'The Wink that's Worth a Thousand Words': A Contemplation on the Nature of Metadata and Metadata Practices in the Archival World Overview As with the term 'information', 'metadata' is both ubiquitous and applied in so many ways in this digital age that without conceptual analysis and close operational definition, while it may be intuitively understood, it is essentially expressively useless. This paper addresses questions about what is to be gained philosophically and practically from a discursive examination of metadata by archival science and other recordkeeping fields, which play crucial cultural, memory, evidentiary and information roles in society. It argues that philosophically and phenomenologically such an examination is important because, visibly or invisibly, metadata is a factor that is at work in all systems and services that support such roles, and is also embedded in and envelopes every type of informational, evidentiary and cultural resource with which these fields engage. After a preliminary discussion about the definition of metadata, this paper briefly reviews the history of metadata in archival science and recordkeeping more broadly. From there it contemplates, with illustrations, the concept of metadata in terms of its various and expanding conceptualizations and instantiations, as well as some ethical, political and emerging concerns. Introduction British producer, musician and artist Brian Eno, participating in a panel discussion at the Time Bits: Managing Digital Continuity conference organized by the Getty in 1998, talked of "the wink that's worth a thousand words the wink at the right moment, which everybody knows what it means, but it's much too complicated to explain" (McLean Davis, p. 51). Eno was metaphorically alluding to the under- explicated, yet widely used term 'metadata', and his comment continues to provoke fundamental questions about what is to be gained either philosophically or practically from a discursive examination of metadata. Scholars in library and information science (LIS) have engaged in extensive philosophical treatments of the nature of information-Buckland's (1991) discussion of information-as-process, information-as-knowledge and information-as-thing, and Furner's (2014) anne j. gilliland 213

Periodiekviewer Koninklijke Vereniging van Archivarissen

Jaarboeken Stichting Archiefpublicaties | 2017 | | pagina 108