4 Responses to ““There is no ‘spoon’ aka ‘metadata'””

  1. Dave, I can confirm that I’ve definitely heard the “metadata is data depending on your point of view” discussion around here, on many occasions – usually (always?) in the humanities. Metadata about newspaper clippings (eg, AFI research archives) is data for some researchers. Similarly, the eSRC (Melbourne Uni) treats metadata about people and organisations as data.

  2. Thanks Steve, Very good point, as I am hardly an Aussie metadata expert. Would be good to get more involved in Humanities stuff again, as I have been ‘scientific instruments’ obsessed of recent. /dff

  3. Yeah. Although I was also thinking, it applies to something like MyTardis. Instrument parameters are normally considered “metadata”, beside the “data” which is the instrument readings. But in a data transfer between two sites, both metadata and data really become “data” – now the only “metadata” is information about the transfer, last update/synchronisation dates etc.

    (And more generally, when looking at the implementation details of how metadata is stored, it rapidly loses its “meta-” properties. So the concept of metadata is only meaningful for a given situation and perspective.)

  4. Completely agree Steve, program code, data and metadata are all data, whether they are acting in a metadata role or some other role at any given moment depends entirely on context.
    I think people who have mostly worked in library and archive settings tend to have an absolute rather than relative view of metadata because they focus on a particular part of the landscape where that is true.
    Generally they think of a digital record of metadata, or even a paper index card, as an ‘information surrogate’ for something real like a book or artifact (that’s what I learned in library school). But I think its time to accept a more technically-based perspective, computers are probably here to stay 🙂

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