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Book review : David Haynes, Metadata for Information Management and Retrieval: Understanding Metadata and Its Use

Pennington, Diane Rasmussen (2018) Book review : David Haynes, Metadata for Information Management and Retrieval: Understanding Metadata and Its Use. [Review]

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Abstract

David Haynes published the first edition of this book in 2004. It outlined the basics of metadata, including description, standards, purposes and management. In its final chapter, he questioned whether metadata as we knew it at the time would remain, or if newer approaches to metadata such as artificial intelligence would replace human-generated records and descriptions. In the new edition, he revisited that question, answering it with an emphasis on the importance of varying metadata standards in a wide range of uses and contexts. This range makes the topic complex, as he notes: ‘At this juncture it seems that this fragmentation of metadata will continue and that a coherent metadata community is unlikely to emerge’ (p. 228). While this may sound pessimistic, he effectively uses the book to highlight the many opportunities present in current metadata use, which helps the reader understand why so many standards may be necessary: the standard, and the metadata it holds, needs to be fit for purpose.