Home > About > Policies and guidelines > Metadata and Information Architecture Policy

Metadata and Information Architecture Policy

Effective date of the policy:

13 June 2012

Last updated:

17 November 2011

Policy owner:

Library Services, ICTS

Policy approved by:

Council

Reviewed by: Council
Enquires: Executive Director: University Libraries: Gwenda Thomas
Executive Director: ICT: Sakkie Janse van Rensburg

 

Table of contents


Purpose

The University must manage metadata and its application to information assets and services to improve the governance, interoperability, retrievability, re-use, storage optimisation, structure and classification of information assets and services.


Definitions

Metadata

Descriptive or definitive data that is linked to data or to a data collection.

Schema

A set of rules for the structure and content of an information artefact, by which that artefact may be constituted as valid at the time that it is parsed.

Indicates the permissible access applicable to a record; the level of sensitivity associated with the information contained in a record. (As distinct from “Categorisation”, classification refers specifically to categorisation of its sensitivity, e.g.: Secret, Confidential, Public...)

Classification Stewards of institutional data have the primary administrative and management responsibilities for segments of institutional data within their functional area.
XML Extensible Markup Language: a machine-readable, open standard language used to describe (“mark up”) information content and its component elements (including metadata).
Information Architecture The discipline and frameworks by which information and data are categorised for sourcing, storage and retrieval. For example: Information architecture applies to storage in the domain of database structures, and to retrieval in navigation, filing structures, catalogues etc.
Content artefact Any collection of physical or electronic information in any uniform medium, that has meaning and context in its own right, as a single unique entity. A content artefact may be a document, an image, a data collection or a web page, and is normally the result of an operational process. Content artefacts may exist at varying degrees of granularity: from a multimedia collection to a single image.
Repository A storage container for content artefacts, physical or electronic. Physical repositories are also often known as “depositories”.
Taxonomy A hierarchical structure used to sort information and content into categories and sub-categories.
Ontology A schematic representation of “what is known”, defining concepts and their relationship to one another.
Controlled vocabulary A list of permissible descriptors that may be associated with or assigned to a content object as metadata. In an application user interface, controlled vocabularies are often used to populate drop-down lists or combo boxes.
Attribute A defining characteristic (such as a title, date, owner, or subject) that is assigned to an object to assist in its identification. In a computer environment, a specific property inherent in a database entity or an object. Attributes usually consist of a name and a value, and they are often considered important metadata elements. (International Records Management Trust). A specification that defines a property of an object, element, or file. It may also refer to or set the specific value for a given instance of such. (Wikipedia)
Open standard A generally accepted framework that may be applied across many domains, and is accessible in the public domain for common use and re-use.
(Taxonomy) Facet A domain-specific taxonomy derived from the values and relationships in a given ontology, providing a domain-relevant point of entry to content. For example, a single ontology of a content collection can deliver taxonomies that are relevant to particular business processes, or taxonomies based on time series, or taxonomies based on information classification, all for the same content collection.

Applicable to

Storage and archiving of physical and electronic content artefacts and content objects - including but not restricted to:

  • Scholarly resources
  • Business records and procedural documentation
  • Website content
  • Research data
  • Publications
  • Personal information
  • Media collections
  • Databases and content collections

Publication and dissemination of physical and electronic content artefacts and content objects – including but not restricted to:

  • Physical publications (books, journals, articles, theses, dissertations, newspapers)
  • Websites and web-based portals
  • Mobile browsing sites


Exceptions

  • Transactional data


Policy summary

  1. Metadata and Information Architecture are jointly managed on behalf of UCT by Library Services and ICTS.
  2. All content objects generated, managed and published by the University of Cape Town and its direct affiliates must be tagged and stored with sufficient metadata.
  3. Where applicable, metadata should support re-use and interoperability of content between content management systems and content publication media.
  4. Reduction of duplication: In the interests of efficiency and alignment, metadata standards, schemas and attribute values should be re-used wherever possible.
  5. Metadata should be registered with a central metadata governance body.
  6. Standards and accessibility of standards: Open standards for metadata and metadata schemas must be applied wherever possible and practical.
  7. Metadata delivery: By default and wherever practical, content metadata should be transferred between information systems in Extensible Markup Language (XML) format.
  8. Publication of metadata: Selection of which metadata values are to be published together with a content object is at the discretion of the content channel owner.
  9. Metadata quality: Content and collection owners are responsible for ensuring that metadata are compliant with standards, valid, and current.


Policy details

Policy violations

Non-registration of metadata schemas with the UCT central metadata management body has implications for the security of the University’s Intellectual Capital and the reusability of content, as well as implications for compliance with related policies such as the Records Management Policy and the Web Content Management Policy. Inadequate, invalid and inaccurate metadata may result in inappropriate access to content, poor return on investment, and inefficiency. Violations of this policy will be dealt with by the Executive Director: University Libraries and Executive Director: ICT as applicable.

Roles and responsibilities

Roles

Department / designation Role
Executive Director: University Libraries
  • Joint Metadata and Information Architecture Policy owner
Executive Director: ICT
  • Joint Metadata and Information Architecture Policy owner
Internal Audit
  • Monitoring of compliance with policy
Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS)
  • Provision and support of information technology to support the centralised management of metadata (metadata registry)
  • Support for security management of metadata registry
  • Maintenance of content application landscape
  • Maintenance of metadata registry content (schemas, thesauri, controlled vocabularies) for non-scholarly information
  • Oversight of metadata standards for non-scholarly information
  • Advice and consulting on metadata standards and schemas to be used
  • Collaboration and alignment with Library Services metadata management team
Library Services
  • Maintenance of metadata registry content (schemas, thesauri, controlled vocabularies)
  • Oversight of metadata standards
  • Advice and consulting on metadata standards and schemas to be used
  • Collaboration and alignment with ICTS metadata management team
Content owners 
(of information systems)
  • Ownership of metadata in applicable information systems, and maintenance of metadata standards in these systems
Channel owners
(of information channels)
  • Ownership of metadata requirements for channel publishing
Business analysts /
Content analysts
  • Definition of business requirements and content object structures in the context of the metadata frameworks

 

Responsibilities

Department / designation Responsibility
Executive Director: University Libraries
  • Joint sign-off, executive sponsorship and overall advocacy for Metadata and Information Architecture Policy
  • Joint maintenance of policy review procedures
Executive Director: ICT
  • Joint sign-off, executive sponsorship and overall advocacy for Metadata and Information Architecture Policy
  • Joint maintenance of policy review procedures
  • Temporary de facto adoption of ED University Libraries responsibilities in respect of metadata policy
Internal Audit
  • Monitor policy compliance as necessary
Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS)
  • Provide and support of information technology to support the centralised management of metadata (metadata registry)
  • Support security management of metadata registry
  • Maintain content application landscape
  • Maintain metadata registry content (non-scholarly resources)
  • Oversee metadata standards in information applications
  • Advise and consult on metadata standards and schemas to be used
Metadata management team
  • Maintain metadata registry content (scholarly resources)
  • Oversee metadata standards in information applications
  • Advise and consult on metadata standards and schemas to be used
Content owners
(of information systems)
  • Ensure that metadata standards are applied and monitored in information systems
  • Approve inter-application metadata transfers
  • Ensure that metadata quality is maintained in information systems
Channel owners
(of information channels)
  • Approve business requirements definitions of metadata sourcing and publishing
  • Liaise with content owners to negotiate information sourcing requirements and publication criteria
  • Ensure that metadata standards are applied and monitored in publishing channels
Business analysts /
Content analysts
  • Define business requirements and content object structures in the context of the metadata frameworks (including content integration requirements and schema definitions)

Appendix A: Indicative metadata schema and domain standards

Schema / Language Domain / Purpose
IEEE Learning Object Metadata Education
JPEG-2000 Images
Machine-Readable Cataloguing (MARC) Libraries
Moving Picture Expert Group MPEG-21 and MPEG-7 Multimedia
ONIX Publishing
Extensible Rights Metadata Language (XrML) Rights Management
Dublin Core Metadata Element Set Web

Review period: Every five years