Better Metadata...NOW!


In the past we’ve written about the “Now” feature in the Rare and Unique Digital Collections site. It’s a neat way to see what in the collection is catching our researchers’ eyes. What caught my eye today while browsing the “Now” content was some of the titles we’ve supplied to our digitized assets. For instance, before today, the title of this photograph was, simply, “4H.”

The rest of the descriptive metadata in that record was really good, and the photograph would have been discoverable via a keyword search. Not only that, it was discovered: I found it on the “Now” page because someone else had found it.

I like to refer to metadata as “betadata”; like software, we release it, and improve it when we find a bug. Not only can our staff using “Now” content as an indication of what’s of current interest to researchers, we can use to find descriptive records that could use some additional attention. Combining the two, we’re enhancing records of resources we know researchers have found of value.

This photo and others being viewed right now are available as part of the NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections, which provides access to thousands of images, video, audio recordings, and textual materials documenting NC State history and other topics. For another really great resource on university history, be sure to check out our Historical State timelines.