At the end of August, I was lucky enough to be invited to present a poster at the CILIP Cataloguing and Indexing Group biennial conference. This year, the theme was ‘Innovation and Discovery’, and for my own contribution I decided to create a poster* based on my metadata research proposal for my final module last semester. You can view details of the conference here, including copies of all the papers and posters which were presented. It took place over three days at the University of Swansea’s brand new Bay Campus, so with my newly-printed poster safely ensconced in a cardboard tube, I trundled over to Wales on the train to attend the first two days of events.
It’s been a long time with no update, which of course means things have been pretty busy over the last few months. The good news is that I’ve finished the second year of my Masters, passing all the modules (phew!), and so now I can count myself as a holder of a Postgraduate Diploma in Information Management! The last couple of modules were very challenging but also very relevant to the work which I hope to engage in over the coming years.
Well, this blog has suffered a small lapse! What with starting my course in September, reading what felt like hundreds of books’ worth of materials and completing two 3000-word assignments, there hasn’t been a lot of time left over. However, with Christmas out of the way I’m now between semesters, so I finally have a bit more time for an update before the next one starts in February.
One thing that has become clear in the past few weeks’ study of metadata is that there is no corner of human knowledge too small to have a metadata schema or taxonomy associated with it. General schemas such as Dublin Core are a great starting point to the messy business of cataloguing and describing information or artefacts, and it was exactly these qualities which made it a very good introduction to the general concept on the course that I’m studying. Yet, sometimes you need to go deeper, which Dublin Core allows only to a limited degree. With the vast and diverse extent of knowledge which various institutions have available, all of which needs to be organised in some form or another, it’s no wonder that more specific schemas would be needed.
As a prelude to starting my course, I recently enrolled on a separate Information Science course with Coursera. They host MOOCs in a variety of subjects, all provided free by various universities around the world. There’s been a lot said about MOOCs, and depending on whom you believe they are either the future of learning or yet another sign pointing to the end of civilisation. Of course I’m biased, having just signed up to an online Masters, but I do think there is something to be said for online courses. The traditional attendance-based way of learning is of course very good but for those who can’t attend because of time pressures or just practicalities, the online mode provides a vital access point to education which they wouldn’t otherwise have.