Metadata as a Realm of Translation: Merging Knowledge Domains in the Design of an Environmental Information System.

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2003
Authors
Gazan, Rich
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Abstract
Bringing together document collections in merged information resources is becoming more common, but presents the problem of integrating content and metadata that have been created in different knowledge domains, using different classification schemes. This paper describes how a multidisciplinary team attempted to integrate metadata structures from several different collections in the development of an environmental information system. The results of this qualitative study suggest that though designers and users from diverse backgrounds could conceptualize and articulate the potential new knowledge the merged system might reveal, the perceived informational value of different access points varied with disciplinary membership, and the compromises forced by this merged collection created barriers and missed opportunities for the creation of new knowledge. However, people with a variety of backgrounds were able to contribute to negotiations about metadata decisions, suggesting that this may be a key realm of translation between diverse individuals in future collaborative environments. Consequences for domain-specific knowledge organization, and for a translation and integration role for those in the field of information science, are discussed.
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Knowledge management, Metadata crosswalks
Citation
Rich Gazan (2003). Metadata as a Realm of Translation: Merging Knowledge Domains in the Design of an Environmental Information System. Knowledge Organization 30 (3/4), 182-190.
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