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Metadata is `data about data' that improves access to resources and the information
they contain. It can be divided into three main types: descriptive metadata, which carries
information about the content of a resource; structural metadata, which is concerned with
the context of one particular resource, and its potential relationship(s) with other
resources(s) (for example, a 1930s cigarette card may be `#4 in a series of 8'); and admini-
strative metadata, which deals with other issues such as rights and version-management.
Metadata should be maintainable, consistent and usable.
A number of comprehensive schemes exist for managing such metadata. Many of them
are suitable for storing metadata about digitally created objects.These include Dublin
Core, MARC (the MAchine Readable Catalogue), EAD (Encoded Archival Description)
and ISAD(G) (the International Standards Archival Description 2nd edition).
Interoperability is the goal towards which
most metadata initiatives are currently
moving, and Dublin Core has its own
dedicated forum on interoperability
12
indicating the gravity with which this
issue is currently being treated. One of
the aims of Dublin Core is efficient
cross-domain discovery and platform-
independence, coupled with suitability
for interoperable searches via linked
searching mechanisms such as Z39.50.
While potential interoperability is not
currently a major factor in selecting
a DAMS specification, the facility for
cross-platform searching is likely to
become increasingly valuable in the
future.
Where is DAM technology currently used?
Digital Asset Management systems can be found today in many of the world's largest
and most influential organisations, ranging from the American National Football
League
(NFL) to The Vatican.They are also used in academic institutions in countries
such as England (the Courtauld Institute of Art
13
), the Netherlands (National Archives)
and the United States of America (Texas, Cornell and Stanford universities). At the Cable
News Network
(CNN), a central repository for the consolidation of production re-
sources has been developed. CNN maintains an ever-expanding library with a vast cata-
logue of news archive material necessary for supporting television production processes
in the news industry. Management of this material is automated to a significant degree,
with different approaches necessary for different user roles and responsibilities.
The dispersal of content via different channels, for example standard television, interac-
tive television, and the Web can in this way be enabled.
Digital Asset
Management Systems
44
The Documentum interface
Documentum
12
The DCMI Metadata Schema Interoperability Working Group (http://dublincore.org/groups/schema/)
13
See DigiCULT Thematic Issue 2, pp 33-37 for a case study on this college.