Clever Recordkeeping Metadata Project Outcome Area 1

Impact of different information paradigms on metadata interoperability

Different information paradigms (e.g. recordkeeping versus information resource discovery) as expressed in metadata affect interoperability capacity because of different semantics within elements that look superficially similar.

Brief discussion

The inherently different world-views and disciplinary perspectives of creators of metadata standards affect the extent to which metadata interoperability can be achieved. While the names of metadata elements may be the same, the meaning and purpose of elements that appear superficially similar, may be quite different. Metadata standards must be clearly expressed, using emerging sophistication in metadata semantic definition, and clearly identify any implicit meaning in their element definitions. The hand crafted crosswalks between metadata standards that are the current norm in explorations of metadata, where a human interpretation of equivalence is both potentially subjective and inherently passive, do not enable or take advantage of dynamic generation of translations, and thus inhibit technologically driven interoperability.

Summary findings

  • Re-use can be decomposed into a number of different areas, each with different implications for metadata re-use and deployment of the translation services component of a metadata broker:-
    • Representation: rendering in different forms using translation brokering
    • Repositioning: moving metadata elements into different metadata schema constructs (eg moving agent element from one scheme to another)
    • Reprocessing: interpreting the metadata values - therefore much greater emphasis and importance on the semantic interoperability issues
  • Schema-to-schema crosswalks are of limited applicability in metadata re-use for recordkeeping purposes. To affect better and more robust interoperability, we need to move to more dynamic and flexible models.