May 8 Metadata Tools Forum Inspirations

We announced our May 8, 2008 RLG Programs Metadata Tools Forum earlier today. What inspired Roy, Merrilee, and me to put this together?

Participants loved the 2006 RLG Forum on the economics of description, better known as “More, Better, Faster, Cheaper”. In the feedback we received, many yearned that there be a followup event on the tools that would make it possible to create more, better, faster, cheaper metadata.

Then we were startled that there were so many tools cited in the 2007 RLG Descriptive Metadata Practices survey. I blogged about this at the time – over 260 tools were being used for creating, editing, and storing metadata among just 18 RLG partner institutions, and the most common tool was a “customized” one. Couldn’t we take advantage of the tools our partner developers were creating so there would be less need for people to customize or create their own?

RLG partner staff have told us that they had been to a number of workshops or expos where they could see a wonderful tool that worked well in one shop, but couldn’t really be used elsewhere. So when we put out an open invitation for people to share a tool to expedite the creation of descriptive metadata in December, we set as a primary criteria that the tools can be used by multiple institutions and do not require purchasing a new system—tools that rely on commonly available software most institutions would already have in-house or that are based on open source components.

And we wanted to bring together both developers and implementers. Tool developers could showcase their tools to others outside their own institution who could appreciate them and provide feedback. Implementers could get their hands on tools that might be useful in their own institutions and speak to tool developers directly. The forum provides an opportunity for both developers and implementers to discuss what more is needed in the way of tool development.

We are grateful to the Boston Public Library for hosting this event. We hope to see some of you blog-readers there in May!

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