Yet more social metadata for LAMs

Today we released Social Metadata for Libraries, Archives, and Museums, Part 3: Recommendations and Readings. This is the last in a series of three reports a 21-member Social Metadata Working Group from five countries produced as the result of our research in 2009 and 2010.

The cultural heritage organizations in the OCLC Research Library Partnership have been eager to expand their reach into user communities and to take advantage of users’ expertise to enrich their descriptive metadata. Social metadata—content contributed by users—is evolving as a way to both augment and recontexutalize the content and metadata created by LAMs.

Our first report, Social Metadata for Libraries, Archives, and Museums, Part 1: Site Reviews, provides an environmental scan of sites and third-party hosted social media sites relevant to libraries, archives, and museums. We noted which social media features each site supported, such as tagging, comments, reviews, images, videos, ratings, recommendations, lists, links to related articles, etc.

Our second report, Social Metadata for Libraries, Archives, and Museums, Part 2: Survey Analysis, analyzed the results from a social metadata survey of site managers conducted from October to November 2009. Forty percent of the responses came from outside the United States. More than 70 percent had been offering social media features for two years or less. The vast majority of respondents considered their sites to be successful.

This third report provides eighteen recommendations and an annotated list of all the resources the working group consulted. The key message: “We believe it is riskier to do nothing and become irrelevant to your user communities than to start using social media features.” Among our recommendations:

  • Establish clear objectives and determine what metrics you need to measure success.
  • Leverage the enthusiasm of your user communities to contribute.
  • Look at other sites similar to your own that are already using social media features successfully before you start.
  • Consider using third-party hosted social media sites rather than creating your own.

All three reports total over 300 pages, so we’ve also prepared a much shorter Executive Summary with the highlights from all three reports.

The reports and the recording of our 9 March 2012 Webinar are all available here. We look forward to hearing your feedback – perhaps on our Social Metadata for LAMs Facebook page?

As with many OCLC Research publications, this report was written to help meet the needs of the OCLC Research Library Partnership. The Partnership not only inspires but also underwrites this type of work, so many thanks to the institutions who both contribute to and support our work!




Karen Smith-Yoshimura, senior program officer, works on topics related to creating and managing metadata with a focus on large research libraries and multilingual requirements.