One thing I’ve learned from a semester of college is there is a major difference between a “student” and an “academic”. Those who go the extra mile, take on the difficult task of constructing an impeccable resume, immerse themselves in learning and cultivation, are distinguished from those who just go to classes and do homework. While this idea is no profoundly new concept, my discovery of that difference has shifted the way I think about everything. While seemingly disconnected, this realization came to me in learning about metadata. “Metadata” in itself is extremely complex, so thinking about it in this analogy helped to compress and digest that expansive definition. The way I viewed it, metadata can be seen as the student, as a very guileless term lacking dimension, as simply “data about data”. However just as a student can be an academic by loading up on rounded ventures, thus the term metadata can transform by taking on encompassing complexities.
In Database as Genre: The Epic Formation of Archives by Ed Folsom, we see the word metadata take on multiple meanings. Not only does it comprise this “information about information” annotation, but the article goes as far as to say metadata is a tool. Its ability to compartmentalize and categorize information is a instrument that’s useful to virtually anyone from students to historians to professors. Likewise, in this definition metadata seeks to make information more accessible, making resources more reachable to whoever wants to obtain it. Setting the Stage by Anne J. Gilliland adds to the rounded definition by incorporating things like date and context to deem usefulness, as a part of metadata as well. To even further perpetuate its loaded characterization, the article associates a set of standards to help further this understanding. However, despite a very broad and multifaceted role that metadata plays, to my understanding metadata has a single takeaway: that its seeking to shift the way information is processed, used, and reached as we shift into a digitalized era.