Metadata in online exhibits is important for providing additional information about the images and materials in the exhibit. While perusing through various online exhibits I recognized the how much off the information researchers may need cannot be found in the main content of the exhibit. The metadata allows for the details specific to certain images and collections. All this being said, it was unfortunate how many online exhibits neglect to display or possibly even use metadata.
The Halgey Museum and Library’s Civil War exhibit opens a new tab to display any documents or images in the exhibit. Like several library associated exhibits, the Civil War exhibit utilizes CONTENTdm. Just as metadata is data about data, CONTENTdm is a collection of collections. The image is opened in a new window and contains a well-displayed use of metadata. Categories are clearly marked and include everything from the repository where the document is housed to copyright information.
The Minnesota Historical Society’s online exhibit, “Duluth Lynchings” on the other hand uses minimal metadata. “Duluth Lynchings” explores the tragic events of June 15, 1920 in Duluth, MN where three men were killed. Images and documents are searchable and can be narrowed down by information often found in metadata, but the images and documents themselves do not display that information. The exhibit contains a plethora of information including oral histories, timeline, legal proceedings, afterwards, and additional resources but neglects to properly utilize metadata in any of those sections. Valuable information is missing for researchers.
In my own final digital project I will make sure that the metadata is easily found and viewed. The collection my group is using for the exhibit is quite large and spans a variety of items and decades. I do not want to detract from the main content of the exhibit but the exhibit and those viewing the exhibit will benefit from metadata. I do not want to overload the exhibit by adding metadata on top of context information, but metadata is invaluable to researchers.