for the weekend, in short, all is good.

At School things are going well. I am teaching the staff new things and vice versa, 2 days to go. I may be giving up a room in the library for a time out space, but I can live with that.

Looking at the NSW list serve, learning a lot of new things. Looking forward to Mantle, being published.

In other news, What have I done at my new job?

1) I have Completed the first Stocktake of websites done at the school

2) I have taught the staff how to use MY LIBRARY to access websites ( and how to use SCAN magazine to ask me to add websites).

3) I have Started the Premier’s Reading Challenge ( NSW) at my school ( thanks to the library list serve help etc) Got all the books out and started teaching kids to logon.

4) Tired to teach Website evaluation… I am currently on about version 3 of that lesson plan, I think I will have to dumb it down to year 4 level for some. (think I will use this link )

5) Undertaken Quality teacher training ( national partnership) and attended library support group meetings.

6) Learned a payment system, been told that was wrong, learned a new one, told that was wrong and then told a third ( but am sticking with second! Write this information down in the handbook people!)

7) Started a new method of recording TV shows for staff ( and hopefully impressed the Head Teacher).

Will try to get Module 2 done by tomorrow 😀

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2011, New Job, New School, PORTFOLIO

Posted by arlekeno on March 16, 2011

Ok, I am falling way behind on my portfolio.
I am meant to be organising a prac and a visit, which I am trying to do, and

get a portfolio together, which is tricky considering at my new job I am working 30% over the award for no extra pay or thanks ( I am on a temporary contract) and my direct supervisor has said that

1) she knows very little about what goes on in a library.

2) The what I do is not real teaching

3) told me a lot of things I know are wrong.

So, fun term for me, not sure I will stay the semester if they decide to make my life harder than already.

Will get to uni at some stage.

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Topic 8. Web 2.0 and the school library.

Posted by arlekeno on September 21, 2010

A web 2.o tutorial video stuff.

Some T.L. Blogs.

  • James Herring’s Blog
  • Judy O’Connell’s HeyJude
  • Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog
  • David Warlick’s 2 Cents Worth

    In other news.

    I got a credit for my first assignment for the semester, which means I need 30/70 to pass the course. Woo Hoo!

    Go work on pathfinders! I am thinking Life and Times of Shaksper. For examples I will look at

    along with SCAN magazine and my library catalogue.

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    Part 2: The provision of information and reference services to the school community.

    Posted by arlekeno on September 3, 2010

    Topic 5: Information Services to staff and students.

    What information needs of a Teacher can be met by a T.L.?

    information on curriculum planning
    information on a specific subject area (to keep up to date)
    information on current developments in teaching
    information on the use of ICT in the curriculum
    information on information literacy
    information on relevant print and electronic resources for learning and teaching in their subject area
    information on what the teacher librarian can do for them

    In my school I suspect the 3 most important would be:

    1. information on what the teacher librarian can do for them
    2. information on relevant print and electronic resources for learning and teaching in their subject area
    3. information on a specific subject area (to keep up to date)

     How to evaluate services we offer to staff and students.

    The reference interview.

    Many reference questions, when first put to a librarian, will be vague and unformed. Before directing the user to the likely source of information to satisfy his/her apparent need, the teacher librarian should find out:

    • what information is really required
    • how much information is required
    • at what level.

    Guidelines for library self-evaluation at:


    Valenza on Pathfinders.

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    Conclusion; Fullan Chap 7.

    Posted by arlekeno on October 20, 2009

    We need to learn over time, have leaders at all levels, and the mark of a good leader is how many leaders they leave behind.

    I like this idea of negative capability, to wait in the face of incomprehension. its how I do my essays 😀

    Slow knowing appeals to me, absorb over a long period and make lots of small changes. Though I wonder if I often go off as soon as I understand a point.

    LEARNING IN CONTEXT! I agree completely, especially in teaching which I think should be an apprenticeship, not just a degree.

    I do agree training is essential for keeping teacher standards high. I would also say that classroom teachers, not just principals should do inter-class visits and see how other teachers teach within in their own school, having worked as a casual, Special needs support teacher and a Librarian I have been able to see a lot of different methods of teaching.PRIVACY OF PRACTICE PRODUCES ISOLATION; ISOLATION IS THE ENEMY OF IMPROVEMENT (pg195). modeling and mentoring ARE crucial.

    Pg 201 sounds interesting. The level of complexity of society has exceeded the complexity of any one person in it. Does this mean we can’t cope in the modern world on our own? It would explain why we need more leaders.

    Well, that is the completion of all readings and now the only thing to do is finish my last assignment for the year.  Gxis la revido mia amikoj.

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    Strategic planning.

    Posted by arlekeno on October 11, 2009

    (R14p171) Davies, BJ & Davies, B 2005, “The strategic dimensions of leadership”.

    Strategic leaders have the organizational ability to:

    • Be strategically oriented; See the big picture as well as what is going on in the present. BUT must strategy must be developed with others, no going it alone.
    • Translate strategy into action; awakening, envisioning, rearchitecturing.
    • Align people and organizations; Set goals, create meaning, communicate!
    • Determine effective strategic intervention points;
    • Develop strategic capabilities.

    Strategic leaders have the personal characteristics which display:

    • Dissatisfaction or restlessness with the present; I KNOW THIS FEELING!
    • Absorptive capacity;
    • Adaptive capacity;
    • Leadership wisdom.

    (R15p183) Welch, L. 2006 “Groundwork: The situation Analysis”, in 51 weeks: A marketing handbook for librarians, Centre for information studies.  Wagga Wagga, NSW p25/43

    Analyse the here and now. Pretty obvious but important. SWOT. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

    Thinking about this for my library is a challenge. I guess we do all the things a library should do well, but people still search the less reliable internet for information over books? I guess that is where we need to promote ourselves… An anti-internet campaign! 😛

    A good mission statement can be good? Only to make us think about what we should already be thinking about. A bad mission statement makes us look like idiots… Can you tell I read too many DILBERT cartoons?

    Recognition of Library performance depends on the context of the goals of the parent organisation (pg188/29).  I doubt too many people within the parent organisation think of the library unless they want to use its resources for something else ( CYNIC!) in which case doing our jobs according to the parent ogranisation of the parent organisation becomes difficult.

    What do our customers/students need? (not what we think they should want/need).

    These proformas are very appealing. I wish to use them!

    (R16p203) Beare, H 2001 “Building a manifesto for the school as a provider”, In CREATING THE FUTURE SCHOOL, Routledge/Falmer, London, pp113/27

    This Charter school movement has always been vague to me. Hopefully this article will clear things up. Also I did not know about the move in Vic to let schools develop their own charter.

    Ok, the explanation of what a CHARTER is on pg 206  as relating to schools make sense, as a school, we are expected to provide this, and within this area we have these rights/responsibilities, outside of which we don’t. For a school it is.

    1. What the school is and what it is not;
    2. What the school hopes to achieve, especially as learning outcomes for its students, within a certain time frame; and
    3. How it intends to organise and use its resources to achieve those outcomes.

    I wonder if this would work on a school to school basis in NSW. In the school you can do this and not have to worry about the local board. I think a lot of schools would cut programmes such as art and music, if USA movies are anything to go by. Ah, Mr Hollands Opus, a great flick. HOWEVER, if anything we are going the other way in Australia, look at the plan for a National curriculum.

    OOhh, mission statements should not be more than 25 words!I like that. I shall give it a go. My libraries mission statement is to

    Provide students a place to  study, socialise and enjoy learning, with access to information specialists and up to date information.

    Not a bad attempt, only 20 words.I wonder if I should change Place, to Safe Environment.

    Looking at Fitzroy North’s Point one from its charter (p214/123) It mentions self-esteem and growth. Lets see Merit based pay address that!

    (R17p219) Balnaves, PA 1998, Appendix C, In Strategic planning guide for self managing schools. NCISA, Deakin, ACT, pp. 76-88

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