“Pirates of Metadata: The True Adventures…of a Harrowing Metadata Mining Project”

This work originally appeared in “Common Ground at the Nexus of Information Literacy and Scholarly Communication” edited by Stephanie Davis-Kahl and Merinda Kaye Hensley. Chicago, IL: Association of College & Research Libraries, 2013. Any use of this work must be accompanied by this notification.


Ball, Cheryl E. (2013). Pirates of metadata: The true adventures of how one journal editor and fifteen undergraduate publishing majors survived a harrowing metadata-mining project. In Stephanie Davis-Kahl & Merinda Kaye Hensley (Eds.), Common ground at the nexus of information literacy and scholarly communication (pp. 93-111). Chicago, IL: Association of College & Research Libraries.


In this chapter, I discuss the use of metadata in digital publishing as both a necessary means for creating accessible and sustainable scholar- ship and a method of promoting information literacy in students. To make this point, I argue that information literacy extends beyond technical competence and into a critical understanding of the contexts and ecologies in which information is created and used. That is, while understanding metadata, as a concept, is a functional part of information literacy, understanding the role metadata plays in information communication, such as scholarly publishing, requires far more rhetorical and critical understanding, which enhances information literacy practices. The study that showcases this practice centers on a digital publishing class during which I asked undergraduates to mine metadata from an open access scholarly journal that publishes exclusively hypertextual and multimedia scholarship.


Pirates of Metadata” (OA PDF)





2 responses to ““Pirates of Metadata: The True Adventures…of a Harrowing Metadata Mining Project””

  1. […] is also one of the goals (among others) of various metadata standards, like the work that Cheryl Ball and the Kairos folk are […]

  2. […] 2014 this year [was] partly about the various file types we have. A few years ago, we embarked on a metadata-mining project for the back issues of Kairos. Some of the fields we mined for included Dublin Core standards such […]