5 thoughts on ““Good enough” metadata

  1. Jennie

    Great post – this is something I think we’re struggling with at the moment and will need to look at again very shortly. In addition to the practicalities of time and resource in terms of editing imported records to fit our needs, we have an internal pull between those who believe cataloguing to be an exercise in intellectual rigour and those who believe that we are somehow wasting our time with extraneous fields and that our students really only care about title, author and classmark (I’m exaggerating here slightly, but only slightly!)

    My personal view is that we (in my institution, not everywhere) need to be looking much more at what out students need and want and potentially spending less time crafting records, whilst retaining the fields that can be useful for the retrieval and manipulation of bibliographic information for statistical use and display on the OPAC. It does make me feel like a “bad cataloguer” in practice though, so perhaps I need to come to terms with “good enough” too.

  2. Allen

    I appreciate posts that encourage thoughtful consideration – thank you. If one took another perspective, one might ask whether the metadata we offer is good enough for what patrons and public services staff would optimally have available. I think well-formed metadata often falls short in that respect, even as it has distinct advantages in other respects. Therefore, as libraries look at what they are willing to invest in for the future, I think it would be helpful to have well-formed, cataloger driven metadata available when needed, but not necessarily in every library’s catalog. Then, instead of investing locally in an institution’s own copy of well-formed metadata, libraries could invest in discovery resources that enhance the user’s discovery and use of resource experience.

  3. Anon

    This is a tough one, isn’t it – but I agree it needs to be addressed, so well done for speaking up. I’m sure some people will think of “good enough” as a kind of heresy. But lack of resources means we all have to be sure we are spending them wisely, and I’m not in favour of “hand-crafting” for the sake of it. The trouble is, although I’m happy to decide what’s good enough for my users, you may decide that it’s not good enough for your users, and then instead of sharing records, we go back to – hand-crafting! It can be true even within the same catalogue, over time – different people making different decisions about what’s wanted and recataloguing all over again. Part of what’s good enough has to be, what’s good enough to use without editing, and that’s one reason why we have preferred a “standard” (whether AACR, RDA or whatever), rather than individual styles. In effect, the standard is what’s considered to be good enough for everyone.

  4. Saskia

    Thank you all for sharing your opinions – I’m sure the topic will continue to be discussed because “good enough” is not the same for everyone or every institution and a number of aspects have to be factored in.

  5. Pingback: Simplification as an opportunity « all things cataloged

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