We have spent the past few weeks discussing metadata and its uses, which got me thinking about how we are using metadata on our WordPress site and how that fits into the best practices and standards we have been discussing. Many Pratt classes use WordPress posts as assignments, but each one uses the metadata (categories, tags, etc.) differently. Here I will just be focusing on the Knowledge Organization site.
The INFO 653 Knowledge Organization site currently has the following categories enabled:
- Born Digital
- DRAFT – Repeat
- Knowledge and Truth
- Knowledge Structures
- Linked Open Data
- Open Access
- Open Data
- Research Projects
Posts can be categorized into multiple categories, and they are self-selected by the author. Browsing these categories initially there seem to be a few redundancies to the casual viewer, Libraries vs Library, Linked Open Data vs LODLAM, and Repeat vs. Repeatable. This may be due to my lack of specialized knowledge, but it is hard to imagine posts that would fit into one half of one of those pairs and not the other. And then if those categories are not just overlapping, but the same, shouldn’t we simplify the controlled vocabulary we are using?
We have stressed in class that metadata should be formatted with the user in mind. Who is the user here? If it is fellow, and future, students enrolled in INFO 653, do these categories help users understand or engage with the curriculum? Or should the categories map more directly to the syllabus, that way if someone is having a hard time understanding a topic they can refer to the blog to see what other students have had to say on the matter. For example the topics the syllabus (for INFO 653-02 at least) are:
- Data, Information, Knowledge
- Organization Standards
- MARC 21 (AACR2)
- FRBR and RDA
- Authority Control
- Categorization / Classification
- Subject Indexing
- Terminology Control
Some of those categories map onto the ones in use, but most don’t. While the current categories allow more broader/subject specific categories, if the categories were mapped closer to the syllabus categories we could use the tags to describe subjects or contexts (for example move archives, libraries, books, museums, etc. to the tag field instead of categories). Then as we write posts we do need to think about how our topics directly fit into the curriculum using controlled vocabulary.
I think looking at the WordPress class website is an interesting use case for discussing metadata. Is the roll of the tags to link related posts together? Then is there a strategy for making sure the tags aren’t too specific? Or are we using the tags like subject headings, and do we want to be as specific as possible?
While blog metadata is often based on what feels right, are we taking into account our user needs?