Metadata is EVERYWHERE

“Metadata and data catalogues” by S.C Guptill provides a comprehensive and clear overview of metadata. However, the level of this text is introductory. Issues associated with the definition metadata, its uses/ applications and the politics associated with the establishments of metadata standards are merely glossed over. Indeed, metadata is ubiquitous and its definition largely depends on what you consider data to be: one person’s metadata may be another person’s data. As opposed to viewing metadata and data as two discrete concepts, I propose they be viewed along a continuum, where the distinguishing line is often blurred. In a similar way, the application of metadata are only superficially described, limiting the discussion to catalogues and clearinghouses. Metadata is in fact necessary or associated to many aspect of GIScience including ontologies (what meaning are captured by the different metadata fields and how does that affect the creation of crosswalks, for example), Location based services,  which rely on metadata for App creation; geovisualization (metadata is needed to properly display or represent data (e.g  geographic projections, scales etc) and can also be displaced visually, allowing us to glean information and giving rise to new research questions), and the retrieval of Big Data and information of the Geoweb, to name but a few.

The political issues associated with who sets standards, who decides what is included in the standards and the power dynamics at play are also worth considering in greater detail.

Nevertheless, this article was a good read, offering a comprehensive review of metadata.



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