Dr. Robert Kieft, General Editor of the American Library Association’s Guide to Reference, spoke in our Information Access class today and proclaimed that “the future of librarianship is in metadata; become a cataloger.”
I’m fairly certain he was being serious and not tongue-in-cheek when he said this. The more I learn in UCLA’s Library and Information Science program, the more I’m convinced he may be right.
Metadata is the 21st Century Information Science (IS) term for what has traditionally been known as cataloging. And within the IS field it’s hot, hot, HOT! Within the context of a library or archive (digital or physical), metadata is information that helps describe an item’s content, its location within a library collection or archive, its physical descriptions, or information about its publication or creation. In short, metadata is descriptive information about information.