New Metadata Quality Task Force

21 November 2013 Comment

We at Europeana love metadata! It is our lifeblood, and we are proud to contain so many wonderful records from thousands of institutions across Europe. We love seeing our content used in lots of different ways from social media sharing to API calls to hackathons. None of this is possible without great metadata.

Good metadata tells us everything we need to know about a digital object, what it is, where it comes from, what it looks like, where it's housed, who gave it to us, how you can use the object, and more Everything you need to know for research or cultural window-shopping! And it looks a little something like this…

City Map Item

Example of good metadata from RTÉ Archives and EUscreen. View the record on Europeana

There has been a lot of work done over the last few years on a theoretical and technical level about metadata and Europeana, and we recently changed over to a whole new data model (EDM) with metadata standards which allow our providers to give so much more to our audience! However, we believe that we should now look at the practical implementation and submission of good metadata quality.

As an initiative of the Europeana Aggregation team (read this blog on what we do!) December will see the start of a Metadata Quality Task Force aiming to improve the quality of the metadata found in Europeana.

Aggregation is operation through which we harvest, process and publish all of Europeana’s data. We already provide lots of documentation on what we require from our data providers and all our records contain certain mandatory elements. We ingest new records on a monthly basis and this number keeps on growing and growing. During the last five years, we’ve seen millions of records pass though our hands and uncovered more than a wide variety digital treasure. However, as the number of records increases it becomes more difficult for users to find a single individual record.

A solution to this is to improve the quality of the metadata submitted to Europeana. Meaningful titles and meaningful descriptions mean that a specific item is easier to locate, and that’s just the start of the improvements. The Metadata Quality Task Force aims to create a set of best practice guidelines for the creation of good metadata and to look at the restrictions facing institutions in the provision of this kind of material.

We’ll be inviting participants to join the Task Force shortly but if you have experience working with data providers and submitting metadata to Europeana, we’d love to hear from you! (email Marie-Claire.Dangerfield@KB.nl)