At this year’s German library conference there were two presentations about automatic metadata generation. The ZBW (Deutsche Zentralbibliothek für Wirtschaftswissenschaften, German National Library of Economics) catalogs electronic as well as print articles from books and journals. Metadata for these articles are generated automatically from scanned tables of contents. But there is a need to enrich them for various reasons: In order to provide reliable links to electronic versions of articles, identifiers (URLs) and metadata have to be correct. Furthermore, in order to make the data ready for linked data applications or bibliometric rankings, authority control of authors, topics and other entities is key. So automatic metadata generation is a great help in achieving quantity, but quality (human intervention by linking to authority controlled data) is necessary to make the data usable and future-proof (description and slides in German here)
The German National Library reported on their project of automatically extracting metadata from title pages of doctoral dissertations. Since these pages conform to a certain pattern where the same information can be found in the same place on each title page of each thesis, software that can decipher structures according to rules, thesauri and OCR can be used. Here’s a summary of the project in English
and the conference slides in German can be found here.
It’s always interesting to follow the progress and practical examples of automated metadata generation because descriptive cataloging can be supported and accelerated, and human skills can be used for quality management and error assessment instead of manually entering information that can be captured automatically.