The first line of the abstract for this excellent article on D-Lib Magazine says it all:
“As digital library collections grow in size, metadata issues such as inconsistencies, incompleteness and quality become increasingly difficult to manage over time.”
I have spent the better part of the past year managing a clean-up project of the digital collection I oversee. Since the primary goal of any digital system is to retrieve relevant assets when users search, extraneous items and messy metadata adversely affect results.
This project at the University of Houston involved a four step pilot audit including a literature review, planning phase and ultimately correction and changes to targeted metadata. Since the project was handled by mainly by interns, there were frequent consultations with professional staff to direct progress.
My project was similar although with a slightly different order of steps. The planning phase occurred before we engaged temporary help to archive assets and clean-up fields. I am still working on changes to several new custom fields.
This paper is valuable for anyone undertaking an audit. Many systems are maturing and continued usefulness and growth relies on periodic assessments of the quality of the metadata used.