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teaching:metadata [2019/01/25 15:52] (current)
seanburns created
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 +# Describing information:​ Metadata
 +## Slide 1: Title page
 +Hi Class, this week we're going to talk about metadata - which means
 +information about information -- or the process of describing information.
 +We're also going to talk about annotating the web, but I'll create a second
 +video for that.
 +## Slide 2: What is metadata?
 +In order to say something about what it means to describe information,​ we
 +should probably say something about information itself -- and how exactly it's
 +It turns out that defining the term '​information'​ in a way that makes the term
 +robust and easy to research is difficult, but for a moment let's define
 +information simply. Let's say that information is a proposition that is true.
 +Although this is a simplistic definition, as a concept it captures an important
 +aspect of what we think information is. An example of this definition in action
 +is in this proposition:​
 +- On January 1, 1990, the maximum temperature in Lexington, KY was 36 degrees
 +  Fahrenheit, as measured by KLEX.
 +That statement has a binary truth value -- it's either true or false, and so
 +it's an example of a propositional statement that is true -- and because it's
 +true, it's informative.
 +Source: [KLEX weather, Lexington, KY, 1/​1/​1990][1]
 +## Slide 3: What is metadata?
 +So what is metadata?
 +- Metadata is *data about data*. The term highlights what it's about -- *meta*,
 +  as in *over* and *data* as in *data* -- so, in a sense, that which is *over
 +  data*. - Or we can think about it more generally, as information about some
 +  thing that helps to identify, locate, and manage that thing.
 +Side note:
 +* We do not include *disinformation* or *misinformation*. Misinformation is
 +  simply information that is false. Disinformation is a kind of misinformation;​
 +  specifically,​ disinformation is false information that is designed to mislead
 +  -- you can think of propaganda as a kind of disinformation.
 +## Slide 4: Title metadata
 +When we create metadata, are goal is to create data about data -- or simply
 +describe information. For example, one of my favorite books is Larry McMurtry'​s
 +*Lonesome Dove*. When we start to describe this book, we could focus on the
 +book's title, *Lonesome Dove*, or the author, *Larry McMurtry*, or the year it
 +was published, how many pages are in the book, the main characters, and so
 +forth. If were were to collect all this information and place it in a record,
 +we'd have metadata.
 +Source: [The Alamo][2]
 +## Slide 5: Author/​creator metadata
 +The author of that book is *Toni Morrison*, so *Toni Morrison* is **author
 +metadata** for that book.
 +Source: [Tone Morrison][3]
 +## Slide 6: Location/​identifier metadata
 +Metadata should also contain location or identifier information. In the past,
 +for a book, we might be interested in the book's call number if we were looking
 +for that book at a library. That call number would act as location or 
 +identifier metadata. We might be still interested in call numbers today if 
 +we're interested in finding a physical book at a library, but often we're also
 +interested in locating the book on the web, and so a URL may also function as
 +identifier or location metadata.
 +Thus the URL for that book's record is
 +So, that URL is *location metadata* about that book's record on the internet.
 +The interesting thing about this URL is that it is a permanent URL. Web pages,
 +as you know, often change, update, or get deleted. Everyone, I'm sure, has
 +seen the 404 page not returned error while web browsing. But this is a
 +permanent URL by a named authority,,​ so this URL is forever,
 +theoretically,​ as long as the internet exists. Therefore it exists as a 
 +location string and a identifier string since it will always point to this 
 +record for Agatha Christie'​s book, *The Orient Express*.
 +Source: [Agatha Christie][4]
 +## Slide 7: Element:​Value
 +There'​s another way to think about this. Each of those examples can be thought
 +of as a relationship between an element or variable and a value contained by
 +the element or variable. If you know something about computer programming,​ then
 +this is all it is:
 +title = "​lonesome dove"
 +where title is the variable'​s name (the element) and "​lonesome dove" is the
 +stored value. In many cases, the variable names are fixed. So there will be a
 +scheme where *title* is always that variable'​s name, *creator* is always that
 +variable'​s name, *date* is always that variable'​s name, and so forth. So you
 +cannot just create new variable names for these elements, and do things like
 +replace the term '​date'​ with some other term, like *time*, or '​creator'​ with
 +some other term, like '​author'​.
 +## Slide 8: Where is metadata?
 +So where is metadata? Well, it's all over the place. The header information
 +in an email contains information about the email, and so it contains metadata.
 +- **To:** field
 +- **From:** field
 +- **Date:** field
 +These metadata play important roles in administering information and
 +communication on the web -- this is because computers need to process the
 +sending and receiving of emails, and metadata helps this happen.
 +## Slide 9: Automated metadata creation
 +Metadata is automatically created simply by our use of a lot of different
 +technologies. Social media, email, and other ICTs automatically generate a lot 
 +of metadata in the course of operation. As soon as we send or compose an email
 +or tweet, upload a photo to Instagram, post text or a photo to Facebook, or
 +any of a number of social media applications,​ metadata about that use is
 +created and tied to our identity.
 +## Slide 10: Metadata is social
 +Thus, metadata is social. E.g., as well as the tweet'​s content, each tweet
 +includes this kind of metadata:
 +- Name
 +- Timestamp that it was sent
 +- Favorited, whether it was favorited
 +- Favorited count, how many times it was favorited
 +- A reply, whether it was reply
 +- Twitter client, what client you were using (iPhone, Android, Browser)
 +- User name, the account associated with the tweet
 +- A retweet, whether it was retweeted
 +- Retweet count, how many times it was retweeted
 +- Longitude/​latitude,​ the geographic location (where the tweet was sent from),
 +  if sent from a phone
 +- Followers/​following,​ the number of followers and of those being followed by
 +  the user account
 +- & more! 
 +We generate tons of metadata in the process of using the web. As many of you
 +know, this is related to privacy and political issues. Think of, as an example, ​
 +the recent Facebook / Cambridge Analytica stories, as well as the collection of 
 +identity information by Google, purchasing data by Amazon, etc. Many other 
 +major websites/​companies use this kind of metadata as a part of their business ​
 +## Slide 11: Metadata has utility
 +Metadata has utility. In order for many of these to function:
 +- ICT applications need metadata. E.g., I need an email
 +  address (user/​location) in order to send an email to user@location.
 +- A search engine needs metadata to identify different objects (i.e., web
 +  pages) to return and to differentiate between these objects.
 +- Objects (like books) need to be described in order to identify their
 +  important characteristics (title/​name,​ author/​creator,​
 +  creation/​publication date, etc.)
 +- Because this is essential in *retrieving* information from search engines and 
 +  bibliographic databases.
 +So we need metadata to classify, categorized,​ and process all the different
 +kinds of informational objects that we have. 
 +## Slide 12: Metadata and privacy
 +And as I already mentioned, there are privacy issues with metadata that I
 +want you to be aware of, as I'm sure many of you are. So:
 +- Remember that metadata is often exposed to the public. If you tweet it,
 +  instagram it, etc., anyone with the right skill set can grab that data.
 +Read about this interesting by sociologist Kieren Healy, and how he used
 +metadata from real historical records to show that if the British had the
 +technology and methods we have today, they could have identified Paul Revere as
 +a Patriot. It's a fun read, but it's also a kind of warning. It identifies the
 +need to have a discussion about the privacy protections that we want and need
 +in order to function as a democracy, and how much privacy we should give up to
 +have the kinds of tools that we find useful or enjoyable.
 +Source: [Paul Revere][5]
 +## Slide 13: Controlled metadata creation ​
 +Metadata is created purposefully too. Here is an example of a record for
 +Agatha Christie'​s *Murder on the Orient Express*, which I linked to above
 +when referring to identifier/​location metadata. This is a screen shot of the
 +catalog record for this book from,​ which itself is an online
 +catalog for 1000s of library holdings across the US and other nations. ​
 +We see that the author metadata is *Agatha Christie*. Publisher metadata is
 +*Bantam Books* and the publication date is 1983 and copyright date is 1960.
 +These dates may be somewhat misleading, as the former date indicates the
 +printing of this edition and the latter date indicates when the copyright
 +was renewed and not the original publication date.
 +There are other metadata fields to be aware of. The Summary field displays a
 +short summary or description of the work. The Subjects field highlights
 +three terms that are used to describe what the books is about: one on the
 +fictional main character, Poirot. One titled *Private Investigators*,​ and
 +the other titled *Orient Express*. Notice that these are all hyperlinked,​
 +such that they function as access points to other works that share those
 +subject terms. As such, these subject links do the work of collating all
 +other works that share one of these subject headings. In a sense, they
 +function as a kind of digital file cabinet.
 +## Slide 14: Structured metadata
 +Dublin Core is an element set created to describe web objects, probably one
 +of the most commonly used element sets to do so, but it can also be used to
 +describe physical objects.
 +## Slide 15: Dublin Core: 15 elements
 +Dublin Core uses 15 metadata elements to help us describe information. Two
 +things I need to point out is that these elements are either optional or
 +repeatable. If there is more than one authors for a work, then you repeat that
 +variable. If you're familiar with any kind of computer programming,​ you'd often
 +assign multiple values to a variable by creating a list, but here we do not
 +assign a list to elements. Also, these elements are generally all optional,
 +such that you may not need a Publisher element for a work or a Relation
 +element, and so forth.
 +## Slide 16: Contributor element
 +The definition of the contributor element is "an entity responsible for
 +making contributions to the resource,"​ where resource refers to a work of
 +some type, like a book, a website, a painting, a photograph, a music
 +recording, and so forth. A more specific example would be a person who
 +contributed to the creation of a work, like a music or a TV producer
 +contributes to the creation of a song, an album, or a TV show. That person
 +would be said to have contributed to the work, or the resource.
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dces][6]
 +## Slide 17: Coverage element
 +The definition of the coverage element is "the spatial or temporal topic of the
 +resource ...." Let's say there'​s a song and the song is about Tokyo. This is
 +spatial topic. The TV show *Downton Abbey* is about the end of the Edwardian
 +era. This is a temporal topic, but the show also has a spatial component --
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dces][6]
 +## Slide 18: Creator element
 +The definition of the creator element is "an entity or person responsible for
 +making the resource."​ This is an element meant to broadly capture a number of
 +functions, such as author, painter, artist, musician, composer, etc. So think
 +of creator as a kind of a term that subsumes all these different aspects of
 +what it means to be a creator. For example, Julian Fellowes is one of the
 +persons who created the show *Downton Abbey*, and thus if I were to describe
 +the TV show *Downton Abbey*, I would assign Fellowes to the creator field, as
 +well as anyone else who was a primary creator of the show.
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dces][6]
 +## Slide 19: Date element
 +The definition of the date element is "a point or period of time associated
 +with an event in the life cycle of the resource."​ The date can include a range,
 +e.g., 2010 through 2013, but also specify a single point, such as September 26,
 +2010, which is the start of the show *Downton Abbey*.
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dces][6]  ​
 +Source: [https://​​wiki/​Downton_Abbey][7]
 +## Slide 20: Description element
 +The description element is defined as "an account of the resource,"​ which
 +functions as a kind of a summary. E.g., from *Wikipedia*,​ the introduction
 +section of the article on *Downton Abbey* provides a short summary of the
 +show. This summary could be used in the Description element if we were
 +creating a Dublin Core record for the show, although we wouldn'​t copy it
 +without also attributing the source of the description to *Wikipedia*.
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dces][6]  ​
 +Source: [https://​​wiki/​Downton_Abbey][7]
 +## Slide 21: Format element
 +Here we refer to "the file format, [the] physical medium, or [the]
 +dimensions of the resource."​ In this case, you should think of a PDF file, a
 +HTML file for web pages, a DOCX file for Microsoft Word documents, JPG and
 +PNG for photo files. In the case of a physical object, like a printed book,
 +think of the actual dimensions of the book: 23cm x 15cm.
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dces][6]  ​
 +## Slide 22: Identifier element
 +I've mentioned the identifier element before. This is defined as "an
 +unambiguous reference to the resource within a given context."​ Here I want
 +you to think about a kind of ID number. In the case of a book, whether
 +printed or online, think of the book's ISBN number, which you can find on
 +the opposite side of its title page (called the *verso*, if you're
 +interested). Or think of an ISSN number for a journal or a magazine, or more
 +broadly, a periodical. A DOI number is used to identify a specific scholarly
 +article. ​
 +- ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number
 +- ISSN stands for International Standard Serial Number
 +- DOI stands for digital object identifier
 +Some of these identifiers (not all are listed) can be converted to URLs.
 +E.g., if you prefix http://​​ to a DOI that is 10.2002/​ece3.1480,​
 +you get http://​​10.2002/​ece3.1480,​ then you'll be taken to the web
 +page for that scholarly article.
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dces][6]  ​
 +## Slide 24: Language element
 +The definition here is pretty straightforward. The language element is
 +defined as "a language of the resource."​ E.g., since the TV show *Downton
 +Abbey* is in English, you'd assign the value '​English'​ to the Language
 +element. You could create additional Language elements if you were creating
 +a record of the show if you were describing a version that was dubbed in
 +another language, such as Spanish.
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dces][6]  ​
 +## Slide 25: Publisher element
 +The publisher element is the "​entity responsible for making the resource
 +available."​ E.g., for a book, the publisher *Harcourt & Brace* would be the
 +element value for any book that was published by this company. To continue
 +our example, *Downton Abbey* has a distributor that we might use for the
 +publisher element, and this distributor is *PBS Distribution*. Some books or
 +works, such as films, could have multiple publishers or distributors,​
 +especially if the work has an international market.
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dces][6]  ​
 +## Slide 26: Relation element
 +The relation element is a difficult element to kind of wrap your head
 +around, not because it's intellectually difficult to understand, but because
 +it could be better defined. But a good example of something you would
 +describe as relational would be supplemental information,​ such as a textbook
 +that includes a DVD with multimedia, or a booklet that comes with a music
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dces][6]  ​
 +## Slide 25: Rights element
 +The rights element refers to "​information about rights held in and over the
 +resource."​ This is specifically referring to intellectual property, such as
 +trademarks, patents, and copyrights. ​
 +This element could include a date, or a short description,​ such as the
 +"​copyrighted in X year," or you could state here that the work is in the
 +public domain, if it is, or has a Creative Commons license, if it does. 
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dces][6]  ​
 +## Slide 26: Source element
 +The definition of the source element is "a related resource from which the
 +described resource is derived." ​
 +For example, with books you've probably seen new editions that contain new
 +information or perhaps a new preface, then this is a case where you could
 +use the Source element -- to describe the original source the derived one
 +comes from. I have a copy of a work that was released a couple years ago and
 +it contains a new preface, but otherwise, the main text is the same. In this
 +case, I could use the Source element to refer to the original work that was
 +published decades earlier.
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dces][6]  ​
 +## Slide 27: Subject element
 +I pointed out the subject issue earlier, when we were talking about the *Murder
 +on the Orient Express* book. There we had three subject headings referring to
 +the main fictional character of the book, the role that character played in the
 +book (private investigator),​ and the location or setting of the book, the train
 +*Orient Express*. Those subjects are a way to describe what the object is about
 +but also help collate all resources that have the same subjects. In order to
 +accomplish this, subject terms are often controlled. E.g., instances of this
 +kind of *controlled vocabulary* include the *Library of Congress Subject
 +Headings*. Here are two examples. The term *Clouds* is a subject heading in the
 +Library of Congress Subject Headings list. If you go to InfoKat, the UK
 +Libraries online catalog, and do a subject search for *Clouds*, you'll pull up
 +all works that share that subject. *Cardiovascular abnormalities* is a MeSH
 +subject heading for that topic. MeSH, standing for Medical Subject Headings, is
 +a derivation of the LCSH -- it is like the LCSH, just more specific for medical
 +subject matters. Controlled vocabularies are maintained by committees and
 +organizations of experts. They oversee these list of terms, that added to
 +thesauri -- and they constantly revise these terms -- add new ones when
 +relevant, remove old ones when they go out of style or out of use.
 +We also see a lot of uncontrolled vocabulary. When you tag someone on
 +Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you are creating a kind of subject term for
 +that Facebook post, that tweet, or that photo. When you click on those tags,
 +you'll pull up all other posts, tweets, photos that share that same tag.
 +Think of a common example, such as the throwback Thursday tag that's used
 +across all three of these sites.
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dces][6]  ​
 +## Slide 28: Title element
 +The definition of the title element is "a name given to the resource."​ This
 +is fairly straightforward. In our previous example, *Downton Abbey* is the
 +title of the TV show by that name, and so this is what you'd use in the
 +title element.
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dces][6]  ​
 +## Slide 29: Type element
 +The type element is defined as "the nature or genre of the resource."​ This
 +is a little bit comparable to the subject element, but it's also a little
 +different. So for type you can think of: a piece of fiction, or more
 +specifically,​ science fiction or children'​s literature. If a film, perhaps
 +it's a documentary. If music, perhaps it's a punk rock song. Also think of
 +things like biographies,​ cartoons, or *festschrifts*,​ which refers to works
 +that are dedicated to a living person, such as a book composed of 15
 +chapters dedicated to a person and her artwork, her scholarship,​ or
 +political contributions,​ or other contribution to society.
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dces][6]  ​
 +## Slide 30: Dublin Core Implementation
 +Dublin Core can be implemented in lots of web languages, such as XML, XHTML,
 +and so forth. Here's an example of a Dublin Core record that I created on the
 +fly. It refers to Larry McMurtry'​s book *Lonesome Dove* and I used XML markup
 +to code the record. So you see things like *dc.title* to refer to the title of
 +the book. *dc.creator* to refer to the author. You see that I repeated the
 +*dc.identifier* element twice. One identifier refers to the ISBN for the book.
 +The other one refers to the permanent URL that the Library of Congress uses for
 +their record of the book. You also see that I repeated the use of the
 +*dc.format* element -- one is dedicated to the number of pages of the book and
 +the other is dedicated to the length of the printed book, specifically,​ this
 +instance of the book. And so forth. ​
 +Dublin Core can be fairly straightforward. Unlike librarians, who spend
 +several years mastering the techniques involved in cataloging works, Dublin
 +Core was designed to be friendly to general practitioners. This is not to
 +say that it doesn'​t take some practice, but overall, it is fairly user
 +Source: [http://​​documents/​dc-xml-guidelines/​][8]  ​
 +Source: [http://​​85002192][9]
 +## Slide 31: Summary
 +- Metadata is data about data
 +- Its ability to describe data/​information makes it a fundamental and
 +  ubiquitous part of information and communication technologies
 +- It makes automation possible, such as the sending of email
 +- It makes information retrieval possible, such as using a search engine or a 
 +  library database
 +- Values are automatically generated by our use of information and
 +  communication technologies,​ which creates ​
 +- Privacy issues: so we need pay attention to the metadata we create and
 +  where we create it and who has access to it
 +## Slide 32: Summary
 +- It is also purposefully generated by our need to describe and organize
 +  information (e.g., Dublin Core)
 +[1]: http://​​history/​airport/​KLEX/​1990/​1/​1/​DailyHistory.html?​req_city=Lexington&​req_state=KY&​req_statename=&​​reqdb.magic=1&​reqdb.wmo=99999
 +[2]: https://​​wiki/​File:​The_Alamo_at_Dusk.jpg
 +[3]: http://​​wiki/​Toni_Morrison
 +[4]: http://​​wiki/​File:​Christie1925.jpg
 +[5]: http://​​blog/​archives/​2013/​06/​09/​using-metadata-to-find-paul-revere/​
 +[6]: http://​​documents/​dces
 +[7]: https://​​wiki/​Downton_Abbey
 +[8]: http://​​documents/​dc-xml-guidelines/​
 +[9]: http://​​85002192
teaching/metadata.txt ยท Last modified: 2019/01/25 15:52 by seanburns