- Not being involved in conversations about what is happening in information retrieval now. Perhaps they are excluding themselves from those conversations or maybe those conversations just aren't happening at their institutions.
- Not positioning themselves to work implementing a digitization program or federated search software. They may use the resultant web site, but they won't be on the project team.
- This also means that they are limiting their job/career options.
- Not good role models for new employees who need to know that continual learning is part of job.
If we exchange the word "indexing" for metadata, then we can talk about the indexing that people are doing on the Internet with del.icio.us, tags/categories/labels in blogs, and tags in other sharing sites like Flickr. People do understand that this type of data helps with information retrieval. Of course, with folksonomies, there are no rules. Not so with metadata. Metadata -- as we think of it -- has rules and guidelines, which -- like cataloguing -- must be followed.
What can we do to make metadata more understood?
- Forget workshops and conference sessions. The conversation needs to happen locally in staff meetings, in front of computer screens and at the coffee pot.
- Show people what metadata looks like. Seeing it can make is less mysterious.
- Demonstrate that metadata does not need to be complex. Let people learn about adding metadata to a web page and how it helps with search engine rankings, then move on to thinking about the role of metadata in a content management system.
- Talk about cataloguing as "creating metadata." Do short sessions about what's in a catalogue records and how it is created. Talk about the need to create original metadata, just the way we used to create original catalogue records.
- Challenge your staff to talk about metadata and ask questions about it. Even if the conversations are basic, they will be helpful.
Technorati tag: metadata