Every book we read, every source we mine, and every number we collect has a history, has a life that precedes us and will continue long after we are gone. It is easy to forget this when we are frantically collecting materials for our dissertation. This legacy is rich but, in the hustle-and-bustle of research trips, exam prep, and writing, it is often neglected or even forgotten.
One of the most important parts of building an archive is capturing this legacy by recording an item’s dimensions, condition, material composition, origin, and provenance. In so doing, an archivist generates a vast amount of metadata, or information about an item irrespective of its content. Not only is this information useful in categorizing and storing the item, it also enriches the context of the archived item for researchers and facilitates use of the collection as a whole.
Metadata, though, isn’t reserved for the hallowed halls (or cold, windowless basements) of an archive. It is also a vital part of any researcher’s personal database.
Check out the full article up on the blog!