Open Social Knowledge Creation and Library and Archival Metadata


  • Dean Seeman University of Victoria
  • Heather Dean University of Victoria



Archives, Libraries, Metadata, Open Social Knowledge


Standardization both reflects and facilitates the collaborative and networked approach to metadata creation within the fields of librarianship and archival studies. These standards—such as Resource Description and Access and Rules for Archival Description—and the theoretical frameworks they embody enable professionals to work more effectively together. Yet such guidelines also determine who is qualified to undertake the work of cataloging and processing in libraries and archives. Both fields are empathetic to facilitating user-generated metadata and have taken steps towards collaborating with their research communities (as illustrated, for example, by social tagging and folksonomies) but these initial experiments cannot yet be regarded as widely adopted and radically open and social. This paper explores the recent histories of descriptive work in libraries and archives and the challenges involved in departing from deeply established models of metadata creation.


Download data is not yet available.


Alemu, Getaneh, Brett Stevens, Penny Ross, and Jane Chandler. 2012. “The Social Space of Metadata: Perspectives of LIS Academics and Postgraduates on Standards-Based and Socially Constructed Metadata Approaches.” Journal of Library Metadata, 12(4): 311–44. DOI:

Alemu, Getaneh, Brett Stevens, Penny Ross, and Jane Chandler. 2017. “The Use of a Constructivist Grounded Theory Method to Explore the Role of Socially-Constructed Metadata (Web 2.0) Approaches.” Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries, 4(3): 517–40.

Andersen, Jack, and Laura Skouvig. 2006. “Knowledge Organization: A Sociohistorical Analysis and Critique.” The Library Quarterly, 76(3): 300–322. DOI:

Bade, David. 2011. “It’s about Time!: Temporal Aspects of Metadata Management in the Work of Isabelle Boydens.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 49(4): 328–38. DOI:

Buizza, Pino. 2004. “Bibliographic Control and Authority Control from Paris Principles to the Present.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 38(3–4): 117–33. DOI:

Caswell, Michelle. 2017. “Teaching to Dismantle White Supremacy in Archives.” The Library Quarterly, 87(3): 222–235. DOI:

Cook, Terry. 2001. “Fashionable Nonsense or Professional Rebirth: Postmodernism and the Practice of Archives.” Archivaria, 51: 14–35.

Denton, William. 2007. “FRBR and the History of Cataloging.” In: Understanding FRBR: What It Is and How It Will Affect Our Retrieval, Taylor, Arlene G. (ed.), 35–57. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Dooley, Jackie M., and Katherine Luce. 2010. Taking Our Pulse: The OCLC Research survey of Special Collections and Archives. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research. Accessed August 16, 2018.

Drake, J. M. 2016. “RadTech Meets RadArch: Towards a New Principle for Archives and Archival Description.” Medium: On Archivy. Accessed December 2017. Archived at:

Duff, Wendy, and Kent M. Haworth. 1997. “Advancing Archival Description: A Model for Rationalizing North American Descriptive Standards.” Archives and Manuscripts, 25(2): 198–199.

Duff, Wendy, and Penka Stoyanova. 1998. “Transforming the Crazy Quilt: Archival Displays from a User’s Point of View.” Archivaria, 45: 44–79.

Duff, Wendy, and Verne Harris. 2002. “Stories and Names: Archival Description as Narrating Records and Constructing Meanings.” Archival Science, 2(3–4): 263–285. DOI:

Gartner, Richard. 2016. Metadata. Cham: Springer International Publishing. DOI:

Gorzalski, Matt. 2013. “Examining User-Created Description in the Archival Profession.” Journal of Archival Organization, 11(1–2): 1–22. DOI:

Greene, Mark, and Dennis Meissner. 2005. “More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Archival Processing.” The American Archivist, 68(2): 208–263. DOI:

Gross, Tina, Arlene G. Taylor, and Daniel N. Joudrey. 2015. “Still a Lot to Lose: The Role of Controlled Vocabulary in Keyword Searching.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 53(1): 1–39. DOI:

Hooland, Seth van, Eva Méndez Rodríguez, and Isabelle Boydens. 2011. “Between Commodification and Engagement: On the Double-Edged Impact of User-Generated Metadata within the Cultural Heritage Sector.” Library Trends, 59(4): 707–20. DOI:

Hyry, Tom, and Michelle Light. 2002. “Colophons and Annotations: New Directions for the Finding Aid.” The American Archivist, 65(2): 216–230. DOI:

IFLA. 1997. “Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records: Final Report.” Accessed December 2017.

InterPARES. 2005. The Long-term Preservation of Authentic Electronic Records: Findings of the InterPARES Project. Accessed December 2017.

Library of Congress, Network Development and MARC Standards Office. 2018. “MARC 21 Format for Authority Data.” Update no. 27, first published in 1999.

MacNeil, Heather. 2005. “Picking Our Text: Archival Description, Authenticity, and the Archivist as Editor.” The American Archivist, 68(2): 264–278. DOI:

Manzo, Christina, Geoff Kaufman, Sukdith Punjasthitkul, and Mary Flanagan. 2015. “By the People, For the People: Assessing the Value of Crowdsourced, User-Generated Metadata.” Digital Humanities Quarterly, 9(1): n.p.

Mapping the Stacks. “Home.” Mapping the Stacks: A Guide to Chicago’s Hidden Archives. Accessed December 2017.

Millar, Laura. 2004. Archives: Principles & Practices. New York: Neal-Schuman.

OCLC. 2016. “2015–2016 OCLC Annual Report.” Accessed December 2017.

Pearce-Moses, Richard. 2005. A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology. Society of American Archivists. Accessed December 2017.

Society of American Archivists. 2005. “A*Census.” Accessed December 2017.

Tanenbaum, Andrew S. 1981. Computer Networks. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Tansey, Eira. 2015. “Archives Without Archivists.” Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Cultur, 16(1): 11.

Taylor, Arlene G. 2004. The Organization of Information. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Walton, Rachel. 2017. “Looking for Answers: A Usability Study of Online Finding Aid Navigation.” The American Archivist, 80(1): 30–52. DOI:

Yakel, Elizabeth, Seth Shaw, and Polly Reynolds. 2007. “Creating the Next Generation of Archival Finding Aids.” D-Lib Magazine, 13(5/6): n.p.




How to Cite

Seeman, Dean, and Heather Dean. 2019. “Open Social Knowledge Creation and Library and Archival Metadata”. KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies 3 (1):13.



Research Articles