Documenting Digital Collections: Surveying Metadata Standards Used by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library System

by Joyner, Jennifer

Abstract (Summary)
This master’s paper reports on a survey that gathered data on the current state of metadata creation within digital collections at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) library system. The research was conducted in response to a request by the Metadata Caucus, a working group of librarians responsible for overseeing metadata creation for digital collections in the UNC-Chapel Hill library system. This survey was distributed to librarians and information professionals associated with digital collections at the UNC-CH library system. The following three overriding questions guided the study design: (1) What metadata standards are librarians using when creating digital collections?; (2) How did the librarians make these decisions regarding metadata creation?; and (3) What, if any, changes are the librarians considering regarding metadata creation and usage?

The paper summarizes background research and presents the research methods and findings. The survey yielded 23 survey responses that represented 24 digital collections in the UNC-Chapel Hill library system. The findings of this survey show that the creation of digital collections has risen steadily since 1996. Project managers for digital collections represented have made metadata creation a priority, although 14 respondents indicated that it was not a part of their job description. Metadata standards have been implemented for the majority of the collections, with the most popular standards being MARC, TEI, DC, and EAD. Project managers and librarians indicated that they most often choose metadata standards based on the materials that exist in their digital collections. Results indicated that they also look to other digital collections for ideas on which metadata standards to implement. Most metadata is created manually; and respondents would like more automation, in the future, during the creation process. Respondents indicated a desire to explore alternatives to CONTENTdm.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Jane Greenberg

School:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School Location:USA - North Carolina

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:digital libraries metadata creation standards software surveys


Date of Publication:07/21/2008

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