Balancing Metadata Imperatives with User Needs

Schemas. Standards. Controlled vocabularies. Dublin Core. PRISM. TEI.

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The language and tools of metadata are familiar to Stephanie Routhier Perry, who uses descriptive and technical metadata to manage access to digital materials at Net-A-Porter, an online luxury fashion retailer based in London. But she recognizes that metadata are simply means to an end, and that end—ensuring that her fellow employees of Net-A-Porter can find, view and use the materials in the collection—trumps all other considerations.

“As a professional librarian, I understand the importance of internationally recognized metadata standards,” she writes in Information Outlook. “. . . My experience tells me, however, that I have to balance the imperatives of standards and schemas with the needs of my organization’s particular users. Access to materials within our collection is the most important consideration. If the materials are not accessible to users, they have little or no value.”

To read more of what Stephanie has to say about using metadata to ensure user access to digital materials, click here.

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