Digital images, management and metadata: the long tail, or the order of order?

Author:Zentner-Raasch, Caroline


Weinberger (2007) explains how knowledge can no longer be contained within neat, small boxes called catalogues. The range of resources and information on the Internet and the World Wide Web has changed forever the landscape of information access and retrieval. The questions explored in this article include why the digitization of images is a complex issue, and the relationship of metadata to the digitization of images.

Survey of the Literature

Weinberger (2007) explores three distinct forms of knowledge building, which he calls principles of organization: the First Order of Order, the Second Order of Order, and the Third Order of Order. An example of the First Order of Order is the physical order of books, journals, DVDs, and so on, in a library. An example of the Second Order of Order is a library catalog, where the First Order of Order is separated into categories that are searchable by a system such as author, title, subject, etc. The Third Order of Order is based on the digital order of information, where the ability to search for an item can be adjusted each time a search is performed. Weinberger says, "The basic fact that order often hides more than it reveals has sometimes itself been hidden within the art and science of organizing our world" (2007).

Bartholomae and Petrosky (2003) examine how images can expand the reading experience and knowledge of college students. By asking students to consider the role of images as part of the text, the authors show how changing the sequence of articles within a book can lead to new insights about reading images and text together. The context of an image changes when its relationship to the text changes.

Cornell University Library/Research Department (2009) defines metadata as a means of describing a variety of "attributes of information objects and gives them meaning, context, and organization." This tutorial discusses three areas of classification: descriptive, structural, and administrative, and says that "these categories do not always have well-defined boundaries and often exhibit a significant level of overlap" (Cornell University Library / Research Department, 2009). Issues such as static versus dynamic metadata elements, the internal versus the external functions of each element, and interoperability are examined during the tutorials in the web site.

Casey (2008) states that, "the future of bibliographic control will be collaborative, decentralized, international in scope, and Web-based." She examines the dynamic nature of the current metadata landscape and the rapid changes facing metadata and bibliographic control in the World Wide Web environment. Connaway, Radford, Dickey, Willams, & Confer (2008) explore the difference age makes in...

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