Marissa Clifford’s article is really a collection of brief discussions contributed by different metadata specialists working at the Getty Institute. Each section briefly explores some of the more challenging or significant elements presented by the author’s job. This gives the reader an interesting range of viewpoints and issues that emerge from working with metadata.
Although the writers concentrate on a pretty broad range of functions, one task that did come up repeatedly was the effort of making sure that different metadata records mapped well to Getty’s records. Getty works with many other institutions, so making sure that their metadata records sync with Getty’s set up is a crucial and ongoing operation. Some other interesting tasks mentioned included using historical metadata to create visualizations and reveal patterns in ownership, using OCR (optical character recognition) to preserve historical art sales documents, preserving software,and developing algorithms to automatically update copyright standards for pieces.
The short pieces did a good job of introducing and emphasizing several facets of metadata work that I hadn’t considered before. Metadata is still evolving continuously, and needs a lot human input and oversight to work well. The many different metadata schema have to be continuously tweaked so they can work together successfully. More than anything, flexibility – the willingness to make changes and corrections – is key.