This week’s post comes from our Research Chair, Roxanne Brazell! She discusses several important facets of digital content management and where students might find themselves situated in this dynamic field!
We talk about digital content management or digital preservation all the time, but are you wondering what it’s really all about? You’re probably saying it’s a way to manage any type of content in a digital format and this is true. Many of my colleagues have shared the types of projects and content management applications they use in this blog. As a digital asset or content manager, how would you go about this process?
To preserve and manage digital content requires a structure that is similar to a database. We use metadata schemas, such as the Dublin Core to structure items. The term “metadata” has become a common way to describe the intellectual and physical characteristics of digital items. Take a look at our WayneBrain repository, which is under development by our student group. It uses the Dublin Core metadata schema and you can see how items are defined by elements. If you navigate around the site and click on the title of an item, you can then go and click “Show full item record” to view its metadata. For example, the “dc.coverage.spatial” element on the left defines or identifies the location and the corresponding field on the right describes the item’s location.
There are many other schemas, Data Documentation Initiative (DDI), Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS), and the Exchangeable Image File Format (Exif) metadata your camera uses to name a few that are utilized for different archiving platforms referred to as repositories, such as WSU’s Digital Commons. Image archiving is a specialized field and primarily uses the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) Photo Metadata Standard metadata schema. Most metadata schemas can be adapted to different types of collections. Metadata Librarians create the metadata structures with the assistance of Archivist and Special Collection Librarians based on the types of collections they manage. Digital Archivist and Asset Managers use these metadata structures to create a consistent format for the different types of items, from photographs, documents, to moving and still images they catalog.
The use of a standard metadata format throughout a repository increases the searchability and access of digital items and creates ease in adding items and managing a repository. In our digital lifestyle, metadata surrounds us from our computers to our cell phones. Digital content management maybe for you if you enjoy organizing items, get engrossed in the details of describing something, you love learning new applications, you’re somewhat of a grammar and spelling whiz that can manage a range of resources and work with professionals and patrons while thinking like your end-users to improve their experience.
If your interest in digital content management is piqued, review the linked resources this summer and look for email announcements of our September meeting to get involved in our ongoing projects.