Submission Type:

Panel

Primary Contact:

Owen D. Ambur
Metadata or Malfeasance: AIIM to Meet the Critical Factors for Success
Division of Information Resources Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive - MS 340
Arlington, VA, USA 22203
phone: (703) 358-2138
fax: (703) 358-2251
mailto:%20owen_ambur@fws.gov


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Metadata or Malfeasance: AIIM to Meet the Critical Factors for Success

Owen D. Ambur
Division of Information Resources Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive - MS 340
Arlington, VA, USA 22203
phone: (703) 358-2138
fax: (703) 358-2251
mailto:%20owen_ambur@fws.gov
 

1.0 OBJECTIVES

In proposing this panel, I had several objectives in mind:

First, to foster understanding between the engineers and the users of information systems, hopefully, to help span the chasm between the ivory towers and the fields where the minions labor.
Second, to summarize some of the legal requirements with which U.S. federal agencies are expected to comply -- for which the collection and management of medatada is implicit but may not be recognized as such.  
Third, to stimulate discussion of the economics and usability of metadata, from the perspective of both users and suppliers.
Fourth, to promote awareness of the important work in which the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) is engaged to develop standards for interoperability -- particularly the Document Management Alliance (DMA) and the Open Document Management Application Program Interface (ODMA).

I had also hoped to include some examples of practical tools that can be used to gather and manage metadata, and to facilitate discussion of lessons learned in real-world applications of such tools. Unfortunately, the time allocated to the panel does not permit such a discussion. However, some tools and practical applications are represented in other presentations and demonstrations at the conference, and I encourage participants to take advantage of the opportunity to learn about them.

2.0 PANELISTS AND TOPICS

To set the stage for the panel, I will provide a very brief overview of several of the legal requirements imposed upon U.S. federal agencies in which the collection and management of metadata is implicit. Those legal requirements are addressed in greater detail in my paper, "Metadata or Malfeasance: Which Will It Be," which is available on the conference Web site. (Ambur)

Tom Dale of CADscan, Inc., will discuss some of the economics of metadata. Together with Dr. Susan Cisco of the University of Texas, he has coauthored a book on the subject, entitled "Indexing Business Records: The Value Proposition." Tom also serves as Vice Chair of AIIM's Emerging Technology Advisory Group (EmTAG).

Diane Entner of Eastman Software will summarize the DMA and ODMA standards. Diane chairs the DMA Advisory Council. Additional information concerning the standards can be found on AIIM's Web site. (AIIM)

Dan Schneider of the Department of Justice will provide an update on the activities of the AIIM committee that he chairs to establish standards to ensure the authenticity and legal reliability of electronic documents.

Ben Kobler of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will discuss standards for mass storage metadata (Kobler), and Fernando Podio of the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) will highlight issues relating to metadata for intelligent digital data storage devices.

The unifying factor among these topics is that AIIM is actively involved in all of them. While time will not permit a detailed interchange on any of them, additional information is available at AIIM's booth in the exposition area and the panelists will be stationed near the booth for further discussion following the conclusion of this afternoon's session.

3.0 QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSION

Fifty minutes have been allocated to the panel. To provide for questions and an interchange with the audience, the presentations by the panel will be brief. However, to ensure that the major points are covered, we will hold the questions until all of the panelists have completed their introductory remarks.

Some of the questions that are begged by the title of the panel include: How dare you suggest that the lack of metadata is a matter of malfeasance? In terms of metadata, how is success defined and measured? What are the critical factors? And what is AIIM's role? Other questions to be asked include how much metadata is justified for particular purposes and types of information. And what metadata elements should be applied in particular instances? These questions beg for economic and usability analysis. They demand hard-nosed, practical answers rather than theoretical hypotheses, anecdotal evidence, and emotional responses.  

We would not purport to answer these questions in the time allotted, if they can be fully answered at all. Hopefully, we will be able to make some small contribution to greater understanding and to elevating the level of discussion. If so, our objectives will have been well served.

4.0 REFERENCES

AIIM. (1997) Information on the Document Management Alliance (DMA) and Open Document Management Application Program Interface (ODMA). Available at http://www.aiim.org/industry/standards/. [Back]

Ambur, O. (1997) Metadata or Malfeasance: Which Will It Be? Washington, DC: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Available at: http://computer.org/proceedings/meta97/papers/oambur/malfea1.html. [Back]

Kobler, B., et al. (1997) An Emerging Standard for File-Level Metadata Greenbelt, MD: National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Available at: http://computer.org/proceedings/meta97/papers/bkobler/bkobler.html. [Back}