Metadata Creation Workflows

An RLG Partner working group that I facilitated has completed its analysis of the 134 responses from 67 RLG partners to a survey conducted in October-November 2008.  What We’ve Learned from the RLG Partners Metadata Creation Workflows Survey (173K/23 pp.) has just been released. Among the findings:

•    The working group had hoped that the survey would point to tools and resources for streamlining metadata workflows that might be shared within the RLG Partnership and that could be adapted locally. However, survey responses suggest that the tools being used are very localized, and no one tool kit is being used
•    Among those who create both MARC and non-MARC metadata, two-thirds used the same staff. Furthermore, 80% reported that creating non-MARC metadata was part of their “routine workflows.”
•    Although non-MARC metadata creation is considered “routine”, less than half have training programs for teaching staff how to create metadata.
•    A major hurdle that may need to be overcome is the assumption that people searching for resources will start with the local website, repository, catalog – instead of on the Web (where most people start, according to the research into discovery practices).
•    The working group was reassured that libraries are exposing their data in multiple ways. A relatively high percentage exposes metadata through union catalogs, crawlers like Google, Yahoo, MSN, and OAI-PMH harvesters.
•    The differences in staffing patterns for MARC and non-MARC metadata creation may indicate that creating non-MARC metadata in fact is not routine.
•    Slightly more than half of respondents reported that they do not have routine procedures for maintaining and updating non-MARC metadata. Is non-MARC metadata maintenance hindered by the lack of widely available tools or the distributed environment in which non-MARC metadata is created?

Respondents’ comments indicate that that this is still a fluid time in our profession and that organizations are in flux, too. Several noted that they were just developing tools or were in the process of restructuring their workflows. The working group identified several questions for possible future research.

We are grateful to all the RLG Partner staff who took the time to respond to the survey. On a personal note, I found it a true delight to work with: Leighann Ayers (U. Michigan), Beth Picknally Camden (U. Pennsylvania), Lisa German (Penn State), Peggy Johnson (U. Minnesota), and Caroline Miller (UCLA).  I hope you enjoy looking through the results for yourselves! Comments welcome!

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