Once a month, we bring you an update from a few Hackers on things we’ve been reading, enjoying, and learning that month, whether that’s fiction, non-fiction, an interesting article, or a series of social media posts. We hope you’ll join along with us and share your most interesting reads in the comments!
An Emergent Theory of Digital Library Metadata: Enrich then Filter by Getaneh Alemu and Brett Stevens
I’m reading this book for my Metadata Design course and really finding it engaging and informative. The premise is that library metadata is transitioning to and is in need of more user-centered metadata principles. Based in research and interviews of information professionals in the field, it explores four emerging metadata principles including: Enriching, Linking, Openness, and Filtering. While metadata should still be grounded in standards and have quality control checks, it should be socially constructed with users in mind and even contributions from users in such ways as tagging, reviews, ratings, recommendation systems, and metadata crowdsourcing (think Goodreads). With a mixed metadata approach, libraries can enrich, then filter and decide which technologies will best support their aims. Libraries can re-envision themselves as knowledge building environments while focusing on the importance of involving users in metadata creation.
Provocation Series from Project Information Literacy by various authors
Since my professional interests lie with academic libraries, teaching information literacy is very relevant to my current and future library work. This “occasional series” of essays from Project Information Literacy is meant to discuss “what ‘literacy’ means in all its manifestations.” A long-form essay has been added to the series every two months since early 2021, starting with “Lizard People In The Library” by Barbara Fister, which points out that while information literacy has been taught under one name or another in classrooms for years, its scope typically is limited to teaching students how to find and produce information, but does not include understanding information systems, “including the fact that these systems are social, influenced by the biases and assumptions of the humans who create and use them.” The latest in the series, “Information Literacy for Mortals” by Mike Caulfield, which addresses how higher education teaches students to value academic precision and rigorous research methods when seeking information, but that those approaches don’t fit the needs of the average person, who is never asking “whether something is good enough to cite — they are often asking whether something is good enough to read, worth continued viewing, or perhaps just ‘plausible enough to worry about.’”
While I only mentioned two of the essays by name here, all of the ones published so far are excellent and have forced me to think about what literacy means in different ways. I’m really looking forward to reading the next one, due to be published February 16th.