On the evening of September 13, 2018, 20 attendees from a range of backgrounds gathered in the lovely Adler Room in Rockefeller University’s Founders Hall for SSP’s regional event in New York City. There they learned about and discussed the increasing importance of good metadata and how the Metadata 2020 initiative is bringing the community together around this integral topic. Following three engaging presentations, attendees continued to have lively discussions in breakout groups while enjoying refreshments. Special thanks goes out to the evening’s sponsors—Rockefeller University Press, Firebrand Technologies, Ingenta, and MPS—along with the speakers, whose presentations are summarized below.
Paul Dlug, assistant director for journal systems at the American Physical Society, was an early advisor during the creation of Metadata 2020 and currently a member of its publisher group. He provided an overview of the initiative with an emphasis on the importance of its collaborative nature. Community groups representing all aspects of scholarly communications are represented within Metadata 2020: researchers; publishers; librarians; data publishers and repositories; services, platforms and tools; as well as funders. While, getting stakeholders from across the scholarly communications landscape together to talk about metadata and their shared successes and challenges is in itself an accomplishment, attendees learned that best practices and principles will be made available to the community in the very near future.
ITHAKA’s Jabin White (vice president, content management) provided an overview of metadata basics and its important role as “instructions for what to do with content.” He expressed that while metadata is necessary it is also tricky, and that is why Metadata2020 is so important. While the way an organization uses metadata must meet its specific needs, setting up an environment in which people can talk to each other about metadata will help lead to more standardization and ultimately benefit end users. Jabin then talked about the JSTOR Text Analyzer, an example of the kinds of things you can do with good metadata. JSTOR’s Text Analyzer is a tool that allows users to upload text from which topics are extracted and search results provided from content on the JSTOR platform.
Open Access Metadata and the OA Life Cycle
David Schott, Copyright Clearance Center’s senior manager of data engineering, discussed metadata in the context of the Open Access lifecycle. He addressed the importance of having standards for and using metadata to track licensing terms. For Open Access content, in particular, this is important not only for distributers and end users of content but also to track compliance with funder mandates. Among other things, David stressed that good OA metadata can lead to seamless use of content based on the license, while bad OA metadata can lead to increase costs to mitigate risks as well as inconsistent user experiences.
As you can see, the NYC SSP Regional event turned out to be a great night for networking and learning about Metadata 2020 (http://www.metadata2020.org/), its goals and activities, as well as an opportunity to see some real world examples of how metadata uses and challenges present themselves. The varied backgrounds of the speakers and audience was a good match for the key aspect of Metadata 2020—providing a place where people can come together over metadata.