Metadata standards are necessary for digital collections and have many other uses. As Sarah Higgins states “Metadata is the backbone of digital curation”(Higgins,2007). If this is the case then standards are the backbone to metadata. Without metadata many digital repositories would not function. Digital curation would have little use as we would have no means to describe collections. Metadata at first glance is data about data but it provides so much more than this. It allows us to describe contexts, make connection between collections and objects. Without it resources wouldn’t even be retrievable. Metadata’s strength is that it is both human and machine readable but this can also be its fault. The elements within languages like xml do not have any inherent naming conventions. This means that anyone can construct their own naming convention and it will be machine readable. Standards are needed to create a cohesive sense to metadata. Standards make it so different applications and processes can work together.
Metadata standards go a long way in delaying “information entropy”. This has a wider definition in information theory but for this blog we will simplify it to the natural tendency for information to be lost over time. When standards are not kept data gets lost and becomes unavailable. Increasing the rate of information entropy. Strong standards can slow “natural tendency of data to degrade”(Vacratot, 2009) so that it is accessible over time. Standards help maintain data for future use in this sense. This is extremely important for schemas involving curation as what would be the point of curating if the information was lost in the near future. Standards arose over a need for quality and stability. Raw data encoded with a strong metadata standard will be structured and easier to work with. One example of such a scheme is the Dublin core metadata standard which is one of the most used standards on the web. This standard was created so metadata for webpages can be easily understood and implemented mostly for search and retrieval. Standards for metadata keep a web standard. Google without meta tags would not be able to retrieve information as effectively. There are many examples where the strength and necessity of standards are shown.
While stating the previous there is still disagreement and lack of corporation in implementing standards. This can often be due standards not being updated with current technologies like the EXIF standards and digital photography (queensu.ca, 2016). Standards will need to be maintained and updated to relevancy in order to continue the job they do. Metadata standards are important as they give cohesive communal structure for cooperation and future proofing.
Higgins. Sarah. What are Metadata Standards. http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/briefing-papers/standards-watch-papers/what-are-metadata-standards. Accessed 30th October 2016
Unknown Author. Problems with current Metadata Standards http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/standards.html Accessed 30th October 2016
Vacratot, Kovacs-Lang. Metadata and their Importance to Information Technology.http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/AC665E/ac665e08.htm .Accessed 30th October 2016