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Metadata and Networked Communications: Contributions of Information Science

"Metadata", long a niche area for research and information services, exploded in public consciousness in June of 2013 with the publication of news stories about US National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence documents revealed by Edward Snowden. Numerous other news stories have come out in recent years and months about large-scale collection of digital traces about people's lives. Metadata are built into digital communication systems. Without some kind of metadata, networked communication cannot exist. The research and professional information science communities have an opportunity to bring their knowledge and experience with metadata to bear on these recent developments. If we, as individuals and as a society, are to engage in meaningful discussions about our digital traces, or make informed decisions about new policies and technologies, it is essential to develop theoretical and empirical frameworks that account for digital metadata.

This presentation will engage the ASIS&T community in an overview about the nature of metadata within digital networks, and stimulate a discussion on the role of information scientists in this area.


Matthew Mayernik

Matthew Mayernik is a Project Scientist and Research Data Services Specialist in the NCAR/UCAR Library. His research interests include metadata practices and standards, data curation education, data citation and identity, and social and institutional aspects of research data. He received his Master's and Ph.D. from the UCLA Department of Information Studies. He is a member of the Board on Data Stewardship within the American Meteorological Society, and the current chair of the Data Stewardship Committee within the Federation of Earth Science Information Parters (ESIP), an inter-agency consortium of Earth science data facilities.



Amelia Acker

Amelia Acker (PhD, University of California, Los Angeles) is an assistant professor in the iSchool at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests focus on the emergence, standardization, and preservation of new forms of data created with mobile information and communication technologies. Currently, she is researching data literacy, social media metadata, and data infrastructures that support long-term cultural memory.

Read their published paper, Tracing the Traces: The Critical Role of Metadata within Networked Communications, in January's issue of JASIST (vol 69:1).