Running An Institutional Web Service:

6 Metadata

This exercise is intended for workshop participants who are particularly interested in metadata. The exercise will form the basis of a discussion group.

Resource Discovery

Go to a search engine such as AltaVista <URL:> Imagine your are an overseas student thinking about registering for an MSc in a specialist subject such as Transport Engineering, or a popular subject such as Mathematics. Search for the prospectus for your University. Then search for the prospectus at another (small) University.




How many hits did you obtain?

How many hits were clearly inappropriate?

Why were the hits inappropriate?


Information Management

On your website, use a search engine (if you have one) and search for out-of-date information (such as events). If possible, search for materials produced by people who have left your institution or departments / organisations which no longer exist (e.g. following a re-organisation).



How much out-of-date material did you find? What was the most out-of-date?

Did you find any materials which are no longer owned by a member of the institution?


Give an estimate of the numbers of resources which are no longer being maintained (e.g. a percentage)

Give suggestions for ways in which out-of-date materials or materials which are no longer owned by anybody can be identified.


Make a note of any comments on this exercise or any issues you may wish to raise at the discussion group.


Metadata Familiarisation

Go to <URL:> and read the pages on metadata, in particular the metadata presentations on The Metadata Landscape, Metadata Management and Web Developments Related to Metadata available from <URL:>.

Answer the following questions:



What is metadata?

What is Dublin Core?

Why is Dublin Core important?

How can Dublin Core held me?

What problems might I face in making use of metadata?

What other types of metadata am I interested in besides Dublin Core?