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(The MIT Press Essential Knowledge)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  258 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Everything we need to know about metadata, the usually invisible infrastructure for information with which we interact every day. When "metadata" became breaking news, appearing in stories about surveillance by the National Security Agency, many members of the public encountered this once-obscure term from information science for the first time. Should people be reassured ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 6th 2015 by MIT Press (first published October 30th 2015)
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Travis Wagner
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Necessary reading for anyone in the library and information sciences field. NECESSARY.

- "a statement about a potentially informative object"

- "a means by which the complexity of an object is represented in a simpler form" to the end of discovering things more easily

- proper terminology: distinguishes descriptive metadata, administrative-, preservation-, provenance metadata, use-, rights-, structural, meta-metadata

- some words on schemes, RDF, DTD, Dublin (Ohio) Core,, semantic web, thesauri and (3rd-party off-the-shelf) controlled vocabu
James Townsend
Jun 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
The great thing about the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series that I always pitch to people is that it tends to cover topics that a lot of people think they understand, or at least understand enough, but if you read these expertly crafted books, you realize "Oh, I guess I didn't really know much about this at all. Wow." which is a very nice, humbling experience. Also you learn some useful info in the process!

This book was no exception. I would characterize it as mostly a discussion of metadata
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although it took me a while to finish this book, it is in fact a fairly quick read. I would highly recommend it to anyone in Library School. It is especially good for those who are pondering upon the idea of specializing in technical services. This book would also be invaluable prior to taking a metadata class . The author covers the basics of metadata formats, provides some information about the description of digital and physical objects, as well as touches upon the history of semantic web and ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The joy of reading well written, dense and clever book. It is an engaging introduction to < metadata >, every internet user should know at least all this.
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the better textbooks I've been assigned. ...more
Julia Kulgavchuk
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: design
A concise and well-written book, coherent and rolling logically from the beginning to the end. Very informative and just enough dense, yet not at all dry.

There's this method, popular among non-fiction authors, to alternate theoretical parts with stories, where those theories are exemplified; it might be a strong method, but it got overused and patternized to the point that it's difficult to tell one book from another. I was happy to not see this pattern in Pomerantz' book. There are plenty of ex
Oct 27, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So, I judged a book by it's cover - which is not even shown correctly in Goodreads, fantastic work.

And it turned out it was a book about what it actually bluntly said on the cover. I guess I was overthinking it in the age of incredulous mass-surveillance who "only" look at your metadata. This book is not about that. Maybe couple of paragraphs.

What this book turned out to be about was librarians, library classification standards, ontology standards, schemas, XML and the whole history of that bus
Deane Barker
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful little book that covers the philosophical basis of metadata. This isn't a technical instruction manual. Rather, it talks about why metadata exists, what it is, and why it matters, which some more practical information tossed in. ...more
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-school
This book got me an A on my exam, bless
Anthony O'Connor

A great short intro to metadata. Which the author quickly explains is not ‘data about data’, a trite and useless formulation. The author does give a solid definition and breaks it down into the various types. There is much discussion about the structure and composition of objects and information objects and possible relationships and interactions. Applications thereof. Always intriguing. Especially the chapter on the semantic web. The best thing about this short work is some highly deta
Roger Whitson
Aug 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Pomerantz's METADATA is a fairly clear explanation of what constitutes metadata, how web services use metadata, how it is structured, and it's future political implications. I found the first two chapters - on definitions and descriptive metadata - to be dry and almost too technical. It's almost as if Pomerantz wants to be exhaustive about what metadata is before he shows us what it can do. But once he starts talking about APIs, linked data, and the NSA, the purpose and importance of the book qu ...more
Victoria Yang
May 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: library students and metadata enthusiasts
From skimming the other reviews of this book, it looks like I am one of many library students who has been assigned it for a course. While I am not particularly hyped about metadata as a topic to read about, Pomerantz gave his best shot in making the subject light, brief, and interesting, and the ~aesthetic~ formatting of this book can be praised. Read this book if you have to read a book on metadata, I suppose.
Kieran Wood
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: computing
The book does a good job of building a mental model and chronology of how to view metadata. My only gripe is that it feels like it left a ton on the table in terms of depth. While it was illuminating for me, I feel that more seasoned developers wouldn't get a ton out of the content other than some good moral theory points raised about the importance of metadata and it's manifestations in the real world. ...more
One of the most accessible introductions to metadata I've read. This is not a book for the library or information professional, but for students and others who are just beginning to delve into the topic. A good resource for undergraduate students. ...more
Emily Graham
When I took metadata in grad school, I finished without ever actually understanding the semantic web or linked data. I read this book as a refresher before an interview, and feel like now I could probably explain them.
I found this to be a rather boring read, and only a bit of it was helpful for a project I am working on.

The book's audience is mainly librarians, judging from the content.

I was hoping for more discussion on Edward Snowden and the PRISM program, but I was disappointed.
Chloe Noland
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a really informative, compact book about metadata and all its manifestations and insidious (or generic) uses. It's the kind of thing that would've been useful to read at the beginning of my MLIS, not at the end, but still a good refresher! <3 <3 ...more
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this for class and found it to be a good accessible overview of a subject that can feel way over my head at times. Some of the examples are a little dated, but the main ideas are pretty solid. Interesting to see some of the other titles in this series.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: stem, nonfiction
This is a good introduction.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A simple explanation about metadata.
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Best explanation of Dublin Core I've found yet. ...more
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good introductory booklet and literature repository to a fairly abstract concept.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a good little book. A fun introduction to metadata. Worth the short read.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
very basic primer on how Metah data is used and how the field grew from library science
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read as part of my MLIS program.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: work-related
Great resource.
Avi Grundner
Feb 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: school-books
A good, basic, well-rounded introduction- it made the more complex elements easy to follow without being condescending.
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great book if you know nothing about metadata and want to generally learn about it. It is an easy read, and gives good examples.
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Read only about half of this book. Well written and explained. Didn't finish due to lack of time. Was reading for a class. ...more
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“A Definition of Metadata Now hopefully you can see why “data about data” is not a useful definition of metadata. Data is only potential information, raw and unprocessed, prior to anyone actually being informed by it. Determining what something is about is subjective, dependent on an understanding of that thing, as well as dependent on the available terms. Thus, not only is this definition of metadata not useful, it’s almost meaningless.” 0 likes
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