The One Schema

Jan 31 2011 Published by under How Libraries Work, Research Data

I grumbled on FriendFeed today that I wish folks (IT folks in particular) would understand that there is no single metadata schema that works for every kind of data in every form in every situation. If you're building a data repository intending to store many kinds of data from many disciplines, it had better have a metadata model that accommodates many different vocabularies.

Bill Hooker promptly stepped up to the plate with the following dictum (slightly edited by yours truly):

Three schemas for the astronomers under the sky;
   Seven for the urban planners in their halls of stone;
      Nine with which biologists comply;
and ONE for the Librarian on hir Dark Throne:
In the Land of Library, where the metadata lies.
   One schema to rule them all,
   One schema to find them;
   One schema to bring them all;
      And in the repository bind them.
In the Land of Library, where the metadata lies.

I just named my Aeron chair the Dark Throne, y'all.

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