Fall Term 2019 Blog Post #2

Two big differences between the metadata used in libraries from the ones used in archives are the amount of detail used when cataloging the item(s) and where the metadata is published. For regular books that are circulated constantly, it is easier to describe the content of what the book is about. For example, when circulating books one can add in the book summary, subject headings, size of the item, and the number of pages of the book. Whereas the metadata used for archives may contain vague summaries about what certain item contains. It is not specific as to what each item is archived for there can be a plethora of media in one single container and too many items in it. Instead, the container of set items is measured while they are being processed by using cubic feet. The archivist/librarian does not include any detail on how many items are in there or how big each item is. 

Another big difference between metadata used in libraries versus archives would be the locations where the metadata is being published to. In our library, we use OCLC Connexion to find ways to catalog our books and publish our own catalogs for books. In a way, it is a more universal process that is gone through when searching for and finding ways to inform our patrons on what books are available where. A patron from another institution can even find a book at our library through the use of WorldCat, whereas trying to search for archives, it is harder for an outsider to come across something specific that they are looking for. In addition to this, the sources that archivists have are at times very specific for the institution. With this in mind, when these items are cataloged there is no set software that one can publish all this information to so that other institutions can use it for the items in archives are very unique and not many people will need to attain this information.  

Two of the readings that stood out to me the most would be “Algorithmic Bias in Library Discovery Systems” and “More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Archival Processing.” The portion of “Algorithmic Bias in Library Discovery Systems” that stood out to me the most would be when the writer brought up the potential biases on search results for certain topics. An example that I still keep in mind was when he would search the terms “stress in the workplace” and the Topic Explorer result would be relating to women in the workplace. This was very interesting to read because I had originally thought that search results were unbiased and computer automated but this article taught me otherwise and how to combat these biases. The thing that stood out to me about “More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Archival Processing” would be learning the way that data was gathered to analyze how much time people were taking to process archives. Librarians and archivists measure their items by cubic feet and then estimate how much time they spend on each of the items. In this article, it gave the reader some understanding of the amount of time it took a person to process a cubic foot of archives. This was interesting to me because I then got a sense of the difference it made to be not as detailed in the description for each archive for when there are fewer details given a librarian can focus on processing and cataloging more archives. 

When reading “Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS)” and “Overview of Archival Description,” it helped me understand to what level of specificity the items in archives should be described when cataloging them. The “Overview of Archival Description” article informed me of which topics to look for when looking into an archive. Also, when reading “About EZproxy,” it connected to what I was doing in E-Resources for I was checking if certain e-resources packages’ links on Catalyst were correctly linking up with the website that offered set journal or article. 

One thought on “Fall Term 2019 Blog Post #2

  1. Thanks for your post, Valerie! I enjoyed hearing about what you learned from archives about their description of resources. I’m excited for you to learn more about how metadata helps patrons from the user side in your work with reference next term.

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