Seeing Standards: A Visualization of the Metadata Universe

  • 2010
  • Domain
  • Exhibit map
Jenn Riley, Head of the Carolina Digital Library and Archives at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, compiled a database of metadata standards in the cultural heritage sector together with their interrelationships. Devin Becker, Digital Initiatives and Scholarly Communications Librarian at the University of Idaho, plotted the 105 most heavily used or publicized standards in an attempt to assist planners with the selection and implementation of metadata standards. The resulting visualization of the metadata landscape uses a combination of world map and pie chart layouts, organizing the metadata standards into four hemispheric axes—community, domain, function, and purpose—and then more specifically by category via the pie charts' slivers. The strength of a standard in a given category is determined by a mixture of its adoption in that category, its design intent, and its overall appropriateness for use in that category. The concept of stars is used literally and figuratively to highlight those metadata standards that are the "star" standards in the cultural heritage communities. Mixed metaphors help users reinforce different relationships between the standards and their uses, and they might help assuage the bewilderment one might have in confronting all these standards.

Digital Preservation Newsletter. News & Events – Putting Metadata on the Map (Library of Congress). Accessed September 5, 2011.

Becker, Devin and Jenn L. Riley. 2010. Seeing Standards: A Visualization of the Metadata Universe. Courtesy of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Idaho. In “7th Iteration (2011): Science Maps as Visual Interfaces to Digital Libraries,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Michael J. Stamper.