EdNA Adopts SCIS Metadata Standard

By Ellen Paxton

EdNA ( Education Network Australia) has announced that by October 1998 it will implement SCIS subject headings as p art of its metadata standards. When Teacher Librarians and students access EdNA they will b e a ble to search and retrieve Internet resources using familiar SCIS subject headings. This is a significant achievement for SCIS and participating Teacher Librarians, as it acknowledges the expertise and quality of SCIS subject headings and recognises that SCIS is THE standard searching language of Teacher Librarians and students t hroughout Australian schools.

What is metadata?

Metadata is the buzz word used by publishers and administrators of Internet based resources for what is essentially 'cataloguing'. A metadata record is a type of catalogue record, it provides information about the contents of resources on the Internet, similar to how a SCIS record provides details, (Title, Author. Subject), about a book or CD-ROM in your library. Metadata records are designed to help refine searches on the Internet b y enabling searchers to specify details about the material they are trying to discover, for example: A n interactive resource on whales published in 1998 in English.

Despite these similarities a library catalogue record and a metadata record are not the same. Metadata creators do not have to be trained Librarians and they do not have to apply the same rules cataloguers use to construct a record. For example, metadata does not follow AACR2 nor MARC, nor does it adhere to a controlled vocabulary such as SCIS, Sears, LC Subject headings, etc.

The metadata world is catching up with the library community, and is trying to establish some minimum descriptive standards to improve the management and retrieval of Internet resources. The Dublin Core set is the most famous attempt at establishing a world wide metadata standard. It consists of 15 minimum, non compulsory, descriptive fields or elements and has been adopted by many Australian education web publishers, including EdNA.

There is an abundance of information about metadata available on the Internet. Some useful sites are listed below:

OCLC, Dublin Core Metadata Element Set: Reference Description Provides information on Dublin Core elements with a link to the Dublin Core home page. http://purl.org/metadata/dublin_core_elements

EdNA Metadata homepage provides an entry point for information about metadata and EdNA. http://www.edna.edu.au/EdNN

We will publish more explanatory articles about metadata in Connections throughout 1999.

Ellen Paxton

Ellen Paxton

National SCIS Cataloguing Coordinator