Metadata · 15
sponsored by professional organizations such as
IFLA, ALA (ALCTS, LITA), ARL, and ASIS&T pro-
vide ample programs and opportunities for meta-
data staff. The annual Dublin Core conferences
bring together leading metadata researchers and
professionals from around the world. Metadata is
a frequently discussed topic at digital libraries con-
ferences including the Joint Conference on Digital
Libraries, Digital Library Federation Forums, and
International Conferences on Open Repositories.
OCLC regional networks, regional library associa-
tions, and consortia provide educational opportu-
nities for staff at all levels.
Metadata Librarian Qualifications and
Responsibilities
Forty-eight of the responding libraries have at
least one metadata librarian position; 42 of these
require an MLS degree. Knowledge of emerging
metadata standards and experience with MARC
cataloging are required by all but a few libraries.
Soft skills such as communication skills, problem-
solving skills, and ability to work cooperatively
and independently are also required by over 70%
of respondents. About one third of the responding
libraries require advanced knowledge of metadata
crosswalks, interoperability, and experience with
integrated library systems. Experience with insti-
tutional repositories and digital content manage-
ment systems, and knowledge of XML and OAI are
listed as desirable qualifications by about half of
the respondents.
The survey responses indicate that at most of the
responding institutions, the metadata librarian
plays a leadership role in metadata activities while
performing the following functions: consulting on
metadata options in terms of metadata standards;
working with systems personnel, subject special-
ists, project partners, and even end-users on meta-
data-related issues; documenting metadata policies,
procedures, and guidelines; and training staff.
Metadata Challenges
The survey respondents were asked to list the top
three metadata challenges facing their libraries.
Many respondents face the challenge of imple-
menting organizational changes. Typical com-
ments identified the challenges of “creating the
right internal organization for providing metadata
services,” “developing/accommodating workflow
for metadata creation,” “developing workflow be-
tween departments,” and “managing projects that
cross so many departments/divisions of the librar-
ies and that involve other units across campus.”
The proliferation of emerging standards poses the
challenges of reaching decisions on metadata stan-
dards to use for various projects, as well as imple-
menting consistent standards and tools and keeping
up-to-date on emerging standards. Consequently,
interoperability becomes the most critical issue.
Survey respondents commented on the lack of
“system-wide infrastructure,” the lack of “system
interoperability,” and the difficulty of “interoperat-
ing existing online collections with new collections
which are supported by other platforms,” and the
“cost and difficulty of creating good, consistent
metadata across multiple formats and implemen-
tation systems.”
Another common challenge is the lack of staff and
resources for metadata creation and management.
Likewise, some libraries had difficulties “finding
competent people to do specific tasks,” “training
new personnel,” and “retaining personnel once
trained.” Quite a few respondents urged automat-
ing metadata creation as much as possible.
Other challenges that survey respondents men-
tioned include authority control, preservation of
metadata along with digital objects, sustainability
and scalability of metadata creation, and “meeting
increasing demand for metadata skills and support
throughout the library.”
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