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> How will I find items in my collection?

How will I find items in my collection?

To find audio files they need to be associated with keywords or search terms (known as metadata). This involves analysing the audio content and thinking about the sort of words that people would use to searcht.  

NISO and Getty provide good introductions to metadata.

Published lists of keywords covering different subjects are available. These are controlled vocabularies or thesauri. They provide a standardised way of finding items about a subject. This saves the searcher having to think of all the different words that might be used to describe a concept. Synonyms & variations in spelling are linked together & point to items about the subject. This helps overcome problems associated with variations in spelling or differences in terminology.

TASI provides links to terminologies for different subjects

Controlled vocabularies work best if their keywords are applied consistently by people who are familiar with the subject, the vocabulary & principles of subject description. If more than one person is applying the subject keywords a controlled vocabulary can help ensure consistency.

Related Resources


  • Controlled Vocabularies : Thesaurus Sites
    This site provides an extensive list of sources of terminologies. Terminologies or thesauri provide keywords for describing resources.


  • Controlling Your Language : Links To Metadata Vocabularies
    This section of the TASI website lists subject terminologies. Terminologies or controlled vocabularies provide keywords for describing resources. The site also discusses differences between a thesaurus, a classification system and an authority list. Many types of terminologies are hyperlinked. Some provide descriptors for a particular subject (e.g. architecture) while others are general.


  • Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections : Metadata
    This section of the NISO guide provides a set of guiding principles for metadata. Metadata requirements must be informed by an understanding of a collection's purpose, the needs of its users, costs and benefits. Metadata must also enable digital objects to be managed and sustained within a computer system. The guide describes some of the most popular metadata schemas & their applications along with links to related resources.


  • Introduction To Metadata : Pathways To Digital Information : Setting The Stage
    This section of the guide provides a comprehensive introduction to metadata. It begins with a discussion of the ways that libraries, museums and archives have used metadata. It provides a table of different types of metadata and applications (e.g. for searching and administration). It poses a lifecycle for digital objects and describes how various types of metadata are used at different stages. It also gives a detailed list of reasons for using metadata (such as increasing accessibility and satisfying legal requirements).


  • Understanding Metadata
    This guide from NISO provides a comprehensive introduction to metadata including a discussion of a range of schemas such as Dublin Core, MODS, EAD and TEI.  It also covers MPEG multimedia metadata schemas (used with audiovisual objects) and includes an extensive bibliography.